From Cailyn Nagle and Kaitlyn Vitez (USPIRG) | Volume 113 | August 27th, 2020
THE OER DIGEST
Your bi-weekly newsletter for open education updates, opportunities, and reminders
FEDERAL UPDATE: The U.S. Department of Education is seeking peer reviewers to read and evaluate grant applications for the Open Textbooks Pilot program. This pilot program supports projects at eligible institutions of higher education that create new open textbooks and expand the use of open textbooks in courses that are part of a degree granting program, and particularly those with high enrollments. The program has been funded for two cycles already, each for $5 million dollars. The Department is interested in peer reviewers from various backgrounds and professions including: administrators, college and university faculty, educational strategists and evaluators, grant makers, and others with expertise in adult and postsecondary education, open educational resources and practices, work-based learning, and career and technical education. Check out the call for reviewers for more information and instructions on how to apply.
NEW AUTHOR: Hello! I’m Zack Szlezinger, and I’m excited to be joining the OER Digest team as the new higher education fellow with PIRG in Washington, DC. I just graduated from the University of Virginia, where I spent a lot of time working on local congressional campaigns. While I won’t be working full-time on OER, I’m excited to be building out a network of student government leaders to advocate for college and textbook affordability during COVID-19. You can find me on Twitter as @ZSzlezinger.
Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities
CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Time is running out to submit your proposal for #OpenEd20. The conference will be held virtually on November 9-13, 2020. Proposals are due this Tuesday September 1, 2020. Learn more and submit your proposal here.
APPLY NOW: Linn-Benton Community College is looking for a Director of the Library and Learning Center. The position is based in Albany, OR. Applications close September 11th and the position starts in December. Learn more and apply here.
APPLY NOW: Oregon Tech is looking for an Instruction and Outreach Librarian. The position is based in Klamath Falls. Screening begins September 11th. Learn more and apply here.
STORIES FROM THE FIELD
Quick snapshots of those making change on the ground level, and those impacted
FROM KANSAS: Barton Community Colleges has expanded their “no-cost and low-cost” classes by adding twelve courses that use open educational resources, with one professor teaching four of those. Daniel Buller used to need multiple books, textbooks, articles, and documentaries for his class but now uses open textbooks. ““When you use someone else’s textbook, you use the stories they see as important,” he said. BCC continues to expand their “no-cost and low-cost” courses with fifty faculty currently working on adapting open materials. Read more>>
FROM TEXAS: Lamar State College is participating in OpenStax’s Institutional Partnership program as part of the schools strategy to increase the use of free textbooks among faculty. By fall 2021, students at Lamar will only need to purchase a single textbook to complete their core requirements, with a goal of moving to that number to zero. “Free is never bad, right?” quipped LSCPA President Dr. Betty Reynard. “Thanks to an injection of funds in the fall of 2019 by the Texas Legislature, the cost of tuition dropped by nearly 30 percent at Lamar State College Port Arthur. The partnership with OpenStax will add even more savings for students as they pursue a degree or certificate here at LSCPA.” Read more>>
FROM CALIFORNIA: Positions in social work are expected to grow over the next few years and MiraCosta College is working to fill that need by lowering the cost to just $46 a unit. By combining the MiraCosta Promise financial aide program with zero cost and open textbooks, they are hoping to fill a regional need. “MiraCosta College has worked closely with community leaders in developing this program so people can earn solid middle-class wages while helping people in our community at a time when they need it most.” said MiraCosta College Superintendent/President Sunita “Sunny” Cooke. Read more>>
HOT OFF THE PRESS
Each edition, we highlight an interesting, new, openly-licensed resource
From Dr. Karen Palmer and Dr. Sandi Van Lieu at Yavapai College comes a new writing guide for students, Roughwriter’s Guide: A handbook for writing well. While the book covers both MLA and APA formatting as well as mechanical issues, it’s laid out in a way to guide students through the essay writing process.
Great reads to repost or share and interesting discussions to consider
Great to Share >>
- A revolutionary alternative to expensive college textbooks | San Antonio Express-News
- Professors must work to alleviate the burden of high textbook costs on students | The Daily Bruin
Interesting to Consider >>
Back-to-School Doubts Crush Textbook Publishers | Bloomberg
The OER Digest is a public newsletter distributed to a broad group of stakeholders across the higher education community. Subscribe here.