By Ethan Senack, Student PIRGs | Volume 4 | November 12th, 2015
With help from Amanda Cadran, Sarah Cohen, and others
THE OER DIGEST
Your tip sheet for U.S. OER updates, opportunities, and reminders
UPDATE FROM CALIFORNIA: After a few weeks of turmoil surrounding a Cal State professor who forewent an expensive textbook he was supposed to assign in favor of more affordable (and some openly-licensed) materials, the College upheld its disciplinary reprimand. The faculty board reviewing the case stated that Professor Bourget violated the university’s rules, but also recognized that his department did not have sufficient procedures to allow discussion around changing material. The case resurfaced discussions about academic freedom, and how it applies to individual faculty, departments, and institutions.
READ MORE: An interesting analysis from the Orange County Register about their local colleges’ policies around course material adoption.
NOTE ON THE TEXTBOOK BILL: The House version of Senator Durbin’s bill to create a federal grant program that provides professional development, training, and resources for faculty interested in OER picked up two new cosponsors this month: Rep. Alcee Hasting (FL) and Beto O’Rourke (TX).
IN K-12: The Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) announced the launch of their new OER Portal, in partnership with iNACOL. The portal ” provides background and understanding of OER implementation at state and district levels, as well as a more detailed look at how OER can impact classroom practices.” See it for yourself here>
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last month, the Open Textbook Network – a project launched by OER advocates at the University of Minnesota – announced that their network of institutions and campus partners have saved students an estimated $1.5 million in textbook costs. Considering they only launched last year, it’s quite a feat.
CONFERENCE SEASON: But when isn’t it, honestly. Lots of folks will be heading to Vancouver next week for OpenEd 15, an annual conference for educators, advocates, and many others. The three-day conference will feature tracks on OER and Accessibility, the Impact of OER on Student Success, OER Adoption Models, Sustainability in OER, and much more. Others are in Belgium for OpenCon.
It’s Thursday, October 15th. Ethan Senack here. I, myself, will be at OpenEd next week – look forward to seeing many of you there! Don’t forget to send tips, updates, opportunities, and feedback to @HigherEdPIRG or firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “OER DIGEST”.
STORIES FROM THE FIELD
A brief snapshot of those making change on the ground level, and those most impacted
FROM VIRGINIA: “In late October, Swem [Library] posted a survey about textbook prices. Featured on the front of the College of William and Mary’s library on a large whiteboard, the survey results included 56 students who noted that high prices of textbooks caused them not to buy the required textbook, and 16 students who said they earned a poor grade as a result.
“We had quite a few students say that they didn’t purchase a textbook for a class because it was too expensive, and they thought their grade suffered because of that,” Arts Librarian and Interim Digital Scholarship Librarian Kathleen DeLaurenti said. “I don’t want to see that happening. If there’s something we can do, I want to be there to do that.” Read more about their visit with Creative Commons.
FROM OREGON: “We work with faculty—whether they teach online or whether they teach on campus—to try to help them to find no-cost course materials for their students,” said Dianna Fisher, director of Open Oregon State. “If they can’t find an open textbook that meets their needs, then we will work with them to either take an existing textbook and modify it to meet their needs, or if that’s not an option, we will work with them to create a textbook that does meet their needs, and then offer that for free to the students here at OSU and students, really, in all other places.” Read more about their program>
Have a story you’d like featured? Email it to email@example.com.
Readers Will Shape the Future | The Bookseller
(an interesting take on the publishing industry)
Harvard Law School launches “Free the Law” project | Harvard Law Today
(on digitizing US case law and providing free access)
This important conversation between Phil Hill and Mike Caulfield:
(discussing the merits of textbook price data vs student spending data)
- Bad Data Can Lead To Bad Policy: College students don’t spend $1,200+ on textbooks
- Asking What Students Spend on Textbooks Is the Wrong Question
- Asking What Students Spend On Textbooks Is Very Important, But Insufficient