From Kaitlyn Vitez, U.S. PIRG | Volume 75 | February 21st, 2019
THE OER DIGEST
Your bi-weekly newsletter for open education updates, opportunities, and reminders
POLICY UPDATES: A new bill was introduced in West Virginia that would create a statewide program to increase the use of OER in both K-12 and higher education. Maryland introduced legislation that would require apprenticeship program operators to pay for books and materials for students, unless there is OER already available to students for free. A Virginia bill requiring no- and low-cost course markings has now passed both chambers and heads to the governor’s desk for signature.
COLORADO UPDATE: Nearly a year after the legislature funded a statewide OER initiative, the first grantees have been announced- 20 proposals in total. “There is limitless potential when it comes to OERs,” said Commissioner Pardis Mahdavi in a statement from the Colorado Department of Education. “We know from national data that adoption and implementation of OER can positively impact both affordability and student success. Colorado is well-positioned to make a great push forward in this arena to lead innovative practices in education.” MSU Denver was awarded one of the largest grants of $60,000, which was supplemented with an additional funding from the provost’s office. Notable among the other grantees is Arapahoe Community College, which is actively working with student government to get students to take an active role in talking to their professors about OER.
SAVINGS STATS: In the first year of a new partnership between Lumen Learning and Folle, one of the largest campus bookstore chains in the U.S., students have saved about $4 million through their OER-based courseware. More than 45,000 college students from 35 institutions were part of the program.
COURSE MARKING: Earlier this month, the Connecticut State College and University system implemented new textbook price transparency measures in its course registration system, Banner. The “NoLo” marking will identify courses with less than $40 in materials costs. Said President Mark Ojakian: “We know textbook costs remain a burden for many students, and for some, the cost of books inhibits their ability to complete coursework and be successful. Through NoLo, CSCU remains committed to accessibility, student success and affordability.”
Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities
REGISTER: Open Ed Week starts March 4th- just over a week away!
- Add your event to the official list at OpenEducationWeek.org
- The Texas Digital Library is hosting a special webinar in their “Getting Started with OER” series on March 5th, entitled “Lessons Learned in OER.” Register here.
- eCampusOntario is hosting daily webinars throughout the week. Check out the schedule here.
OPPORTUNITY: eCampusOntario is hiring an Open Community Lead to work on growth and sustainability of OER initiatives across the province. Learn more and submit your application here.
REPORT BACK: OER advocates gathered in Savannah, GA last week for the Hewlett grantees conference. Check out #HGCsavannah for more on sessions, takeaways, and more!
REGISTER: The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education OER Working Group has announced a fifth session in their workshop series for faculty. Learn more about the initiative and register here.
REGISTER: The Open Textbook Network has announced that their annual Summer Institute and Summit will be held on July 22-26. Register by March 15th here.
SUBMIT: The International Journal of OER, a publication of the for-profit American Public University System, is seeking papers for its spring edition. Submit your paper by February 28th here.
STORIES FROM THE FIELD
Quick snapshots of those making change on the ground level, and those impacted
FROM NEW JERSEY: Building off of the success of their local open textbook program, Rutgers students are taking OER to the state level. Since last December, the Rutgers University Student Association have pushed for a legislative bill that would require all public universities in New Jersey to submit a plan to the Secretary of Higher Education explaining how they would transition their most popular course offerings to provide open textbooks. “The idea here being that it lowers the barrier, it lowers the cost of entry to universities, especially during the formative years when students aren’t sure what their major is or what they’re interested in,” said Julien Rosenbloom, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore and legislative affairs committee chair. Read More >>>
FROM KANSAS: Student Body President Noah Ries said he supports a bill in the state legislature that would exempt books trom sales tax, but that the quickest way to make an impact on the students’ wallets is to reduce the cost of textbooks. He’s pushing for open textbooks over pricey books and access codes, and sent out a survey last week to assess their impact on the University of Kansas student body. “When [students] are already paying the course fee and are already paying their tuition and are already paying their student fee, that’s supposed to be included in that. But then, they’re still expected to pay for [access codes] on top of that. That’s not really fair,” Ries said. Read More >>>
HOT OFF THE PRESS
Each edition, we’ll highlight an interesting, new, openly-licensed resource
BCcampus has developed a new curriculum on electronic health records systems, serving instructors and students in nursing, pharmaceutical, allied health, and physicians programs. The testing will be configured such that students and instructors will use the tool as they might in a classroom or simulation lab: instructors will deliver a lesson plan, students will complete assigned work in the tool, and the instructor will evaluate their submissions. The new OER tool will be beta tested across four institutions this semester, across four different learning management systems.
Interesting Discussions and Strategic Reads to Repost or Share
Great to Share >>
A New Way to Motivate Faculty Adoption of OER l Inside Higher Ed
Interesting to Consider >>
Reduce textbook costs for students l The Technician
Reframing the conversation about OER l Inside Higher Ed
College Stores Adapt to Change | Publishers Weekly
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.