From Hailey Babb & Mo Nyamweya (SPARC) | Volume 98 | January 23rd, 2020
THE OER DIGEST
Your bi-weekly newsletter for open education updates, opportunities, and reminders
FROM CALIFORNIA: On January 10th, Governor Newsom released his budget proposal that included a $10 million allocation for the Zero-Textbook Cost Degree program. The program seeks to reduce the overall cost of education for students and decrease the time it takes students to complete degree programs offered by community colleges. This year’s proposed funding is twice the amount of the previous $5 million allocation, which allowed twenty-three community colleges across California to develop thirty-three ZTC degrees or Career Technical Education certificates over two years.
STATE BILLS: Several states are considering new OER legislation. In Maryland, HB 318 was introduced, which would require institutions that are part of the University System of Maryland to mark which courses use free digital materials in online course catalogs. Iowa is considering SF 433 with similar goals. Meanwhile, Florida is considering SB 602/HB 1377, which would create an OER grant program, while also facing HB 613/SB 72 to change “inclusive access” style programs for textbooks style programs from opt-in to opt-out.
MERGER UPDATE: The U.K. Competition and Markets Authority has opened an official investigation into the Cengage/McGraw-Hill merger. There is a public comment period open until January 28, and a decision on whether to proceed is due in March. The merger is also under investigation by antitrust authorities in Australia and New Zealand. While it is possible that international pushback could have some impact on the timeline, the primary factor in the merger’s fate continues to be the U.S. Department of Justice, whose review has been ongoing since May.
#OEWEEK: Open Education Week 2020, the global celebration of open education and its impact on education worldwide, is coming in just over a month on March 2-6. Visit the #OEweek website for information on how to participate, including online and in person events around the world. You can download promotional resources and submit your entry here.
Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities
JOB: The University of Texas at Austin is hiring an Open Education Librarian. Check out the job description and apply here.
APPLY NOW: The Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication (JLSC) seeks a Reviews Co-Editor to continue and expand a program of reviewing scholarship, platforms and tools, and programs and courses. Deadline to apply is February 7, 2020.
REGISTER NOW: The Association for Learning Technology is offering their early bird rate for #OER20 until February 1. The conference will take place in London, UK from April 1-2, 2020.
REGISTER NOW: Registration is now open for eCampusOntario’s February Webinar, “Creating OER with Students”. The webinar will take place on Feb. 11, 2020 at 12:00pm ET.
REGISTER NOW: Registration is now open for Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s inaugural Open Education Research Institute. The one-day summit is open to scholars across British Columbia who wish to develop or enhance their open education research skills.
REGISTER NOW: In conjunction with Open Education Week, the North Dakota University System will hold an open education resources conference on Friday, March 6. Registration can be found here and the deadline is February 25.
STORIES FROM THE FIELD
Quick snapshots of those making change on the ground level, and those impacted
FROM PENNSYLVANIA: The Provost’s office at the University of Pittsburgh has begun accepting proposals from faculty projects to adapt, adopt or create open education resources for current course offerings. The third iteration of the funding program is part of a series of initiatives to encourage the use of OERs on campus. Lynn Dang, a Student Government Board member and OER advocate, said faculty have adopted open resources for a variety of reasons such as existing textbooks not fitting current needs or a desire for customizability, but supporters have a way to go still for wider usage. Read more >>
FROM NEW YORK: During the Fall 2019 semester, Hudson Valley Community College saved students nearly $250,000 through the use of OER. Their Mathematics and Engineering Science Department is one of the leading adopters of OER on campus. “We are hoping that all of our sections of College Algebra with Trigonometry will use OER starting next fall rather than traditional paper textbooks. This will remove a barrier to students’ learning as the text will then be at low or no cost,” said Sue Kutryb, HVCC Mathematics and Engineering Science Department Head. Read more >>
FROM GEORGIA: Affordable Learning Georgia is bringing its students at GSU’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies’ Department of Criminal Justice & Criminology the new digital learning materials through a $30,000 Textbook Transformation Grant. The award from Affordable Learning Georgia is just one award expected this spring semester as the state system program is expected to deliver two more rounds of awards. “Expensive textbooks harm learning,” Scott Jacques, who leads AYS Open said in a press release. “This transformation to no-cost materials will make our students more successful.” Read more >>
HOT OFF THE PRESS
Each edition, we highlight an interesting, new, openly-licensed resource
AFFORDABLE LEARNING GEORGIA: OpenALG now includes six proof-of-concept open textbooks in OpenALG, such as an American History I text from Gordon State College and public speaking course materials from Dalton State College.
Great reads to repost or share and interesting discussions to consider
Great to Share >>
Textbooks are pricey. So students are getting creative. | Washington Post
Open Education Explainer Videos | Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Interesting to Consider >>
Two States. Eight Textbooks. Two American Stories. | New York Times
Textbook cost is a hidden barrier to student success | The Salem 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.