Michael Basmajian (PIRG) | Volume 138 | September 30, 2021
THE OER DIGEST
Your bi-weekly newsletter for open education updates, opportunities, and reminders
OER INSTITUTE: A newly launched Institute on Open Educational Resources will support institutions and faculty in adopting OER. Some 66 institutions have joined the Institute on Open Educational Resources that will support educators in launching, expanding or hastening campus adoption of free and affordable instructional materials. The institute was launched by the Associated of American Colleges and Universities. University Business published an article this week on the institute and some of the colleges, such as Framingham State University in Massachusetts that are participating.
NEW CO-AUTHOR: Hello everyone! My name is Michael Basmajian and I am the National Administrator for the Student PIRGs. I’m excited to be joining as a co-author of the OER Digest! I got started with the PIRGs (Public Interest Research Groups) as a Campus Organizer in Massachusetts back in 2014, where I helped educate hundreds of faculty and students about open textbooks. I look forward to being more involved with the OER community!
Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities
REGISTER NOW: The 2021 Open Education Conference (#OpenEd21) registration is open and the schedule is live. Held on October 18-22nd, the all-virtual event includes five days of engaging open education programming, networking opportunities, and social activities. Learn more and register here.
APPLY NOW: The Student PIRGs are hiring a full time campaign organizer to work on their Make Textbooks Affordable campaign. Learn more and apply here.
APPLY NOW: Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is hiring an Open Education Librarian to join their User and Research Services team. Learn more and apply here.
STORIES FROM THE FIELD
Quick snapshots of those making change on the ground level, and those impacted
FROM NEBRASKA: The University of Nebraska Omaha’s library announced the second cohort of their Textbooks Mavericks initiative, which spotlights UNO faculty, staff, students, and donors who take significant actions to advocate for textbook affordability. The Fall 2021 honorees are members of the university’s School of Communication, who transitioned all sections of Public Speaking at UNO into a fully Open Educational Resources course. The transition into a fully OER course means that between 3,000 and 3,600 students will be impacted annually, saving students as much as $360,000. Read More >>
FROM GEORGIA: The UNG Press, a scholarly, peer-reviewed press and an extension of the University of North Georgia, celebrated their 10th anniversary and recent admission as an affiliate member of the Association of University Presses (AUP). UNG Press is the leader in OER and open textbooks in the state of Georgia and has published 16 open textbooks with nine more in progress. Corey Parson, managing editor of UNG Press, said the OERs and low-cost textbooks have saved students on average $5 million. Read More >>
FROM BRITISH COLUMBIA: Over the last 18 months, five faculty from the University of Victoria in British Columbia were awarded OER grants to take teaching, learning and research resources in any medium––digital, print or otherwise––and transition them as open-access materials, replacing commercial textbooks. The university’s division of Learning, Teaching, Support and Innovation (LTSI), along with the campus Student Society and library, is spearheading the open education resources (OER) movement at the university by offering publishing assistance and OER start-up grants to faculty members on campus, and alleviating the financial pressure for students so they can focus on their studies. Read More >>
HOT OFF THE PRESS
Each edition, we highlight an interesting, new, openly-licensed resource
James Cook University released “A Long Goodbye: Ed and Mary’s Journey with Lewy Body Dementia”, a book centred around the touching journal of a husband, Ed, documenting his wife Mary’s rapid mental and physical decline after being diagnosed with Lewy body dementia (LBD). It is the first book to be launched on JCU Library’s Pressbooks platform, a key element in the Library’s ongoing Open Education Initiative.
Great reads to repost or share and interesting discussions to consider
Great to Share >>
Professors, look for more affordable textbook options | The Temple News
Letter: Rising textbook prices serve as a choke point for students’ success | The Massachusetts Daily Collegian
Opinion/Letter: Textbooks too costly; use technology instead | The Daily Progress
Interesting to Consider >>
How Open Educational Resources Can Boost Equity in the Wake of the Pandemic | Education Post
The OER Digest is a public newsletter distributed to a broad group of stakeholders across the higher education community. Subscribe here.