From Aishah Abdullah (SPARC) | Volume 128 | April 29, 2021
With updates from Hailey Babb
THE OER DIGEST
Your bi-weekly newsletter for open education updates, opportunities, and reminders
OER IN COVID RELIEF: Several states have leveraged COVID-19 relief funding from the federal government to expand OER programs, recognizing the benefits of OER in distance learning. The latest is Oregon, which has awarded a $1.2 million grant from the federal Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER) to Oregon’s statewide open education program. With this grant, Open Oregon Educational Resources will launch new initiatives, including hiring a statewide Open Education Instructional Designer, translating OER into languages other than English, designing a related professional development course for non-faculty roles, and developing openly-licensed materials with an equity lens. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania is implementing a $500,000 OER Grant Program and Texas established an OER Course Development and Implementation Grant Program through their respective GEER funds.
COLORADO RENEWS FUNDING: The Colorado legislature passed a bill that would renew funding for the state’s successful OER program. The bill will provide $1 million in state funds annually for the next five years. Governor Jared Polis, a long time champion of OER while serving in Congress, is expected to sign the bill. Colorado’s OER program has funded numerous initiatives that focused on OER. Institutions, small groups, and faculty members have received funds to assist in the implementation of OER at their institutions. More than 300 OER course titles have been addressed by the grantees, which has led to students saving over $4 million.
OER IN ALBERTA: The Government of Alberta, Canada has released its long-awaited Alberta 2030 review, which is described as “a transformational vision, direction and new way of working for our province’s higher education system.” Explicitly mentioned in the report is a recommendation to “support the expansion of Open Educational Resources, such as course materials and textbooks,” as a key objective to achieve the Government’s goal of improving access and student experience.Meanwhile, at the national level, the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL) recently hosted a webinar on developing a national strategy for OER, which is available in English and French.
Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities
APPLY NOW: Applications are now open for the SPARC Open Education Leadership Program 2021-22 cohort. The year-long program is available for open education professionals in the US and Canada. Apply by May 28.
REGISTER NOW: OpenCon Cleveland 2021 is open for registration. This free, virtual conference celebrates the benefits of open education to student learning. This three day event begins on May 13th. You can register for the event here.
JOB OPPORTUNITY: Texas State University has a position open for an Open Education Resources Librarian. You can learn more and apply to the job here.
STORIES FROM THE FIELD
Quick snapshots of those making change on the ground level, and those impacted
FROM ALBERTA: Students at the University of Calgary have been pushing for the adoption of open educational resources at their university and successfully managed to secure a grant. The grant is $500,000 which they expect will create over 50 OERs for students to utilize within the classroom. Student leaders have recognized that there is a huge need for learning materials to be more affordable. “We’re hoping for some kind of movement, some kind of commitment to fund it potentially because there is a very high demand for it and need for it” said student Semhar Abraha who is the Vice President Academic of the Student Union. Read More>>
FROM HAWAI’I: Students at Leeward Community College, which is located in Hawai’i, have saved over $6 million from the adoption of open resource. In the University of Hawai’i 10-campus system, Leeward CC are the leaders of zero-cost textbook classes. The campus has been conducting zero-cost textbook classes for a few years and during the pandemic, their usage increased. In Spring of 2021, over half their classes were instructed using zero-cost textbooks. These savings are benefiting students immensely. Genesis Larson shares how, “With the money I didn’t have to spend on a textbook, I saw the world I was learning about.” Leeward CC plans to only increase their usage of free educational resources within their classrooms. Read More>>
FROM OHIO: The Ohio State University has completed an evaluation of an Ohio statewide textbook affordability initiative. The report is titled “Try it, Make it Better, Perfect it: Implementing a Statewide Textbook Affordability Initiative” and focuses on the Ohio Open Ed Collaborative (OOEC). OOEC is a statewide initiative to develop open and affordable college course materials. Within this report, they analyze the implementation of this program in areas that improvement can be made as well as the successes where other institutions can learn from. Read More>>
HOT OFF THE PRESS
Each edition, we highlight an interesting, new, openly-licensed resource
Talea Anderson, a Scholarly Communication Librarian at the Washington State University, has released an open textbook titled Accessibility Case Studies for Scholarly Communication Librarians and Practitioners. This open resource is filled with case studies to help guide librarians, and those with similar professions, to implement accessible open education, open access, and open data initiatives.
Great reads to repost or share and interesting discussions to consider
Great to Share >>
- It’s Time for Open Educational Resources | Inside Higher Ed
- Investing in Textbook Alternatives Makes Post-Secondary Education More Affordable | Edmonton Journal
Interesting to Consider >>
- 4 Strategies this Administrator uses to Evaluate Free Resources | eSchool News
- Leveraging Creative Common License with Dr. Amy Nusbaum | Open Knowledge Spectrums
- Open Education Resources to Shape Post-Pandemic World | University World News
- Platforms Like Canvas Play Fast and Loose With Students’ Data | The Nation
The OER Digest is a public newsletter distributed to a broad group of stakeholders across the higher education community. Subscribe here.