From Mo Nyamweya | Volume 91 | October 3, 2019
THE OER DIGEST
Your bi-weekly newsletter for open education updates, opportunities, and reminders
MAJOR OER INVESTMENT: The University of Texas at Arlington is investing an impressive $500,000 to fund open educational resources this academic year, marking the largest award by a public academic institution in Texas specifically supporting OER initiatives. Student feedback collected in courses impacted by the UTA CARES Grant Program in spring 2019 demonstrated overwhelming support for the program and expanded OER use at UTA, with 98% of students reporting that the quality of the UTA CARES materials were as good or better than traditional commercial materials.
CONNECT OER REPORT: This week, SPARC released its 2018-2019 Connect OER Annual Report. The report provides insights on OER trends, practices, and impact in the U.S. and Canada, using data submitted by 132 higher ed institutions in the Connect OER directory. Insights include that more than half of the campuses have a faculty or staff position with OER responsibilities and that the average award for an OER mini-grant program is $1,339.
NEW RESEARCH: A new article titled “Efficacy of Open Textbook Adoption on Learning Performance and Course Withdrawal Rates: A Meta-Analysis” compares learning performance and course withdrawal rates between open and commercial textbooks. Based on a systematic search of research findings, there were no differences in learning efficacy between open textbooks and commercial textbooks. However, the withdrawal rate for postsecondary courses with open textbooks was significantly lower than that for commercial textbooks.
Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities
APPLY NOW: Open Textbook Network’s Certificate in OER Librarianship is accepting applications. Applicants should be, or anticipate becoming, newly responsible for building open education programs at their institutions. Applications are due on Nov 8th.
REGISTER NOW: Registration for the 2019 OE Global Conference is open until October 31. The conference is being held on November 26-28 in Milan, Italy.
HIRING NOW: Touro College in New York, NY is hiring an Open Educational Resources & Instruction Librarian. 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 PENNSYLVANIA: Faculty who participate in Penn State’s Affordable Course Transformation program receive a grant stipend, instructional design support from Teaching and Learning with Technology, and additional support from the Open Educational Resources coordinator and Open Education Librarian. “The ACT team introduced me to existing materials that allowed me to create something beautiful, useful, and free for my [ECON 102 and 104] students which will be used for many, many years to come,” said Zachary Klingensmith, assistant teaching professor of economics at Penn State Behrend, when asked about his ACT@PSU project last year. Read more >>
FROM LOUISIANA: Over the next three years, the Nicholls’ Textbook Affordability Task Force aims to cut student spending on textbooks by 20%. This year, over 15 faculty members at Nicholls State University used open textbooks in their classrooms to improve affordability. “Open educational resources are one way faculty and librarians can directly affect the barriers and help students get a degree with less money,” said Elizabeth Batte, Nicholls’ OER Coordinator, who estimates that Nicholls faculty teaching with OER have saved students about $200,000 this semester. Read more >>
FROM CONNECTICUT: The Connecticut Commission for Educational Technology is aiming to unite secondary and higher education OER initiatives by creating a repository of higher ed and K-12 materials. Executive director of the Commission Doug Casey envisions a future where professors of community college remedial classes can easily find high school materials that are aligned with state standards to quickly bring their students up to speed, for example. Conversely, high schools would be able to offer classes normally found only at the college level without breaking their budgets. “If you could somehow open that all up and connect it, you would have a phenomenal statewide collection of lesson plans that are all aligned with state standards,” said Casey. Read more >>
HOT OFF THE PRESS
Each edition, we highlight an interesting, new, openly-licensed resource
OpenStax published “Business Law I Essentials”, a brief introductory textbook designed to meet the scope and sequence requirements of courses on Business Law or the Legal Environment of Business. Each chapter contains learning objectives, explanatory narrative and concepts, references for further reading, and end-of-chapter questions.
Great reads to repost or share and interesting discussions to consider
Great to Share >>
The Role of Libraries in College Innovation (Podcast) | EdSurgeLive
It’s time to end the era of wasteful and overpriced textbooks | The McGill Tribune
Interesting to Consider >>
A simple question: why are language textbooks so expensive? | The Mac Weekly
Textbook merger could create more problems than just higher prices | The Conversation
Questioning the Textbook Rep Culture | Inside Higher Ed
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.