OER DIGEST- April 19th, 2018

From Kaitlyn Vitez (U.S. PIRG) | Volume 55 | April 19th, 2018


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

BACK TO BACK TO BACK: April has been a packed month for conferences.

  • The CC Summit (April 13-15) had more than 400 attendees from 64 countries. If you weren’t able to make it to Toronto, check out the keynote recordings or, of course, follow along at #ccsummit on Twitter.

  • #OER18 (April 18-19) is wrapping today in Bristol, UK. You can view session recordings within the conference schedule.

  • The Open Ed Global conference starts on the 24th in Delft and expects an audience of 360. Participate virtually or follow along at #OEGlobal18.

OPEN TEXTBOOKS PILOT UPDATE: The co-sponsors of the Affordable College Textbook Act have expanded upon their intentions in funding a $5 million open textbook pilot and their vision for the program. U.S. Senators Durbin, King, and Smith, as well as Representatives Polis and Sinema sent a letter to Secretary DeVos to use the funds to spur the creation and adoption of OER at traditional institutions of higher education. Furthermore, they requested that she use their 2017 bill as guidelines for the application process, including allowing funds to be used for professional development and greater accessibility. In addition, 26 U.S. Senators signed onto another letter urging their colleagues to renew and expand the program in next year’s budget.

DEFINING THE PROBLEM: As teachers across the country strike for better pay and school funding, greater scrutiny is being paid to conditions in K-12 classrooms. Teachers have been sounding off on their out-of-pocket expenses, multiple jobs, and crumbling textbooks. In one notable example, a girl had received a textbook previously owned by country star Blake Shelton in 1982.

COURT RULES ON CC-BY: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit has ruled in favor of school districts exercising the full permissions of CC-BY-NC-SA. The suit was originally brought to the court in 2016 by Great Minds, after the school district had hired FedEx to print copies of their open Eureka Math materials. According to the court, “each teacher and administrator who handles the Material is a ‘downstream recipient’ who acts as an independent licensee,” and may hire a for-profit company to print the open materials as they see fit.

TOP HAT STOPS CHARGING FOR OER: The for-profit platform has announced that they will stop charging students for access to OER, which constitutes about 90% of their textbook inventory. The company had received criticism for demanding students pay for open content. Top Hat cites the CARE Framework as the guiding principles of their transition to the new model. They will continue to charge for access to its classroom and assessment features, as well as closed copyright texts.


Upcoming Events, Proposal and Registration Deadlines, Report-Backs

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: The Open Education Southern Symposium is being hosted by the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville on October 1st-2nd. You can read more and submit a proposal by May 31st here.

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: OpenStax has announced that they’re seeking a new cohort of institutional partners. Submit your application by April 24th here.


CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: SPARC is officially launching their intensive Open Educational Leadership Program for library professionals following a successful pilot. Applications for the 2018-2019 cohort open next week — more details here.

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: Creative Commons has announced boot camps and online workshops to grant CC Certificates, building expertise in open licensing. The first class is in July — look at their calendar and course options here.



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

FROM VIRGINIA: “As our campus becomes more diverse, we expect that there will be students from very diverse backgrounds, including socioeconomic backgrounds, and we want to be sure we’re supporting those students, as well as everyone else, so that those students have a chance to be successful academically rather than being priced out of being able to afford textbooks,” said Anita Walz, the scholarly communications librarian at Virginia Tech. Read more >

FROM MARYLAND: “Some professors aren’t even aware that they can apply for grant money for adapting open-education resources into their classroom,” said Ary Papadopoulos, a senior public health science major. “If they don’t know about this program, then how can we expect them to utilize it?” Read more >


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

New America has published a new guide, “Making Connections: PreK–12 OER in Practice.” It contains information on how other school districts are using OER, search tools, and tips for professional trainings.



Interesting Discussions and Strategic Reads to Repost or Share

Great to Share >>

Battle over college course material is a textbook example of technological change | Washington Post


Interesting to Consider >>

Tips for Bringing OER to Your University, Institution, or School | Model eLearning


As Good or Better than Commercial Textbooks | Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning


“You might want to tell your instructors about this:” students as sales reps? | U.S. PIRG


Textbooks, OER, and the Need for Open Pedagogy | Jesse Stommel


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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