From Bilan Jama (CC USA) | Volume 114 | September 24th, 2020
THE OER DIGEST
Your bi-weekly newsletter for open education updates, opportunities, and reminders
APPLY NOW: The 2020 application period for the Open Textbook Pilot program is now open. The grant competition will award approximately $6 million in federal funds to higher education institutions to create or expand the use of open textbooks. This is a great opportunity to seek funding to support effective and impactful open education work.
- Applications are due November 16, 2020. See the notice inviting applications for further instructions.
- U.S. institutions of higher education and state higher education agencies are eligible to apply.
- The maximum grant size is up to $2 million for a period of up to 36 months.
- Grants are awarded on a competitive basis according to their score. A call for reviewers is also currently open.
FEDERAL UPDATE: In addition, the Final Priorities, Requirements, and Definitions for the federal Open Textbook Pilot program has been published, which contains the U.S. Department of Education’s response to the public comment period held in March and April. Overall, the changes reflected in the final notice are limited, but a new $2 million maximum grant size will ensure that the funding supports multiple projects. The Department also made minor adjustments to the program’s priorities, including to remove the exclusive preference for “personalized learning” as a technology-based strategy for student success, to add requirements regarding interoperability and accessibility of materials, and to encourage participation by community colleges and Minority-Serving Institutions. All told, the changes to the program are broadly reflective of community input.
#FREETHETEXTBOOK: Free the Textbook is a nationwide initiative that calls on institutional leaders, teachers, and students to read the fine print on automatic textbook billing partnerships, and consider open textbooks instead to offer truly inclusive access to course materials. Share why you want more OER instead of automatic billing using the hashtag #FreetheTextbook, and check the initiative’s website for more information and sample materials to support your OER advocacy.
Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities
CALL FOR INFO: Mark your calendar for Open Access Week October 19-26, 2020! Please send all of your event’s information and registration to firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured in our next edition.
APPLY NOW: The Open Education Network is accepting applications for a cohort of librarians to be certified in OER Librarianship. Applications are due on November 6, 2020, 11:59 pm Central.
STORIES FROM THE FIELD
Quick snapshots of those making change on the ground level, and those impacted
FROM CALIFORNIA: Cerro Coso faculty implemented a strategy to support student success by reducing educational costs for students by adopting OER to replace costly textbooks. “There are many reasons why college students do not buy recommended and required textbooks, but fundamentally the biggest reason is they cannot afford them,” said Heather Ostash, Vice President of Student Services. “It is very important that students have access to these OER textbook alternatives.” Students agree. One student said, “I had to drop a class this semester because the cost of a book was $200 and I could not afford that as a single mother. I had already paid over $200 for the two classes I had.” Read more >>
FROM MASSACHUSETTS: MassBay Community College is doubling the number of courses that use free or pen educational resources to 74 courses, which makes classes more affordable for students. “As four-year colleges are also shifting to an online format, they simply cannot compete with the price of our courses. In addition to our significantly lower tuition and fees, by utilizing OER, our students save even more money by requiring little to no printed materials. OER courses are closely aligned with our mission of providing an accessible, practical, and affordable education for students who choose MassBay,” said MassBay President, Dr. David Podell. Read more >>
HOT OFF THE PRESS
Each edition, we highlight an interesting, new, openly-licensed resource
The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges has published “Advanced Community College ESL Composition: An Integrated Skills Approach”, a book that has been created to provide a framework for building skills in writing and critical thinking. It provides access to published samples from professional authors along with essay drafts from ESL students who have polished their skills in their respective writing courses.
University of California at Berkeley professor Bob Glushko created a new resource titled “The Discipline of Organizing: 4th Professional Edition”, that builds a bridge between organizing and data science. It reframes descriptive statistics as organizing techniques, expands the treatment of classification to include computational methods, and incorporates many new examples of data-driven resource selection, organization, maintenance, and personalization.
Great reads to repost or share and interesting discussions to consider
Great to Share >>
- Increasing Access and Savings For Students | SDSU Newscenter
Interesting to Consider >>
- The Next Phase for Open Education | The Good Men Project
- College students have been left behind. What’s the plan to support them? | U.S. PIRG
The OER Digest is a public newsletter distributed to a broad group of stakeholders across the higher education community. Subscribe here.