From Cailyn Nagle (PIRG) | Volume 124 | March 5th, 2021
THE OER DIGEST
Your bi-weekly newsletter for open education updates, opportunities, and reminders
HAPPY #OEWEEK: from the OER Digest team! It’s been great to see the many events happening across the globe to promote open education despite the challenges we’ve faced after nearly a year of remote instruction. From student panels to faculty workshops to regional events to round tables- Open Education week had something for everyone. Check out the list of events around the world at the official Open Education Week website, or keep up with the latest coverage on Twitter under #OEWeek.
#OPENED21 UPDATE: In case you missed the 2020 Open Education Conference, you can catch up on 100+ hours of recordings from 250+ sessions released just in time for Open Education Week. The conference also released a video update, which announced that the 2021 conference will be virtual and held October 18th through 22nd. For more information on the planning process and to join the next community conference call, check out the new call for participation.
NEW SURVEY: U.S. PIRG released the findings of their latest student survey, Fixing the Broken Textbook Market, Third Edition, on February 23rd. In September, more than 120 student volunteers asked more than 5,000 of their peers at 82 colleges and universities abou their textbook buying experiences during the pandemic. Their analysis confirmed that 65% of students reported that they skipped buying textbooks due to their high cost, and 21% skipped access codes – a slight increase from last year. More concerning, however, students who had trouble meeting their basic needs also were struggling to fully participate in class: 38% of food-insecure students had skipped buying an access code.
Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities
REGISTER NOW: A series of excellent state and regional conferences have been announced for this summer, all of which are virtual:
- The upcoming Florida OER Summit, to be held May 13th and 14th, is accepting proposals ranging from lighting talks to longer workshops. Learn more and submit proposals here by March 21st.
- The Northeast OER Summit is now open for registrations and proposals. This free summit will be held May 24th-26th and is accepting registrations here until March 21st.
- The Open Education Southern Symposium will be held on July 12th through 16th. Submit your proposal by the March 19th deadline.
- The Michigan OER Network announced the dates for their upcoming summer MI OER Summit, which will take place on August 11th and 12th. Be on the lookout for announcements around proposals and registration, and learn more here.
APPLY NOW: The Open Education Network is looking for a digital content strategist. While the position is based at the University of Minnesota, remote applications are also accepted. Learn more and apply here.
APPLY NOW: Open Education Global and the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources are looking to fill several positions, including a program manager, curriculum developer and learning facilitator, director of communications, director of development, and director of technology. Learn more about all of these openings and apply here.
STORIES FROM THE FIELD
Quick snapshots of those making change on the ground level, and those impacted
FROM BRITISH COLUMBIA: Okanagan College plans to use a new $10,000 grant to create an open education strategy and plan for the campus. “This grant will enable faculty and instructors to have a point person at their own institution to learn more about developing and adopting open education content,” said web services librarian Roen Janyk. “I am looking forward to having time to devote to open education, and work with colleagues across Canada and B.C. who are working on similar projects” Read more>>
FROM TENNESSEE: Middle Tennessee State University launched a new open textbook pilot program funded by a grant from the Tennessee Board of Regents. The university plans to hold a series of workshops to help faculty incorporate open materials as well as distribute individual grants for the creation of new open resources. OER also provides an opportunity to focus on equity. “They’re really a cornerstone these days for diversity, equity and inclusion in the classroom,” said Cheryl Torsney, vice provost for faculty affairs and OER project director. “But obviously faculty retain control of their curriculum and how best to educate their students. We’re just trying to offer them options to keep their students enrolled and on track.” Read more>>
FROM DELAWARE: Faculty at University of Delaware have seen the positive impact that open textbooks can have on classrooms. Professors Eric Greska and Sheara Williamson from within the College of Health Science have saved students thousands of dollars by redesigning their Fundamentals of Anatomy and Physiology course to low cost open materials.Their focus has been making sure students learn and retain the important information in their classes. “We’re teaching future health care professionals,” Williamson said, “and anatomy and physiology is foundational material, so if they don’t know it, we’re in trouble.” The ability to completely customize their course materials and create interactive elements available on their learning management system helps students engage with the class and succeed. Read more>>
HOT OFF THE PRESS
Each edition, we highlight an interesting, new, openly-licensed resource
From the University of Texas at Austin comes a new intermediate Turkish language textbook, Her Şey Bir Merhaba ile Başlar by Dr. Jeannette Okur. The textbook features audio clips, speaking exercises, grammar, vocabulary, and cultural activities.
Great reads to repost or share and interesting discussions to consider
Great to Share >>
- Letter to the Editor | The Daily Barometer
- Dept. of Higher Education’s initiative helping college students save money | 22News WWLP
- UTA team creating new textbooks for transportation certificate | Mirage
- Four open textbook pilot grantees kick off projects to save students millions | SPARC
- Textbook costs are predatory | Dartmouth Weekly
Interesting to Consider >>
The OER Digest is a public newsletter distributed to a broad group of stakeholders across the higher education community. Subscribe here.