From Bilan Jama (CC USA) | Volume 126 | April 1st, 2021
THE OER DIGEST
Your bi-weekly newsletter for open education updates, opportunities, and reminders
NEW REPORT: Bay View Analytics has released their latest report on Digital Texts in the Time of COVID on behalf of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The Fall 2020 academic semester saw a shift in the proportion of higher education faculty teaching online, driving a transition of existing courses and educational materials into digital formats, according to a survey of faculty conducted by Bay View Analytics. Survey results also show that while the level of awareness of OER grew for the fifth straight year, OER adoption rates remained stable. The results reflect responses from over 3,200 faculty and department chairpersons. The report shows improvements in faculty satisfaction with OER textbooks and an increased reliance on digital materials to meet online instruction demands.
Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities
CALL FOR PROPOSALS: The 2021 Michigan OER Virtual Summit is accepting session proposals until Friday, April 9th. You can submit a proposal here.
SAVE THE DATE: Join North Carolina State Libraries every Thursday for a casual Café via Zoom and enjoy a relaxed, coffee shop-style chat about open educational topics. Next session, “Libraries Programs in Support of Open Education Initiatives” will be held on April 8th. Click here for more information.
JOB OPPORTUNITY: OpenStax is seeking a Community Relations Specialist. The job posting is available here.
GRANT OPPORTUNITIES: The National Endowment for the Humanities has created the Fellowships Open Book Program designed to make outstanding humanities books available to a wide audience. Applications for the competition are due July 15th, 2021. Click here for more information.
JOB OPPORTUNITY: Pressbooks is hiring a Technical Support & Documentation Specialist to support their Open Publishing team. More information is available in the job posting.
STORIES FROM THE FIELD
Quick snapshots of those making change on the ground level, and those impacted
FROM FLORIDA: The Nelson Poynter Library at University of South Florida St. Petersburg adopted the Textbook Affordability Project in 2016, saving USF students a total of $1 million and helping library staff move toward their goal of making textbooks entirely open universitywide. The Textbook Affordability Project received a $3,500 grant from St. Pete campus-based nonprofit Town and Gown to buy books and spent over $4,000 to acquire multidisciplinary resources for student access. “We’ve reached out to faculty and built very strong relationships with them to help them get into their Canvas courses,” said Catherine Cardwell, regional associate vice chancellor of academic affairs and dean of the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library. “Overall, I think our experience is that faculty want to do what is right for students.” Read more >>
FROM NORTH CAROLINA: The University of North Carolina System is launching a new website, OpenUNC, to make it easier to access research and other educational resources. System leaders said the website helps advance open research practices, open access publication methods, open dissemination of research outputs, and open educational resources. It also provides easy access to all open access journals published at UNC System institutions, as well as open access monographs published by the UNC Press. OpenUNC also provides links to repositories and open publishing contacts at each university. “Universal access to knowledge in an environment of open scholarship and shared creativity supports UNC’s mission to discover, create, transmit, and apply knowledge to address the needs of individuals and society,” said Janice S. Lewis, director of Academic Library Services at East Carolina University. Read more >>
FROM WASHINGTON: Faculty from across the Washington State University system are developing innovative course materials that are saving students thousands of dollars in textbook costs each semester. Affordable Learning Grants issued in 2020 helped fund transitions from traditional textbooks to open educational resources (OER) – openly licensed digital textbooks and course materials. Collectively, the projects saved students nearly $200,000 in textbook costs in 2020-21 alone. “We found last fall based on reflections that students wrote that the instruction was much more concrete and they were able to really tie it to the University’s land grant mission,” said Johanna Phelps, an assistant professor and director of Technical and Professional Writing at WSU Vancouver. “We found there was a gap in the instructional and reading content for community engagement in undergraduate technical communication classrooms. And it’s not just for students, but the OER is something we can share with colleagues at other institutions – it’s a way to give back to the field.” Read more >>
HOT OFF THE PRESS
Each edition, we highlight an interesting, new, openly-licensed resource
Virginia Commonwealth University has released Language and Culture in Context – A Primer on Intercultural Communication by Robert Godwin-Jones. The text introduces some of the key concepts in intercultural communication as traditionally presented in (North American) courses and textbooks, namely the study of differences between cultures, as represented in the works and theories of Edward Hall and Geert Hofstede.
Great reads to repost or share and interesting discussions to consider
Great to Share >>
The Rising Cost of Textbooks in the US | The Cooper Point Journal
UW universities lowering costs by using open-source textbooks | WTMJ-TV Milwaukee
Interesting to Consider >>
The Pandemic’s Impact on Open Educational Resources (OER) | Inside Higher Ed
High-Quality Curriculum as a Transformation Tool for Equity | ASCD Express
The OER Digest is a public newsletter distributed to a broad group of stakeholders across the higher education community. Subscribe here.