From Mo Nyamweya, SPARC | Volume 82 | May 30, 2019
THE OER DIGEST
Your bi-weekly newsletter for open education updates, opportunities, and reminders
POLICY UPDATES: Many state legislatures are wrapping up for the year, so there’s lots of action to report. The governor of Minnesota signed bill HF 2544 into law, asking instructors to identify, review, and approve OER for use in their courses, and colleges to offer the opportunity to earn a zero-cost degree. Nebraska’s LB 675, a bill requiring the Education Technology Center to evaluate digital education courses and OER, was sent to the governor for signature, as was Texas bill HB 3652, calling for the development of an OER repository. Louisiana course designation bill SB 117 passed the Senate and is now waiting in the House. Meanwhile, the New York Senate sent S 3661 promoting inclusive access to the Assembly.
NEW OER RESEARCH: CUNY Lehman College recently published research on student textbook purchasing. In surveying students about their textbook purchasing habits, researcher Stacy Katz found that approximately 20 percent of students spend more than two hours purchasing textbooks, taking them away from other obligations they may have. By assigning OER or other free resources, faculty can save students time as well as money. NCSU Libraries also recently published OER research focusing on the practices and needs of psychology instructors considering adopting OER in psychology courses. The paper identifies a set of themes for support in OER psychology courses along with guidance for applying these results in other fields.
REGIONAL SUMMITS: May has been a busy month for regional OER conferences. Last week, the Northeast OER Summit brought together about 200 participants from across the region, featuring a keynote by Rajiv Jhangiani and Robin DeRosa. Maryland held a statewide summit earlier this week, and Colorado’s OER Conference is tomorrow. Stay tuned or catch up on each event by following their Twitter streams: #NEOERsummit2019, #OpenEdCO, and #MDOERSummit.
Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities
JOB OPPORTUNITY: University of Oklahoma is hiring an Open Education Librarian. Click here for more information about the position, including how to apply.
JOB OPPORTUNITY: California State University Dominguez Hills is hiring an Open Education Librarian. The position is open until filled – click here for more information about the position, including how to apply.
REGISTER NOW: Virtual College of Texas is hosting the Open Education Texas convening August 7-8 in Austin, Texas. Register by June 7 for the early bird discount!
REGISTER NOW: Registration has opened up for #OpenEd19, taking place October 30 – November 1 in Phoenix, AZ.
STORIES FROM THE FIELD
Quick snapshots of those making change on the ground level, and those impacted
FROM PENNSYLVANIA: Penn State Harrisburg is leading OER innovation in geology. Now, PSH geology students are using digital rock kits and an open textbook in place of traditional rock packages and textbooks, allowing professors greater pedagogical freedom and saving students money. “Having that innovative technology as we move forward becomes more crucial because the students expect it. In online classes, it’s a nice way to enwrap their attention,” said Jennifer Sliko, assistant teaching professor of earth and geosciences at the Harrisburg campus. Read more >>
FROM VIRGINIA: Students from all 23 member colleges in the Virginia Community College System now have access to digital courseware at no cost, thanks to an agreement with Lumen Learning. The VCCS system has been working with Lumen to lower the cost of their course materials for the past five years and in 2018, more than 30,000 students from the system used Lumen-supported OER materials in more than 30 academic subjects. “The use of open educational resources remains a priority for the VCCS to improve college affordability and student success, and our partnership with Lumen supports this priority,” said Sheri Prupis, director of teaching and learning technologies for the Virginia Community College System. Read more >>
HOT OFF THE PRESS
Each edition, we’ll highlight an interesting, new, openly-licensed resource
The Maryland Open Source Textbook (M.O.S.T.) Commons just launched this month. This new digital library of OER can be used to discover, collaborate, and create with educators to improve curricula and features innovative search features and curated collections of resources, making it even easier for faculty to find the right resource(s) for their course.
Interesting Discussions and Strategic Reads to Repost or Share
Great to Share >>
- People Are Finally Fighting Back Against the College Textbook Industry ‘Scam’ | VICE
- The local and national fight for affordable textbooks | The Daily of the University of Washington
- Colleges Are Striking Bulk Deals With Textbook Publishers. Critics Say There are Many Downsides | EdSurge
Interesting to Consider >>
- Looking Back on This Year’s Classroom Experiments | Inside Higher Ed
- The Business of Fettering OER | Billy Meinke
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.