OER Digest – April 5th, 2018

From Ethan Senack, Creative Commons USA | Volume 54 | April 5th, 2018


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


STATE UPDATES: Legislation to create a Colorado OER Council within the state’s department of higher education has been introduced, and passed in the House there. The Council is written to include “persons appointed by the executive director of the department from public institutions of higher education, including a student; the executive director of the department; the commissioner of education; and the state librarian.” In Virginia, both chambers have passed a bill requiring higher education institutions “to implement guidelines for the adoption and use of low-cost and no-cost open educational resources,” which now heads to the Governor for signing.

MICROSOFT LOOKS TO OPEN: Microsoft announced that they’re modifying their educational content app OneNote to incorporate open curricula from Open Up Resources, meaning the highly-reviewed Math and English Language content will reach a broad new audience. It’s expected that all of the content will be freely accessible, editable, and downloadable through the platform. Microsoft is the latest of a number of companies testing the waters with OER.

MORE APPROPRIATIONS COVERAGE: The FY18 Omnibus appropriations bill has been signed in to law, making the $5 million federal OER grant program official. Check out some of the follow-up coverage on the campaign to make it a reality and how things look moving forward:

  • Salon: New federal program tackles spiraling costs of college textbooks
  • EdScoop: OER for higher ed gets a boost with $5 million pilot program
  • Inside Higher Ed: Feds Come Around to OER — Slowly
  • E-Learning Inside: Open Educational Resources Could Finally Be On the Horizon

OPENSTAX CALL: Open textbook publisher OpenStax announced that they’re seeking a new cohort of Institutional Partners – apply by April 24th.

SPOTLIGHT: College of Canyons in California scored prime coverage of their OER work, including a widely-shared feature in EdSurge titled “How an OER Rookie Dove Deep Into a Zero-Cost Textbook Degree Program.” They’re also piloting a tuition-free grant program for qualified students – which will use OER to help tackle textbook costs as well. University of North Georgia’s OER work was highlighted this past week, as were students advocating for OER at Texas Tech.


Upcoming Events, Proposal and Registration Deadlines, Report-Backs  

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: The deadline for session proposals at the OpenEd conference in October is tomorrow, April 6th. Submit here: https://openedconference.org/2018/call-for-proposals/

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: The deadline for proposals at the Northeast Regional OER Summit are due on Wednesday, April 11th. Submit here: http://www.ctdlc.org/Conference/proposals.cfm


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

FROM TEXAS (HIGHER ED): “Some other campuses have done other similar surveys, but we really wanted to get an idea of what Texas Tech students thought about open textbooks and what they would use them for,” Camille Thomas, scholarly publishing librarian, said. “We wanted to find out what students felt comfortable paying, what kind of choices they were making with the classes they were enrolling with and how well they were doing in their class or if they were deciding not to buy the book because of the cost and things like that.” Read More >

FROM IOWA (K-12): “One of the biggest issues we’ve had is having common understanding. We have a lot of people saying ‘oh, we love OER’ and then when you ask them to describe OER, they’re going to have a different definition than the person sitting next to them.” Hear More >


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

OER champs Robin DeRosa and Rajiv Jhangiani launched openpedagogy.org, designed to be a space for educators, staff, and students to “browse diverse examples of open pedagogy in practice as well as share their own practices & ideas.” They welcome constructive feedback and new examples.


Interesting Discussions and Strategic Reads to Repost or Share

Great to Share >>

How OpenStax books are made | OpenStax


Interesting to Consider >>

Signing Students up for Surveillance: Textbook Publisher Terms of Use for Data | Medium


Schools Shift to Free, Public-Domain Curricula | Wall Street Journal


Signing Students up for Surveillance: Textbook Publisher Terms of Use for Data | Medium


OER and Obstacles to Adoption | Inside Higher Ed



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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