OER Digest – March 22nd, 2018

From Katie Steen (SPARC) | Volume 53 | March 23rd, 2018

With updates from Kaitlyn Vitez


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

VICTORY: In a landmark win for the OER community, the U.S. Congress included $5 million for an open textbook grant program in the FY18 federal appropriations package that was released late last night. The grant program will be administered by the Department of Education and will support projects at institutions of higher educations that create or expand the use of open textbooks. SPARC and U.S. PIRG worked over the past three weeks to rally students, librarians, and OER champions to call and tweet Congress. This is the first time the U.S. Congress moved to fund open textbooks and is the result of nearly a decade of advocacy. The bill passed the House this afternoon and is expected to be signed into law before the end of the week. Join us in celebrating the victory on twitter by quote retweeting this tweet.

#OEWEEK HIGHLIGHTS: During Open Education week, OER advocates hosted and participated in events across the country. We’ve included a few highlights below:

  • SXSWedu: Leaders from OpenStax, SPARC, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Ohio State University participated in a panel at SXSWedu on OER and Equity
  • Creative Commons: The CC Global Network hosted a timezone-spanning 24-hour webinar on OER
  • Missouri: the University of Missouri System hosted a state-wide Affordable and OER Summit to discuss best practices and opportunities for collective action on OER
  • Hawaii: The University of Hawaii hosted an event with KPU’s Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani on OER and open pedagogy

Check out other highlights from #OEweek on Twitter or tweet yours at us and the OER Digest will RT them!

CAMPUS SAVINGS: Georgia Highlands College (GHC) has saved students over $6M by eliminating textbook costs through OER. GHC’s OER efforts are supported by the Affordable Learning Georgia initiative, a state-wide program that helps faculty adopt and create OER for their courses. Other shoutouts to CSU Channel Islands, CU Boulder, UC-San Diego, and Rutgers for making the news!

PRESIDENTS ON OER: A new survey by Insider Higher Ed asked college and university presidents about their views on a host of higher education issues including OER and course materials. 61 percent agreed that textbooks and course materials cost too much while 85 percent agreed that institutions should embrace OER. Some of the phrasing in the survey questions caused concern in the OER community because they imply a lack of quality among OER.

OE AWARDS: The Open Education Consortium announced its 2018 OE Award Winners of Open Resources, Tools, and Practices. These awards recognize outstanding contributions to the Open Education community. Check out the Open Education Consortium website to learn more about the 12 awardees!

SIGNING OFF (from Digest co-author Katie Steen): At the end of next week I will be transitioning out of my role at SPARC and starting a new position on the policy team at the Association of American Universities (AAU). Thank you to everyone in the OER community for being wonderful colleagues and mentors, especially Nicole Allen. You can reach me on twitter at @katiesteen627.


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: https://summit.creativecommons.org/register2018/

REGISTER: The Teaching and Learning Today conference is May 1st-2nd at the University of Saskatchewan. Register for the conference here: https://teaching.usask.ca/tlt2018/

REGISTER: BCcampus’ Festival of Learning is May 28-30th in Vancouver. Register for the conference here: https://bccampus.ca/festival-of-learning-2018/

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: The Northeast Regional OER Summit call for proposals and registration is now open. Proposals are due by Wednesday, April 4th. Submit and register here: https://www.library.umass.edu/services/teaching-and-learning/oer/northeast-oer-summit/

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/



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

FROM CALIFORNIA:  “This event is about providing awareness for students on how to access and find Alamo Open courses. We’re hoping that they can see in writing what they spend in a semester on textbooks and what they would do with that money.” Read more>>

FROM VIRGINIA: “Greenlaw’s open textbook, Principles of Economics, has been used by 152,722 students since it was published in 2014, according to the open textbook publisher OpenStax. That represents a $15 million savings, about $98 per book. For some students, those savings make all the difference in their academic success.” Read more>>



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

An update for an existing OER: the popular, collaboratively written American Yawp will be available in print from Stanford University Press in August. “We’re pleased that this resource is being utilized in classrooms all over the country,” said the Yawp’s editor, Dr. Ben Wright. “We believe our collaborative process makes our content stronger than traditional texts, and hopefully it provides a break for students trying to reach graduation without burdensome debt.



Interesting Discussions and Strategic Reads to Repost or Share

Great to Share >>

Feds Pick California Nonprofit as Partner on Open Educational Resources Project | Ed Week https://marketbrief.edweek.org/marketplace-k-12/feds-pick-california-nonprofit-partner-open-educational-resources-project/

New Boost for Student Aid and Research | Inside Higher Ed https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/03/22/omnibus-spending-package-boosts-student-aid-while-restricting-devos-priorities

Interesting to Consider >>

How to Sort the Good from the Bad in OER | The Hechinger Report


MERLOT Updated for Mobile OER Hunting | Campus Technology https://campustechnology.com/articles/2018/03/15/merlot-updated-for-mobile-oer-hunting.aspx

101 Partners with OpenStax to Deliver More Affordable and Engaging Course Materials for College STEM Students | Cision


The Detroit school district has been using a curriculum that’s ‘an injustice to the children of Detroit’ — but it’s not alone | Chalkbeat


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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