From Cailyn Nagle (PIRG) | Volume 121 | January 21st, 2021
THE OER DIGEST
Your bi-weekly newsletter for open education updates, opportunities, and reminders
OPEN TEXTBOOK PILOT WINNERS ANNOUNCED: The U.S. Department of Education announced their fourth round of grants to support open textbook creation and adoption. The federal Open Textbook Pilot grant program continues to save students across the country millions and with the changes to the program, this year is set up to have the largest impact yet. Congratulations to the winners of the 2020 Pilot-
- West Hills Lemoore College’s California Consortium for Equitable Change in Hispanic Serving Institutions Open Educational Resources
- Middlesex County College’s Open Textbook Collaborative Project with 17 other New Jersey institutions
- The Louisiana Board of Regents’ Interactive Dual Enrollment
- University of Texas at Arlington’s OERTransport: Enabling Transportation Planning Professional Advancement project
CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR’S BUDGET: Gavin Newsom revealed his proposed budget for 2021 featuring $36.1 billion in funding for higher education with $15 million of that being set aside for zero textbook cost degrees in the California Community Colleges. During the announcement, Newsom called out the commercial textbook industry as a “racket” and committed the state to fixing the “usurious costs associated with textbooks.” In last year’s 2020 budget, Newsom had originally proposed $10 million for the program, but the line item was cut due to projected budget shortfalls.
Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities
JOB OPPORTUNITY: SPARC is seeking a full-time, U.S.-based candidate to join their Open Education Team as an Open Education Coordinator. The job posting is available here.
VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY: The Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communications is looking for a new managing editor. Deadline for applications is February 14th. The details are available here.
JOB OPPORTUNITY: The Rebus Foundation is looking for a new Assistant Program Manager to help develop new programs, lead training, and more. Application deadline is January 31st. Learn more here.
STUDENT OPPORTUNITY: The Open Education Southern Symposium has opened a student contest for their new logo. The student artist who wins will receive a monetary prize and their artwork will be featured in the 2021 conference. Deadline for submissions is January 31st. Read more here.
CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Applications for the statewide Spring 2021 Missouri Affordable and Open Educational Resources Symposium are now open. The deadline for submissions is February 1, 2021. Learn more and submit a proposal here.
STORIES FROM THE FIELD
Quick snapshots of those making change on the ground level, and those impacted
FROM FLORIDA: Over this past fall semester, University of Central Florida saved students over $750,000 with open educational resources. Physics faculty alone saved students $232,000 after ten faculty made the switch to free open materials. “The free online textbook has enhanced students’ accessibility,” said Dr Ellen Kang, a physics professor. “The fact that the e-textbook can be customized for each instructor has allowed for greater flexibility in the preparation of my course materials.” Read more >>
FROM UTAH: Through a letter to the editor from Dixie State Provost Michael Lecourse, the university lays out an exciting path forward that places the principles of openness front and center. Using OER as a key element of their vision to build access. “We believe every person has the potential to succeed in work and life if given access and opportunity to learn,” wrote Lecourse. Read more >>
FROM MICHIGAN: Michigan State University is launching “BIG Collection,” a collection that unites the Big Ten university libraries, which together own 22 percent of the printed word in English. Directing this project is the Steering Committee which will connect the fifteen universities in the network and has committed itself to an OER program, in addition to uniting their book and journal collections. “The BIG Collection is really about collaboration, impact, and efficiency,” said Joseph Salem, Dean of MSU Libraries. “This will increase access to materials for all of our users. It’s just a tremendous initiative!” Read more >>
HOT OFF THE PRESS
Each edition, we highlight an interesting, new, openly-licensed resource
From North Broad Press, a joint publishing project from Temple University Press and Temple University Library, comes Bridges: United States Academia for First-Generation and International College Students by Dr. Shawn Higgins. This book prepares new college students with straightforward information about university life. From useful lists to writing and speaking templates, this publication will help prepare new students for success.
Great reads to repost or share and interesting discussions to consider
Great to Share >>
- Professors have students paying for their homework | Dakota Student
- Teaching: New Tools for Course Transparency | The Chronicle of Higher Education
Interesting to Consider >>
- Staff Opinion: Don’t buy textbooks | The Daily Universe
The OER Digest is a public newsletter distributed to a broad group of stakeholders across the higher education community. Subscribe here.