OER Digest – February 22, 2018

From Ethan Senack, Creative Commons USA | Volume 51 | February 22nd, 2018

With updates from Nicole Allen


Your bi-weekly newsletter for open education updates, opportunities, and reminders

FROM THE DEPARTMENT: The Department of Education’s open licensing requirement for educational resources produced through competitive grants is now in full swing. Language is now being included in new grant programs specifying the requirement for prospective grantees. Check it out in the recent call for applications to the Native American Career and Technical Education Program.

IN THE STATES: A bill in Virginia directing public higher education institutions to adopt guidelines for OER has passed the House and is up for a hearing this afternoon in the Senate. Advocates are pushing to remove language that would call for guidelines on “low-cost commercially published materials.” A bill in Hawaii that originally drew concern has been amended to create a statewide task force and grant fund for open education, following the recommendations of stakeholders and advocates across the state. Legislators in New Jersey, California, Ohio, and Iowa also introduced bills that could impact OER.

NEW MICROSOFT PARTNERSHIP: Microsoft announced a partnership with EdGate to supply “links and metadata for carefully curated and vetted OER that have been aligned to national and international K-12 educational standards” through their Educational Resources platform in Office 365. They aim to narrow results so teachers can find resources that are specifically applicable to their own state or regional curricular standards.

ON MACMILLAN: Textbook publishing giant Macmillan announced what they call a new OER-based service last week. The announcement triggered much discussion among OER community members, particularly around how the word ‘open’ is used by industry members when they are charging a fee for the wraparound service. Macmillan has since said that they plan to make any OER used in their courses publicly available on their partner Intellus’ website. Stay tuned for more information as Macmillan launches the courses throughout the spring.

STUDENTS OUT FRONT: Students are increasingly joining the vanguard of on-campus efforts to move away from expensive course materials and support OER. At West Virginia University, students have recruited legislators to introduce an OER-focused bill. At Tufts, students created a textbook exchange to help facilitate the used book market on campus. Students from East Tennessee State University encouraged their institution to join the Open Textbook Network. At Grand Valley State University, students are collaborating with faculty to advocate for campus OER grants.

NEW STAFF: Creative Commons HQ welcomes Jennryn Wetzler as Assistant Director of Open Education. She’s worked on open education for years through the U.S. Department of State.

OPEN ED WEEK: We’re less than two weeks away from the start of Open Education Week 2018. This year, it “is a celebration of the Global Open Education Movement. Its purpose is to raise awareness about the movement and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide.” See the call for participation, and more ideas for hosting events here.



Upcoming Events, Proposal and Registration Deadlines, Report-Backs

SUBMIT PROPOSAL: PressED is a twitter conference (#pressedconf18) looking into how WordPress is used in teaching, pedagogy and research. Submit a proposal by March 2nd here: http://pressedconf.org/



Quick snapshots of those making change on the ground level, and those impacted

IN K-12, FROM NORTH CAROLINA: “One of the biggest values of using the two comprehensive sets of open educational resources, says Kingsley, was that it enabled the district to free up dollars that would have been spent on textbooks for professional learning. The district has invested more than $1.5 million in professional learning this year tied to the new curriculum materials.” Read More >

IN H.E., FROM CALIFORNIA: “It takes 19 hours working a minimum wage job to pay for a $200 book, according to data collected by Hancock, and Scarffe said the college serves a very high percentage of low-income and first generation college students. In a survey of 609 students conducted by Hancock’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness in 2017, 65 percent of students said they had dropped a class due to the price of a required textbook. Sixty-one percent of students surveyed said they spent at least $200 on textbooks each semester, and 45 percent said they had avoided registering for courses with costly required textbooks.” Read More >


Each edition, we’ll highlight an interesting, new, openly-licensed resource

BCcampus Open Education’s Lauri M. Aesoph released a Self-Publishing Guide for producing open textbooks. The 188-page guide covers everything from early planning to post-publication actions, and is available under CC-BY. See more about the guide and BCcampus’ other helpful docs here, or go straight to the PDF.



Interesting Discussions and Strategic Reads to Repost or Share

Great to Share >>

Where OER can (and can’t) close the opportunity gap | OpenStax


Interesting to Consider >>

Services Go Up, Stuff Goes Down (Except Textbooks) | Inside Higher Ed


5 Insights to Help Prepare Students for the Future of Work | EdWeek Market Brief


What We Mean When We Say “Ecosystem Coordinator” | The Learning Accelerator


Stories of Sustainability | American Libraries


Pearson hit again as weak U.S. demand weighs on education group | Reuters


Have suggestions for the next edition? Let us know at oerdigest@gmail.com, or tweet us @OERdigest.

The OER Digest is a public newsletter distributed to a broad group of stakeholders across the higher education community. You can join the open Google Group or check out the distribution list here.

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