OER Digest: August 23rd, 2018

From Kaitlyn Vitez, U.S. PIRG | Volume 64 | August 23rd, 2018
With updates from Tim Holt, Mo Nyamweya, and Camille Thomas



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


LAST CALL: The call for proposals for the US Department of Education’s $5 million OER grant program closes next week on August 29th. Last week, officials held a Q&A session for interested applicants with technical questions; you can watch a recording here.

STATE UPDATES: California bills supporting open are moving forward: AB2385 was sent to the governor’s desk; it urges textbook publishers to inform students and faculty about information such as the substantive differences in editions to help cut costs. SB947, which would require the state Department of Education to develop digital literacy best practices for school districts, passed through the Assembly.  

LEARNING REGISTRY: The Department of Education announced that it would end support for the Learning Registry, a public index of metadata about learning resources.The project was launched in 2011, and played a role in the #GoOpen campaign. The Department will post the code base, documentation, and archived metadata on GitHub after closing submissions for new data on September 1st. Federal support ends September 24th.

NOW TRENDING: Educause released its 2018 Horizon Report, listing OER as one of the key trends accelerating technology adoption in higher education for the next three to five years. “Perhaps the most powerful potential outcome of OER is the opportunity for institutions to develop a broader set of investments in course development and infrastructure”.

REPORT SAVINGS: At OpenEd 2013 OER leaders Nicole Allen and David Wiley issued a challenge to the OER community to reach $1 billion in student savings by 2018. SPARC announced an effort to collect information on whether the community reached this goal. Click here to learn more and sign up to help.

LOWER PRICES?: The National Association of College Bookstores (NACS) has released the findings from its annual survey of textbook costs. The survey concluded that annual spending on course materials has dropped to a low of $484, spurred by “increased use of free and lower-cost digital and rental materials.” Advocates point to the 32% of students who use OER and other free materials as driving the downward trend. Others question the finding that only 17% of students download texts for free, speculating that unreported illegal downloads may be nearly twice that number.

ANOTHER MILESTONE: After OpenStax declared last month that its books were in use at half of American colleges and universities, Lumen Learning announced that in June, more than 100,000 students were using its products per term. The company has doubled enrollment in its courses each term since it launched in 2012.



Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities

LEADOERS: SPARC announced the 2018-2019 cohort of fellows in their Open Education Leadership Program. These 24 academic librarians will complete a yearlong program to strengthen OER leadership skills.

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: MERLOT and the Online Learning Consortium are seeking proposals for the OLC Innovate conference on April 3rd-5th, 2019. This year’s theme is “Moving Mountains in Digital, Blended, and Online Learning.” Proposals are due by September 12th. Submit here: https://onlinelearningconsortium.org/attend-2019/innovate/cfp/

LAST CALL: Early bird registration for the OpenEd conference in Niagara Falls ends on August 31st. Register here: https://openedconference.org/2018/



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

WRITING FROM CALIFORNIA: “The average amount that students spend on textbooks throughout their entire undergraduate experience at [CSU Channel Islands] is $6,206.67,” says openCI Ambassador Program faculty coordinator Jacob Jenkins. For students who must work their way through college, not having to pay for textbooks can be a game-changer. Jacobs explains that many of CSUCI’s students are first-generation and Pell Grant recipients who hold down a job while going to school. Read more >>>

PODCASTING FROM NEW YORK: Theater professor Mya Brown talks about finding and developing OER with her students at SUNY Oswego on “OER Stories” with Felice Banner. “There’s this misconception that if [the textbook] is not from some big [publishing] house, that it has less value… but the wealth of knowledge from people that are currently working in the industry, to me, was just invaluable.” Listen here >>>



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

Washington State University has published Essentials of Abnormal Psychology, written by Alexis Bridley and Lee W. Daffin Jr. and edited by Carrie Cuttler. The book covers five key categories of psychological disorders and lays out different models of abnormal psychology, plus an overview of clinical assessment, diagnosis, and treatment.



Interesting Discussions and Strategic Reads to Repost or Share

Great to Share >>

Local schools tackle aging textbook problem, shortages by going online l FOX25 OK City


Interesting to Consider >>

Why a professor buys his books from the bookstore | Chuck Pearson https://chuckpearson.wordpress.com/2018/08/20/why-a-professor-buys-his-books-from-the-bookstore/

New semester, same burden | U.S. PIRG

The campus push for open educational resources continues into 2018 | The Arbiter

Op-Ed: Dual Credit Programs – It Could be Better | El Paso Herald-Post



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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