OER Digest – September 20th, 2018

From Ethan Senack, Creative Commons USA | Volume 66 | September 20th, 2018

With updates from Nicole Allen



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


FEDERAL UPDATE: Last week, Congress unveiled its final Fiscal Year 2019 education budget, including proposed renewal of the $5 million Open Textbook Pilot grant program first funded earlier this year. Along with renewed funding, Congress responded to concerns voiced by the OER community by adding more explicit instructions for the Department of Education this time around, including requiring a larger number of awards, a longer application period, and clarifying open licensing requirements. The bill currently awaits a vote in the House. Meanwhile, the Department is expected to announce the first round of awards by the end of next week.

STATE UPDATE: A bill in California requiring textbook publishers to take better measures to inform students of the cost of book, including to “post in a prominent location on their Internet Web sites, among other things, a detailed description of how the newest edition differs from the previous edition.”

NEW BUSINESS: OpenStax announced the creation of a new series of six openly licensed business textbooks, the first of which was released this week. The series will cover nearly all the textbooks required for an Associate of Arts degree in Business.

FREQUENTLY ASKED: Open Oregon published a new FAQ tool this week, a collaborative effort aimed at supporting librarians and faculty exploring OER. The site not only includes Q and A, but a ‘Who to Contact” page for all of their campuses in state, “Words of Encouragement,” and more.



Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities


CONFERENCE: The Michigan OER Summit is tomorrow, September 21st. See the agenda here.

REGISTER: Early bird registration for the Illinois OER Summit on November 30th is now open! More information is available on their website.

REPORT BACK: The Canadian Association of Research Libraries organized a full-day discussion towards enhancing Canadian library involvement in OER. Read the report-out.

OPPORTUNITY: SPARC is looking for mentors to join its Open Education Leadership Program. Applications are due by November 1.

OPPORTUNITY: The Open Textbook Network has opened applications for their inaugural OER Librarian Certificate program. Find out more here.



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

FROM ILLINOIS: “Studies have shown that courses that use OER have lower percentage of students in a class who get a D or an F, or who withdraw. Also, one study suggests that the use of OER may positively impact disadvantaged student populations at greater rates than the general populations,” she said. “This means that OER is not only saving students money, but contributing to student success overall.” Read more >

FROM PENNSYLVANIA: “In a perfect world, the sharing of knowledge would be accessible to everyone. Students wouldn’t have to pay to do homework online when they’re already paying tens of thousands of dollars to attend university in the first place.” Read more >



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

VT Publishing and the University Libraries at Virginia Tech announced the finalized publication of it’s CC BY-SA textbook Electromagnetics Volume 1, by Steven W. Ellingson. The book, as described, “is intended to serve as a primary textbook for a one-semester first course in undergraduate engineering electromagnetics within the third year of a bachelor of science degree program,” and comes with openly-licensed accompanying problem sets, a solution manual, and LaTeX source files.



Interesting Discussions and Strategic Reads to Repost or Share

Great to Share >>

An open-source solution for soaring college costs | the Washington Post



Interesting to Consider >>

Traditional Knowledge and the Commons | CC Blog


Students fight back against sky-high textbook costs | Okanagan Life


AMS Textbook Broke campaign urges university, professors to expand access to affordable learning materials | The Ubyssey



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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