OER Digest: October 4th, 2018

From Kaitlyn Vitez, U.S. PIRG | Volume 67 | October 4th, 2018

With updates from Karen Lauritsen and Camille Thomas


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


CONGRATS: On Tuesday, news broke that LibreTexts has been awarded  the first grant from the Open Textbook Pilot, a program which open advocates secured in last year’s federal budget. The U.S. Department of Education elected to grant all available funds – nearly $5 million – to the nonprofit. Based at the University of California at Davis, LibreTexts will use the funds to expand its STEM open textbook library over the next three years, as well as develop more materials for career and technical education. They will also create a “Z-degree” pathway for a bachelors in chemistry.


POLICY UPDATE: Meanwhile, the budget bill renewing the Open Textbook Pilot for a second year was officially signed into law last Friday. Under instructions from Congress, the second round of $5 million will be distributed in at least 20 smaller awards, as opposed to one large one. The timeline for the second competition has yet to be established.  In Colorado, applications are now open for their state grant program, which was created in the state budget earlier this year. Read more and submit your proposal by October 31st here.


PUTTING STUDENTS FIRST:  A coalition of open nonprofits have launched a new social media campaign, #ForStudentsForever, to “shift focus to where it needs to be: on making sure that students have open access to the materials they need to succeed in class.” You can read more at their website or follow the conversation on Twitter.


NEW RESOURCE: The Open Textbook Network has created an open textbook publishing curriculum. Content includes an orientation to publishing, how to structure a textbook, institutional resources, and reflective questions for guiding your program development. The course is openly available and OTN members will be invited to live sessions. Get started with a short intro to the course here.


EXCELLENCE IN OPEN ED: BCcampus has recognized Dr. Maja Krzic of the University of British Columbia with their latest “Award for Excellence,” for her work to launch the Virtual Soil Science Learning Resources (VSSLR) group with 30 Canadian soil scientists, media developers, students, and educators to develop open access tools.



Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities


JOBS: OpenStax is hiring for a number of positions, from product manager to user experience analyst. Check out their full listing to learn more and apply.


#OPENED18: The Digest team will be at #OpenEd18 in Niagara Falls producing a special video edition. Email us at oerdigest@gmail.com if you’d like to contribute a short update!



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


FROM BRITISH COLUMBIA: The BC Federation of Students has made a $30,000 gift to BCcampus to support their work to develop and promote open textbooks. “OERs remove the barrier of the pay-to-succeed model, creating equitable access to our classrooms and promoting open pedagogical practices that support student success in an inclusive way,” said Aran Armutlu, chairperson of BCFS. Read more>>>


FROM MARYLAND: MaryPIRG board member and former textbooks campaign coordinator Gaurav Dayal opines on how the latest textbook publisher tactics hold students back: “Access codes go against the fundamental American ideal of equal opportunity… We students tolerated high cost of textbooks

despite its corrupt industry; however, we cannot and must not sit idly by as companies force us to pay to do homework.” Read more >>>


FROM TENNESSEE: Partnerships at University of Tennessee Knoxville were recognized for raising awareness and supporting faculty through the Libraries’ grant program. “I thought it would be a good chance to get some help finding better quality resources than the ones I have used,” said Associate Professor of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, Joanne Logan. Read more >>>



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


Daryl Janzen at the University of Saskatchewan has released Introduction to Electricity, Magnetism, and Circuits, an adaptation of OpenStax’s University Physics. The textbook promises to “making physics concepts interesting and accessible to students while maintaining the mathematical rigour inherent in the subject.”



Interesting Discussions and Strategic Reads to Repost or Share

Great to Share >>


Open Ed Southern Symposium Opening Keynote | Jasmine Roberts



Interesting to Consider >>


Latest Textbook Editions Put An Extra Burden On Students |The Pitt News https://pittnews.com/article/135562/uncategorized/latest-textbook-editions-put-an-extra-burden-on-students/


Textbooks Arrive Late | LA Pierce College Roundup http://theroundupnews.com/2018/09/19/textbooks-arrive-late/


A Statement of Academic Purpose | Chuck Pearson https://chuckpearson.wordpress.com/2018/10/01/a-statement-of-academic-purpose/


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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