OER Digest- March 8th, 2018

From Saman Azimi and Kaitlyn Vitez, U.S. PIRG | Volume 52 | March 8th, 2018

With updates from Karen Vaites and Jeremy Smith


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


HAPPY #OEWEEK: from the OER Digest team! It’s been great to see the many events happening across the globe to promote open education — from student tables to faculty workshops to regional events. Check out the list of events around the world at the official Open Education Week website, or keep up with the latest coverage under the many permutations of #OEWeek on Twitter.


CALL CONGRESS TODAY: to ask that an open textbooks grant be included in the federal budget for the current fiscal year, due to be finalized in the next few days. The budget deal reached last month sets aside $2 billion this year for “college affordability and completion” initiatives, and we’d like to see $10 million go to support OER adoption and creation via a short term federal grant program. Thanks to the OER community’s support, SPARC and U.S. PIRG delivered letters from libraries and student governments calling on Congress to fund open textbook grants, and have generated hundreds of calls to key House and Senate lawmakers. Check out the twitterstream at #opentextbooksFY18 or contact katie@sparcopen.org or kvitez@pirg.org for more information on how to get involved.


CHART-TOPPING CURRICULUM: The second openly-licensed curriculum from Open Up Resources, EL Education K–5 Language Arts, has just become the top-rated K-5 ELA curriculum on EdReports, the Consumer Reports of K–12 materials. It’s now the highest-rated elementary curriculum that they’ve ever reviewed.


IN THE STATES: Legislation in Iowa would require institutions to mark OER in course catalogs. The bill was recommended favorably by Senate subcommittee, and if passed would make Iowa the first state in the Midwest to enact this kind of law. A bill in Washington creating a pilot grant program for four-year institutions now heads to the governor’s desk.


DEFINING OPEN: In light of the recent introduction of new OER-based products by Cengage, Macmillan, and other publishers, there has been a flurry of blogs on what materials or characteristics can be considered open. Paul Stacey reflects on framing good citizenship in the commons, and ISKME, Ed Tech Strategies, and AAC&U released their “CARE” framework for evaluating OER-based courseware as the movement grows: contribute, attribute, release, and empower. Have your own thoughts on the topic that you’d like to share? Send them to the OER Digest to be featured in the next edition!


CH-CH-CH-CHANGES: Some major news broke in the traditional publishing market that OER advocates should know about: Pearson announced that it is selling its K-12 division despite a rise in profits in the past fiscal year as it pushes out more digital content. Their K-12 offerings, mostly traditional textbooks, are out of sync with the publisher’s  “digital transformation strategy” rebrand as a courseware developer. This is part of a larger trend of publishers moving away from print towards what Pearson’s CEO calls the “Spotify” model – streaming digital access without ownership.


GROWING #GOOPEN: The U.S. Department of Education announced a new partnership with the Institute for the Study and of Knowledge and Management in Education (ISKME) to expand and enhance the #GoOpen network. The partnership will facilitate the sharing of OER and implementation strategies and integrate evidence of the efficacy of OER into the broader education policy dialogue.



Upcoming Events, Proposal and Registration Deadlines, Report-Backs  


REGISTER: CC’s Global Summit is just over a month away on April 13-15th in Toronto. Register for the conference before it sells out: https://summit.creativecommons.org/register2018/


CALL FOR PROPOSALS: The #OpenEd18 call for proposals has now opened. Submissions are due by midnight on Friday, April 6th. Submit here: https://openedconference.org/2018/call-for-proposals/


LAST CALL: Regular registration for OpenStax’s Creator Fest in Houston, TX on April 5th-6th ends tomorrow. Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/openstax-creator-fest-2018-tickets-38510722608



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


FROM ILLINOIS: I pay $30,000 a year to learn from expert professors and access DePaul amenities, I don’t pay $30,000 a year to then pay an extra hundred dollars to have my professors pawn their work off to a third rate, for-profit company.” Read more >


FROM MASSACHUSETTS: “I avoid buying textbooks at all costs,” said one student in UMass’s latest mini-documentary on their OER initiatives. The video features student and faculty testimonials. Watch more>


FROM IOWA: “Students could potentially save $3,000 over the course of their Liberal Arts degree. Textbooks are becoming unaffordable for our students, so we decided to use a different approach.” Read More >



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

From Rebecca Morales and Alesha Baker comes an article in the Journal of Interactive Media in Education titled “Secondary Students’ Perceptions of Open Science Textbooks.” The article, which explores the perceptions of 6th-8th graders in a suburban public school, includes findings that students’ perceptions of an open textbook in place of a standard textbook are improving students’ attitudes and behaviors toward learning.



Interesting Discussions and Strategic Reads to Repost or Share

Great to Share >>


A Guide to Good OER Stewardship | Inside Higher Ed https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/article/2018/03/05/advocates-develop-framework-stewardship-open-educational


How OER can help overcome the higher education equity barrier | EdScoop



Interesting to Consider >>


‘One and Done’ Model of Higher Ed is in the Past | Education Dive



The Future of Educational Publishers | eLearning Industry



Five Examples of How Higher Education is Changing with Technology | Business & Finance



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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