From Bilan Jama and Torrey Feldman (CCUSA) | Volume 101 | March 5th, 2020
With updates from Kennina Ip and Kaitlyn Vitez
THE OER DIGEST
Your bi-weekly newsletter for open education updates, opportunities, and reminders
“INCLUSIVE ACCESS” UNCOVERED: On Thursday, USPIRG released their latest report on textbook costs, Automatic textbook billing: an offer students can’t refuse? They found that many partnerships between institutions and publishers to charge students for digital course materials on their tuition bill fail to deliver real savings for students, reduce faculty and student choice, and give even more power to a handful of big publishing companies. Key findings include the discovery that half of contracts fail to fully disclose their discount structure, and 68 percent of contracts have quotas that, if missed, would result in the loss of federally-mandated discounts. The report provides examples of troubling contract clauses and recommendations for re-negotiating automatic billing partnerships to better meet student and faculty needs.
COLORADO: The Colorado Commission on Higher Education approved $1 million in OER funding. “With this year’s $1 million investment in open education, Colorado is signaling that we support our faculty and institutions in their innovative teaching practices,” said Brittany Dudek, Colorado Community Colleges online librarian and Open Educational Resources Council Chair. The commission projects that the projects will save students $3.4 million. There will be an additional $1 million for another round of awards next year. Meanwhile, Colorado is celebrating #OEWeek, including an official proclamation from Governor Jared Polis.
ACHIEVING THE DREAM: Achieving the Dream shares its third, and final, report on the Open Educational Resources Degree Initiative. The study found that the initiative saved students nearly $10.7 million in instructional material costs. Instructors were also found to be mostly optimistic about the sustainability of OER degree programs. Furthermore, more than 8 in 10 of those faculty members reported that for courses they’d taught as OER, they’d never go back to the “traditional materials.”
Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities
PARTICIPATE: The planning process for #OpenEd20 and the future of the OpenEd conference is starting to get underway. To participate, join the community discussion list here. To receive announcements only, sign up here.
REGISTER NOW: Registration is now open for the 2020 Southern California Fifth Annual #GoOpen Summit on April 1-2, 2020 in San Marcos, CA. The deadline to register is March 28, 2020.
REGISTER NOW: Registration is now open for the fourth annual Northeast Regional OER Summit on May 28 – 29, 2020 at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Campus Center. The deadline to register is May 14, and the deadline to submit proposals is March 20.
PROPOSALS: Submit your proposals for the Michigan OER Summit by April 13th here. The summit will be held on August 28, 2020, at Michigan State University Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing, MI.
JOB OPPORTUNITY: The Open Textbook Network is hiring a Communications Specialist. Click here to read more about the position and apply.
JOB OPPORTUNITY: SPARC is hiring a Programs & Operations Specialist. Click here to read more about the position and apply.
STORIES FROM THE FIELD
Quick snapshots of those making change on the ground level, and those impacted
FROM NORTH CAROLINA: The Elon University Student Government Association passed Bill S.B. 20-2.3 by a majority vote. The bill allocates $50,000 towards OER, and interested faculty members can apply for a $1,000 grant to implement OERs into their classes. Robbie Miley, the author of the bill, expects approximately 50 faculty members to opt into OER because of this legislation. Read more >>
FROM BRITISH COLUMBIA: The University of Victoria adds to its elections ballot the question of whether to add a $1.50 full-time fee and $0.75 part-time fee per semester to fund OER. Jonathan Granirer, UVSS Director of Outreach and University Relations, is the official proponent of this referendum, and aims to reduce the cost of course materials and make education more accessible. “If this referendum passes, it will save students money by decreasing textbook costs,” said Granirer. Read more>>>
HOT OFF THE PRESS
Each edition, we highlight an interesting, new, openly-licensed resource
The Smithsonian Museum announces the launch of Smithsonian Open Access. Roughly 2.8 million of the museum’s digital image and data collections have been made free to access, download, transform, and use for any purpose without further permission from the Smithsonian.
Great reads to repost or share and interesting discussions to consider
Great to Share >>
Why Are Textbooks So Expensive? | Teen Vogue
That Digital Textbook? Your College Has Billed You For It l The New York Times
Interesting to Consider >>
Promising but tough road for OER degree pathways | Community College Daily
The OER Digest is a public newsletter distributed to a broad group of stakeholders across the higher education community. Subscribe here.