OER Digest – July 12th, 2018

From Ethan Senack, Creative Commons USA | Volume 61 | July 12th, 2018

With updates from Walter Butler, Angela Davis, Nicole Allen and Camille Thomas



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


IMPACT OF OER: A new, large-scale study from the Association of American College and Universities (AAC&U) in the International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education analyzed the impact of OER on student performance, particularly among historically underserved populations. Key facts (from the abstract):

  • OER improve end-of-course grades and decrease DFW (D, F, and Withdrawal letter grades) rates for all students.
  • OER improve course grades at greater rates and dramatically decrease DFW rates at greater rates for Pell recipient students, part-time students, and populations historically underserved by higher education.


MORE NEW DATA: The ACRL/CJCLS OER Task Force is out with a new survey report on the state of community college OER programs. Among the conclusions, one particularly strong theme emerged: libraries are leading the way on campus. Key findings:

  • 35% of institutions reported that their library leads the campus program. The next highest percentage was faculty, at 19%.
  • Libraries were reported as contributing departmental support to 90% of campus programs, with IT, Instructional Development, and Professional Development departments all coming in around 42%.
  • More than 50% of respondents reported “Faculty Perception” as the biggest institutional challenge to OER adoption.


STATE UPDATES: In California, the Governor signed a bill that includes a $6 million appropriation to support the development of, and expansion of the use of, open educational resources at California Community Colleges. It also requires the Academic Senate for the California Community Colleges to submit a report on their progress toward supporting and expanding the use of open educational resources pursuant to the bill. In Michigan, a bill relating to the Michigan Virtual University included funds that can support the creation and development of OER was signed by the Governor. Texas opened the call for applications for their OER grant program established under SB 810.


ON THE FEDERAL FRONT: The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill that would renew funding in Fiscal Year 2019 for the $5 million Open Textbook Pilot approved by Congress this spring. While this is a significant step, the bill is not expected to move any further until after the 2018 election.


CAMPUS ACTION: It was a big week for community colleges in particular, as a number of campuses made summer news for their open education and open textbook programs, including LBW Community College, Jefferson Community College, Mid Michigan Community College, and Herkimer Community College.



Upcoming Events, Proposal and Registration Deadlines, Report-Backs  


DEADLINE: Applications for OpenCon 2018 are due tomorrow July 13. The conference will be held November 2-4 in Toronto.


DEADLINE: Registration ends July 15th for OER: From Vision to Action in August 1-2, 2018, in Denver, Colorado. Register here.


PROGRAM: The program has now been published for the Open Education Conference, which is coming up this October 10-12 in Niagara Falls, NY. Early bird registration ends August 31.


COMING SOON: Registration for Big Ideas Fest, in DC this November 29th-December 2nd, will open soon. More info here.



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


FROM DC: “From my own experience searching for resources that I could use with my students, and my experience supporting districts in this regard, I knew that OER was the way to go. And luckily, teachers, instructional coaches, curriculum directors, and other educational professionals had been developing an abundance of OER—not only individual lessons and activities, but also full curricula, courses, and other professional learning resources.” Read More >


FROM NORTH CAROLINA: “Too often students must choose between their academic success and meeting basic needs. In order to address this problem, educators have begun creating and adopting open, free e-textbooks for the most common college courses. These textbooks are available to students at no cost, ensuring that every student has an equal opportunity to succeed in the classroom, regardless of their financial status.” Read More >


TEN YEARS AGO THIS WEEK: “The current business model fails the students, the faculties and the authors,” he says. “Students are used to having choices in what to buy; instead they’re getting the same thing they got 50 years ago and paying a lot for it. Instructors have different teaching styles, but a one-size-fits-all cookie-cutter book never allows them to deliver it. The authors are getting paid less and less for their book.” Read More >



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

Portland State is out with a new textbook called “EmpoWord: A Student-Centered Anthology & Handbook for College Writers” by Shane Abrams. From their description: “EmpoWord is a reader and rhetoric that champions the possibilities of student writing. The textbook uses actual student writing to exemplify effective writing strategies, celebrating dedicated college writing students to encourage and instruct their successors: the students in your class.”



Interesting Discussions and Strategic Reads to Repost or Share

Great to Share >>


CSU Channel Islands to offer two textbook-free majors and has plans for more | VC Star


Interesting to Consider >>


Technology profoundly impacts the opportunity gap | Iowa State Daily


Engaging With Learning on a Low Budget | Association for Talent Development


The evolution of educational publishing: Does OER have a quality problem? | EdScoop


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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