From Kaitlyn Vitez and Cailyn Nagle (USPIRG) | Volume 99 | February 6th, 2020
With updates from Nicole Allen
THE OER DIGEST
Your bi-weekly newsletter for open education updates, opportunities, and reminders
AUTOMATIC BILLING LAWSUIT: Major textbook publishers and college bookstore chains are facing a class action lawsuit from independent booksellers. The independent bookstores argue that the automatic textbook billing programs, also known as “inclusive access”, promoted by the defendants amounts to a “conspiracy” that edges independent bookstores out of the market. Last year, an independent bookstore in South Carolina filed a lawsuit on similar grounds against Trident Technical College due to their automatic billing process, claiming it was an anticompetitive practice.
OREGON: A recent study from Open Oregon looking at the impact of state funding for open textbook adoption on course materials cost for those attending community college found a 32% drop in costs from 2015 to 2019. The study also found the ten highest enrolled classes that switched to open saved students over $1.1 million alone. The study concluded that not only are the materials cost for transfer degrees in the program are well below national numbers from the College Board on textbook costs.
#GOOPEN: The state of Virginia launched a new OER platform called #GoOpenVA which features over 10,000 video, text, and audio entries. The project covers K12 and Higher Education, and has options to search by subject for materials and for educators to work together through the platform. The Virginia Department of Education is also offering $10,000 for up to ten participants to encourage educators to switch to open.
#OPENED20: A group of organizations has stepped forward with a plan for continuing the Open Education Conference. OpenStax, SPARC, the Colorado Department of Higher Education OER Council, and the University System of Maryland’s Kirwan Center circulated a proposal for public comment last week that encompasses organizing #OpenEd20 and #OpenEd21, while also working to establish long-term community governance for future years. While the specifics of this year’s conference are still to be determined, those interested in being involved in the process can sign up here.
Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities
JOB: The Open Textbook Network is looking for a Community Manager. Read more about the position and apply here.
JOB: University of Tennessee has an opening for a Publishing and Open Repository Specialist. Learn more and apply here.
SUBMIT PROPOSALS: There is only one week left to submit proposals for the Open Education Southern Symposium. Options for proposals include round tables, panel discussions, and presentations. Deadline for submissions is February 17th. Learn more and submit here.
REGISTER NOW: Join the Community College Consortium for their Spring webinar series. Take a look at their exciting line up and register for individual webinars here.
REGISTER NOW: Join OpenStax from March 24th-27th for Creator Fest 2020. In addition to their past schedule, OpenStax has added a K12- focused track. Learn more and register here.
REGISTER NOW: It’s the last week to register for OpenCon Cleveland at Cleveland State University. Deadline to register for the February 28th conference is February 17th. Learn more and register here.
SURVEY: The DOERS3 (Driving OER Sustainability for Student Success) Collaborative is seeking input from OER advocates by asking them to complete their survey, “Your OER Experience with the Bookstore”. The survey will close on February 10, 2020.
STORIES FROM THE FIELD
Quick snapshots of those making change on the ground level, and those impacted
FROM KANSAS: Kansas State University French professor, Dr. Melina Cro, was pretty fed up with students spending over $200 each semester for materials for their French classes. When she saw a grant opportunity through the Kansas State Open/Alternative Textbook Initiative, she applied and won the grant and has since created an open alternative for her students. “It has definitely been a process,” Cro said. “It has been challenging, but in a good way.” Read More >>
FROM DC: At George Washington University, Gelman Library staff and student leaders launched a postcard campaign in which students write to professors describing the impact of high cost of textbooks on their lives. The librarians plan to deliver the postcards to faculty at the end of the semester with resources for switching to openly licensed textbooks. “We believe that student communication with their instructors about the impact of high textbook prices will motivate many faculty members to reconsider expensive textbooks and access codes and adopt more affordable course materials,” said Geneva Henry, the dean of Libraries and Academic Innovation. Read More >>
FROM UTAH: The Student Fee Board of Utah State University, made up of student government members and students at large, approved a new $1 student fee to the university library to fund hiring an Open Education Resources Coordinator. The majority of the board voted in favor of the new fee with only one nay vote. Read More >>
HOT OFF THE PRESS
Each edition, we highlight an interesting, new, openly-licensed resource
From Connecticut College comes a new introductory philosophy textbook Form and Content: An Introduction to Formal Logic. Written by Dr. Derek Turner, the textbook stands out from other introductions to logic textbooks for its use of unusual and fun examples, ranging from dinosaurs to dogs.
Great reads to repost or share and interesting discussions to consider
Great to Share >>
LTE: Open textbooks for all | The Register-Guard
An econ textbook for the real world | Marketplace
Interesting to Consider >>
How to Harness the Tremendous Potential of Open Textbooks | Education Week
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.