OER Digest – October 26, 2018

From Ethan Senack, Creative Commons USA | Volume 68 | October 26th, 2018

With updates from Sarah Sweeney and Mo Nyamweya



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

HAPPY OPEN ACCESS WEEK: Around the world, advocates are celebrating open access to research, educational materials and other information, under this year’s theme, “Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge.” Many institutions and organizations are hosting events; one major highlight being an OpenCon satellite event at the United Nations, where speakers from the World Bank, UNESCO, and WIPO joined open advocates from around the world to discuss the relationship between openness and the UN’s sustainable development goals. See more on Twitter.

REFLECTING: Achieving the Dream recently published a new report-back on their OER initiative at 38 college campuses, analyzing the academic and economic outcomes of increased OER use, as well as challenges of implementation. Some interesting finding include:

  • The cost of traditional textbooks is a burden for students and can account for up to 80% of the cost of college attendance for Pell or other grant aid recipients.
  • While only 12% of students reported that they have withdrawn from a course because they could not afford required materials, 41% responded that OER courses have a significant impact on their ability to afford college.
  • Although 62% responded on the survey that access to technology and/or the internet impacts their ability to complete coursework, fewer than 10% cited this as a challenge for OER courses.

ADD TO WATCHLIST: A new video series from ISTE and New America dives in on OER implementation in PreK-12 settings, interviewing state and district leaders, covering everything from “Changing Educator Perspectives on OER” to “OER Sustainability Models”. The series is available here.

CAMPUSES OUT FRONT: A host of campuses made headlines this week for their OER work, from University of Missouri – Kansas City, Mount Wachusett Community College, Los Angeles Pierce College, and Valdosta State University reporting back on their campus adoption initiatives, to the University System of Maryland’s new OER grant, and a Virginia Tech open textbook gaining steam. Students at MSU McMaster and at Bay College also made news for their OER efforts. (Don’t see your campus news story listed here? Send us an email at oerdigest@gmail.com.)



Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities

REGISTER: Indiana is hosting a #GoOpen Summit in January of 2019. Registration is open here.

PROPOSALS: The call for proposals for sessions at the Library Publishing Forum in Vancouver is now open. The conference will be held May 8-10th of 2019.

PROPOSALS: Organizers of the OER19 conference in Galway, Ireland on April 10-11th, 2019, have opened up their call for proposals.



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

FROM CALIFORNIA: “Compared to what I spent on course materials in previous quarters, $387 is not much… This does not include “class fees,” which are supplemental charges made to a student’s bill when they take a class in physical education ($35), music ($250) and studio art ($50-100), to name a few… Here comes at least a partial answer to the question: “Why do we see a lack of socio-economic diversity in the arts?” There are financial barriers — both in the cost of textbooks and in the supplemental charges some classes carry — to pursuing music and visual arts here. Quarter after quarter, it adds up.This is especially true for students who have to send money back home to support their families — something not uncommon in the low-income community on campus. In addition to managing a full course load, these students balance their schedule with one or more jobs so that they are able to provide for their families. Each dollar matters.” Read More >


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

An OER working group with participants from UT Libraries, Texas Digital Library, and COERLL published a series of talking points, sample outreach materials, and other tools broken down by particular audiences – students, faculty, administrators, and more. Check out “Talkin’ ‘Bout OER” here.  



Interesting Discussions and Strategic Reads to Repost or Share

Great to Share >>

OER promotes student success | Community College Daily



Interesting to Consider >>

A Message to College Leaders: Don’t Overlook Resources Right Under Your Nose | Chronicle of Higher Education


OER Is Growing At Religious Colleges, But Raises Unique Challenges | EdSurge https://www.edsurge.com/news/2018-10-24-oer-is-growing-at-religious-colleges-but-raises-unique-challenges

Introduction to Open Education: Towards a Human Rights Theory | IJOER



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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