From Ethan Senack, Student PIRGs | Volume 12 | April 14th, 2016
THE OER DIGEST
Your tip sheet for U.S. OER updates, opportunities, and reminders
PERVASIVE PIRATING: A new report from researcher Laura Czerniewicz at the University of Cape Town finds that only 20% of students get all their course materials legally. Of 1,000 students surveyed, more than 80% had either illegally downloaded digital files unawares, or intentionally done so when faced with high prices for the legal material. Interestingly, some students pointed ethical concerns back at publishers, for charging high prices for course materials. The study ultimately makes the case for more OER use in classrooms. Read more>
BIRTHDAY WISHES: MIT’s OpenCourseWare is celebrating 15 years of open publishing. Since they launched the project, they’ve had more than 175 million visitors, and boast materials for 2260 different courses. For a fascinating read, check out this New York Times story announcing the project back in 2001.
- KEY QUOTE: ” ‘I also suspect,” [ President Charles M. Vest] said, ”in this country and throughout the world, a lot of really bright, precocious high school students will find this a great playground.” And ultimately, he said, ”there will probably be a lot of uses that will really surprise us and that we can’t really predict.”
CONVERGING IN KRAKÓW: OER advocates, researchers, and educators from around the world are meeting in Poland this week for the Open Education Global conference. They’re discussing “new developments in open education, research results, innovative technology, policy development and implementation, and practical solutions to challenges facing education around the world.” If you’re not there, take part and experience Twitter envy>
EVER HIGHER: The College Board recently released their new “Average Estimated Undergraduate Student Budgets” for 2015-2016. No surprise, the recommended budget for textbooks and supplies increased over last year, hitting $1,298 for public 4-year schools and $1,364 for public 2-years.
COOL CONCEPT: The Student Government at Texas A & M University is working with the university to launch the “SGA Open Educational Materials Awards,” which will highlight educators that utilize and adopt OER in their classrooms. Bruce Herbert, a faculty partner on the project, says that the award will be highly prized by faculty, because the school considers teaching awards and student evaluations when considering professors for tenure and promotion. The first round of nominations are due on April 18th.
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It’s Thursday, April 14th. Here’s some fun trivia: tomorrow is Tax Day in the U.S – or at least, it usually is. Turns out that Washington, D.C. celebrates Emancipation Day on April 16th, but it was moved to April 15th this year since the 16th was a Saturday. That’s why the IRS extended the tax deadline to Monday, April 18th. But then, Maine and Massachusetts celebrate Patriot’s Day on April 18th, so the IRS gave them until the 19th. Profoundly useful information for procrastinators and profoundly useless for everyone else.
Don’t forget to send your OER tips, updates, opportunities, and feedback firstname.lastname@example.org or @HigherEdPIRG.
Conference, job, and other OER-related opportunities
CALL FOR PROPOSALS – OPEN ED: The 13th annual Open Education conference will be in Richmond, VA this November 2nd-4th. Workshops proposals are due TOMORROW.See the call>
CALL FOR PROPOSALS – ACRL: The Association of College & Research Libraries is hosting a conference in Baltimore, MD next year on March 22nd-25th. They’re very proactive – proposals are due May 6th of this year. See the call>
WEBINAR – OPEN OREGON: is offering a set of Webinars for faculty interested in implementing OER in their courses on May 9th & 10th. Check them out>
Have an opportunity you want featured? Email it to email@example.com.
STORIES FROM THE FIELD
A brief snapshot of those making change on the ground level, and those most impacted
FROM GEORGIA: Georgia Highlands College recently joined the Affordable Learning Georgia initiative. Here’s a great quote to sum up how that went: “Almost half a million dollars’ worth of student savings was yielded for fall 2015 with GHC’s recent introduction of Open Educational Resources (OER).” Not a bad start… Read More>
FROM MICHIGAN: Northwestern Michigan College recently kicked off an OER pilot program after securing a small $5,000 grant from the college’s foundation. Long story short? ” About 4,000 students attend NMC. Together they’ve saved nearly 60,000 dollars this semester alone.” Read More>
Interesting Reads on Education and Open
So, When During the School Day Should Teachers Create Curriculum? | T.H.E. Journal
Students Should Demand Their Colleges Produce Free Open Textbooks | HuffPost
Students request textbook affordable options | The Egalitarian
Nebraska Book Company and RedShelf Form Partnership around Digital Textbooks| BusinessWire