From Aishah Abdullah (SPARC) | Volume 143 | December 16, 2021
THE OER DIGEST – A YEAR IN REVIEW
A look back at the big updates of 2021
STATES PROVIDE MONEY FOR OER: In July, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a monumental $115 million investment in developing Zero Textbook Cost degree pathways that eliminate course material costs through OER and other no-cost materials. The funding is dedicated to the California Community College system, which serves 2.1 million students per year. The funding will support grants to scale up the successful ZTC pilot that concluded in 2019, with additional funds available to develop OER for individual courses. Some California colleges are making news for their goals to substantially shift away from traditional textbooks and adopt more OER. College of the Canyons aims to have at least one-third of their courses use OER within the next two years and Compton Community College has made an even bolder goal and shared that by 2035 they plan for 100% of their courses to use OER. Other states with significant OER policies or investments this year include Colorado, Idaho, and Texas. The U.S. federal government also continues to invest in the Open Textbook Pilot grant program, which funded nine new projects this year.
OPEN EDUCATION CONFERENCE EVOLUTION: The last two years have marked an important transition for one of the open education community’s largest events. Since 2020, the Open Education Conference has been governed by a Steering Committee and four-organization partnerships. With the two-year commitment coming to an end the conference is undergoing the transition of a new community elected board. The 2021 Open Education Conference took place October 18-22 and was a virtual, community-run event. The conference had over 1,800 participants from more than 60 countries and all 50 U.S. states. The program consisted of more than 250 sessions Keep updated via the mailing list to see where the conference is headed.
THE FACTS ON INCLUSIVE ACCESS: October marked the launch of InclusiveAccess.org, a community-driven initiative to raise awareness of the facts about automatic textbook billing. InclusiveAccess.org is a one-stop-shop for information, tools, and other resources to help administrators, faculty, students, and policymakers make informed decisions about the Inclusive Access sales model and its implications for the campus community—including how it differs from OER. The initiative is supported by a coalition of organizations and was covered in the Chronicle of Higher Education.
OE GLOBAL AWARDS TURN 10: The Open Education Global have announced the winners for their annual Open Education Awards of Excellence. There are four different categories: UNESCO OER Implementation Award, Open Assets Award, Open Practices Awards, and Individual Awards. Several advocates were congratulated for their tremendous work in the open space. 2021 marks the 10th anniversary of these awards and a closing ceremony was held on December 7th to celebrate the winners.
RENEWED PLEDGE FOR #GOOPEN: The #GoOpen initiative launched several new opportunities for K-12 educators, district leaders, and state leaders interested in advancing open education to get involved. The U.S. Department of Education, together with ISKME, launched the #GoOpen Pledge of Support and held a virtual convening in December. #GoOpen was launched in 2015 to support states and districts choosing to transition to the use of openly licensed educational resources.
Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities
CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Missouri Affordable and Open Education Resources Conference has opened their call for proposals. The conference is taking place virtually from March 9-11, 2022. The deadline to submit is February 1, 2022.
REGISTER NOW: Registration for the 2022 Arizona Regional OER Conference is open. Registration is free and the event will be held virtually. The date of the conference is March 3-4, 2022.
JOB OPPORTUNITY: Creative Commons is seeking to hire a Campaign Manager who will assist in planning and creating materials for a 4-year global campaign to open climate change and biodiversity research. The deadline to apply is January 4, 2022.
STORIES FROM THE FIELD
Quick snapshots of those making change on the ground level, and those impacted
FROM WISCONSIN: Lakeshore Technical College has saved students one million dollars through their Textbook Affordability Program. Currently, 73 courses utilize OER and range from a variety of subjects such as human resources, chemistry, and animal science. These resources are not only more affordable but also are completely digital. This makes learning materials more accessible since the college has a program for students without computers or internet access the ability to rent laptops and hotspots for free. Read More >>
FROM ALABAMA: Coastal Alabama Community College will be offering an African American History course in 2022. These courses came to fruition as administrators and faculty worked hard to implement an accurate, affordable course. To make the class as relevant as possible, the class will use open educational resources that will be highly localized to Alabama. Marcus Gordon, chairperson for the History, Political Science and Geography department, shares “Now they’ll have the opportunity to recognize names they might even be related to, and places they’ve seen throughout their lives.” Read More >>
FROM MINNESOTA: Minnesota West Community & Technical College has received a state grant that will pay instructors to find no-cost teaching material. The goal is to eventually create Z-degrees which will save students money since they will not have to pay for any textbooks for their degree. The dean of liberal arts, Kayla Westra, shares “Finding ways to make college more affordable for students is critical.” Read More >>
HOT OFF THE PRESS
Each edition, we highlight an interesting, new, openly-licensed resource
The University of West Florida has published their first OER titled Medical Terminology for Health Professions by Andrea Nelson and Katherine Greene. This resource explores breaking down, pronouncing, and learning the meaning of medical terms within the context of introductory anatomy and physiology.
Great reads to repost or share and interesting discussions to consider
Great to Share >>
Growing Importance of Online Only Education Materials for Higher Education | Open Research Community
Open Course Materials in Cougar ROAR | University of Houston Libraries
Interesting to Consider >>
Open Texts and Student Success | Moscow-Pullman Daily News
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