From Camille Thomas (SPARC) | Volume 56 | May 3rd, 2018
THE OER DIGEST
Your bi-weekly newsletter for open education updates, opportunities, and reminders
NEW CO-AUTHOR: Hi! This is Camille Thomas. I am very excited to be SPARC’s first Open Education Fellow! I am the Scholarly Publishing Librarian at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas. For the next few months, my work will include working on the digest, LibOER calls, etc. as well as building relationships with new community partners to grow awareness and support for Open Educational Resources. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
$1 TRILLION AND COUNTING: Student debt in the United States has been a $1 trillion problem for at least six years. Currently, the total debt is $1.5 trillion and financial aid expenditures for textbooks is $3 billion per year. Several articles and opinion pieces have surfaced covering the need for affordable education and how growing costs affect life after higher education. These pieces provide important context for OER advocates working in higher education.
ETEXTBOOK PRICE DROP? Inside Higher Ed reports that while new print textbooks are still costly, the price of etextbooks is falling, according to data from etextbook distribution platforms which work with major publishers. Since 2016, the average price of etextbooks on VitalSource has fallen by 31 percent, from $56.36 in 2016 to $38.65 in 2018. OER advocates questioned the significance of these numbers, noting that it reflects a shift to renting versus buying access to content, and that discounts are likely temporary.
IN THE STATES: Governor Hickenlooper of Colorado signed into law HB18-1331, creating an OER council and appropriating $660K for OER grants and other activities. Edison State Community College is teaming up with the Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC) as well as universities from around Ohio to reduce the cost of student textbooks. The initiative, named Open Educational Resources (OER), is supported by a $1.3 million Innovation Grant from the Ohio Department of Higher Education.
SAVINGS AND MORE: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced an $8 million investment in open educational resources in 2017. Ann Fiddler, Open Education Librarian at the City University of New York, wrote an op-ed about bringing OER to scale for CUNY’s 500,000 students over the past year and how open education means so much more than financial savings.
Upcoming Events, Proposal and Registration Deadlines, Report-Backs
CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Proposals to host the 2019 Open Education Global Conference is re-opened. Traditionally, the Conference is held in the spring but starting in 2019, the conference is moving to the Fall with preference for the month of November. More information here.
WRAP UPS: In case you missed any of these great conferences, report-backs are available from the San Diego GoOpen Summit and the Creative Commons Summit. Also, check out the blog post roundup for OER18, which includes multimedia and Twitter coverage of the event. The archive of livestreamed sessions at OE Global is available here.
LAST CALL: May 11th is the priority application deadline for SPARC’s Open Educational Leadership Program for library professionals. Apply here.
STORIES FROM THE FIELD
Quick snapshots of those making change on the ground level, and those impacted
FROM WYOMING: “The innovation and creativity of UW instructors in this round of grants were amazing. Faculty from three colleges will create new open textbooks and course materials to better meet student needs while saving thousands of dollars in the process,” said Cass Kvenild, interim associate dean of University of Wyoming Libraries. Read more >
FROM ILLINOIS: “It’s time DePaul University began incentivizing professors to switch to Open Educational Resources, which are 100 percent free online textbooks,” said Josh Kaufman, Student Government Association candidate, in his platform statement at DePaul University in Chicago. Read more >
HOT OFF THE PRESS
Each edition, we’ll highlight an interesting, new, openly-licensed resource
The University of Michigan has published a new High Performance Computing open textbook, updating an out of print text to have more practical information for scientists who need to write and run their programs as part of their research. The textbook can be found in MERLOT and is available for print-on-demand.
Interesting Discussions and Strategic Reads to Repost or Share
Great to Share >>
Opening a New Path to Success – A Journey with Open Textbooks | WCET
A New Study Found OER to Match and Even Outperform a Commercial Textbook | eLearning Inside
Interesting to Consider >>
Williamson Schools to develop open source social studies curriculum | The Tennessean
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.