From Mo Nyamweya, SPARC | Volume 73 | January 24th, 2019
With updates from Nicole Allen
THE OER DIGEST
Your bi-weekly newsletter for open education updates, opportunities, and reminders
STATE POLICY UPDATES: State legislatures are off to a start across the country, with numerous states introducing legislation on OER and related issues. Oregon and Virginia are considering a bills to require marking OER or low-cost materials in course schedules. Hawaii and Massachusetts have introduced bills concerning OER taskforces. Meanwhile, Minnesota is considering a far-reaching bill to set textbook affordability targets.
PUBLISHER PARTNERSHIP: Education publishing giant McGraw-Hill Education recently finalized a partnership with Illustrative Mathematics, an organization that creates open math curriculum for K-12 use. The partnership is another sign that interest in OER continues to grow among traditional industry players. Illustrative Mathematics CEO Lisa O’Masta says that the partnership will leverage McGraw-Hill’s sales team to expand the reach of their open curriculum. Read more >
LANGUAGE OER NETWORK: COERLL has introduced the Language OER Network, a new system to showcase the work of open educators in the field of language learning and teaching. Language educators who use, create, or promote OER can now request to be listed on the LOERN page and will be given a COERLL digital badge. The digital badge works as an online representation of one’s earned knowledge or skills. Educators who would like to be featured in the network can fill out the corresponding form on the webpage.
Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities
CALL FOR PROPOSALS: BCcampus has issued a call for proposals for funding to create an Adult Basic Education (ABE) Zed Cred. The call is open to B.C. educators from all levels and isn’t restricted solely to ABE instructors. In addition to new creations and adaptations, the call also includes the creation of ancillary materials. Proposals are due on February 11th.
OEC BOARD NOMINATIONS: Recruitment for the OEC Board of Directors is now underway. They’re accepting nominations from administrators, faculty, Presidents and Directors of educational institutions or other organizations and nominees from anywhere in the world are welcome to be nominated. The deadline to file nominations is February 13th.
REGISTER: The Library Publishing Coalition has opened registration for the Library Publishing Forum (May 9th-10th) as well as their preconference, Opening the Classroom: Publishing Open Educational Resources (May 8th). The registration deadline is April 19th.
STORIES FROM THE FIELD
Quick snapshots of those making change on the ground level, and those impacted
FROM MASSACHUSETTS: Students at Mount Wachusett Community College saved $52,353.82 in textbook costs during the Fall 2018 semester as part of an ongoing pilot effort to expand OER use on campus – but cost savings aren’t the only benefit of the program. “One of the biggest benefits of OER is that students have their material before the first day of class. It is one of the biggest indicators of student success,” said Michelle Paranto, VP of Academic Affairs at MWCC. Read more >
FROM NEW JERSEY: Raritan Valley Community College launched their OER pilot during the Fall 2018 semester, providing students from ten classes with free open textbooks, with an additional five classes switching to OER for the Spring 2019 semester. RVCC students enrolled in these classes have saved over $93,000 in textbook costs. “I’ve surveyed the students. They tend to find the OER comparable to commercial texts and recommend continuing to use the open text by around 85-90 percent, depending on the survey,” said RVCC professor Melanie Morris. Read more >
FROM MICHIGAN: Mid Michigan College recently expanded the availability of OER to students, with 116 Fall 2018 course sections using OER resulting in 2,499 instances where a student did not have to purchase a textbook. OER efforts at Mid have saved students over $517,000 since 2016. “Mid’s goal was to reduce the cost of textbooks for students, and OER provided a framework for us to achieve that,” noted Shaelynn Long-Kish, associate dean of Online Learning. Read more >
HOT OFF THE PRESS
Each edition, we’ll highlight an interesting, new, openly-licensed resource
Pacific University Press released the open textbook Introduction to Technical Theatre, written by Tal Sanders. The resource is intended for use in both secondary and post-secondary theatre courses, providing a comprehensive overview of technical theatre including terminology and general practices.
Interesting Discussions and Strategic Reads to Repost or Share
Great to Share >>
As OER Grows Up, Advocates Stress More Than Just Low Cost | EdSurge Podcast
Paywalls in academics close doors for students | North by Northwestern
Interesting to Consider >>
Renting College Textbooks Can Be An Even Bigger Rip-off Than Buying Them | Huffington Post
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.