From Cailyn Nagle (USPIRG) | Volume 78 | April 4th, 2019
THE OER DIGEST
Your bi-weekly newsletter for open education updates, opportunities, and reminders
FEDERAL UPDATE: The Affordable Textbook Act was reintroduced Thursday by Senator Durbin, King, Smith, and Senima and Representative Neguse. If passed, the act will provide permanent authorization for an open textbook grant program to support the creation and expansion of open textbook programs. The act also includes language requiring higher education institutions to include information about OER in course schedules, which will allow students to make more informed decisions, and codifies strong definitions of OER and open licensing. Learn more by checking out statements from SPARC and U.S. PIRG, two leading advocacy groups supporting this legislation.
STATE UPDATES: A327 which requires New Jersey colleges and universities to expand the use of digital alternatives to textbooks and create a plan for expanding open textbooks, heads to the Governor’s desk after it was passed unanimously through the NJ State Assembly and Senate. Minnesota’s SF616 authorizes additional financial aid to cover the costs of textbooks and equipment. Texas strengthened an existing bill with HB3836 which now requires school districts and open enrollment charter schools to consider open educational resources. Several other bills relating to OER were heard in the state’s higher education committee but votes were postponed. West Virginia’s HB2853, which creates a program to encourage OER use in both higher ed and K-12, has been signed into law by the governor.
NEW DATA: A new working paper from the UCLA Anderson School of Business suggests that publishing companies stand to increase profits by up to 46% if they’re able to effectively kill the used textbook market. Outside of creating new editions, which happen within six to eight semesters of creating a new book, other tactics cited include loose leaf, rental, and digital copies.
INCLUSIVE ACCESS: Students at UNC Chapel Hill successfully pushed back on the school’s plan to implement a new inclusive access program with Pearson. This semester students within the Undergraduate Student Government and NCPIRG have focused on gathering grassroots support from students and faculty in the form of student petitions, faculty and librarian statements of support, letters to the editor, and a student government resolution.
Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities
OPPORTUNITY: Creative Commons is looking for a K12 Partnerships and Training Manager to craft and execute outreach and policy strategies bringing OER to k-12 classrooms. Learn more and submit your application here.
OPPORTUNITY: Central New Mexico’s Community College is looking for a new open education resource course designer to work with faculty to create and redesign courses to use open materials. Learn more and submit your application here.
OPPORTUNITY: OpenStax has opened applications for their Institutional Partnership Program. Institutions who participate in their program have seen a 158% increase in the number of students impacted by OER. Applications are due April 30th. Learn more and apply here.
OPPORTUNITY: The Penn State University Libraries is looking for two applicants in the Diversity Residency Librarian program. Learn more and apply here.
REGISTER: You can register for the Northeast OER Summit here, on May 22nd-23rd in Amherst, MA.
STORIES FROM THE FIELD
Quick snapshots of those making change on the ground level, and those impacted
FROM CALIFORNIA: Skyline Community College’s OER and ZTC program began in 2016 and has grown to offering 128 classes in the program during the 2019 semester. “Since Spring 2018 through Spring 2019, there have been 7,418 student enrollments in ZTC and OER class section with savings of $1,1126,036.73… Skyline offered 128 classes with ZTC & OER Programs.” Read more here>
FROM OREGON: A close vote at Lane Community College delays outsourcing of the campus bookstore to Barnes and Noble over concerns of potential harm to the school’s OER program. LCC’s Open Educational Resource Librarian, Maggie Wright, spoke at the meeting to highlight how similar outsourcing at Clackamas Community College damaged the OER program at the school. Read more here>
FROM TEXAS: Panola College Faculty Association created a timeline to switch over the classes that are prerequisites for a bachelor’s degree from traditional to open materials. “Panola College students working toward an academic associate degree could see savings of more than $1,000 beginning in fall 2019, as a result of an effort to use no-cost or low-cost Open Education Resources (OER) instead of traditional textbooks.” Read more here>
HOT OFF THE PRESS
Each edition, we’ll highlight an interesting, new, openly-licensed resource
University of Saskatchewan released Sharing Our Knowledge: Best Practices for Supporting English Language Learners in Schools, a collection providing preK-12 educators with best practices and research on supporting English language learners and insight into the cultures and languages represented in classrooms today.
Interesting Discussions and Strategic Reads to Repost or Share
Great to Share >>
GHC named No. 6 in country for saving students money on textbooks l The Daily Tribune
This KPU professor brought open-education advocacy all the way to the UN l University Affairs
Interesting to Consider >>
Survey: Most Students Shop on Amazon to Save Money on Textbooks | CampusTechnology
The Corporations Devouring American Colleges | Huffington Post
Is it time to say goodbye to textbooks? | eSchool News
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.