From Mo Nyamweya, SPARC | Volume 65 | September 6th, 2018
With updates from Nicole Allen, Dave Dillon, Nicole Finkbeiner, and Kaitlyn Vitez
THE OER DIGEST
Your bi-weekly newsletter for open education updates, opportunities, and reminders
FEDERAL POLICY UPDATE: Applications for the U.S. Department of Education’s Open Textbook Pilot grant program were due last week, and the 1-3 successful proposals are expected to be announced by the end of the month. Meanwhile, things are heating up on Capitol Hill as Congress enters final negotiations on the Fiscal Year 2019 education budget. Members of the OER community have been writing, calling, and tweeting elected officials to advocate renewal of the $5 million Open Textbook Pilot. Congressional champions circulated a letter recommending language that would also strengthen open licensing requirements, increase the number of potential awards, and lengthen the application window for future grants. Letters of support were also sent by SPARC and by student leaders organized by USPIRG. News on the outcome of these efforts could come as early as next week.
ZED CRED: Kwantlen Polytechnic University has introduced their second degree with zero textbook costs. Now, along with a certificate in arts, KPU has added their adult graduation diploma to the “Zed Cred” program. KPU’s adult education graduation program enables students to complete their grade 12 equivalency credits using open resources, eliminating a costly financial barrier for adult learners. BCcampus gave KPU a $35,000 grant to help run the program.
NEW OER SEARCH TOOL: SUNY Geneseo’s Milne Library has developed and launched a new search tool called OASIS (Openly Available Sources Integrated Search), which can access 52 different OER sources that contain more than 150,000 items. OASIS offers users the ability to search a range of materials, including textbooks, courses and corresponding materials, interactive simulations, public domain books, audiobooks, modules, open access books, videos and podcasts on a variety of topics. Users can also limit searches by license or by faculty review.
OER PLAYBOOK: Lumen Learning has released their OER Champion Playbook, which provides tips, how-tos, examples and tools intended to help OER leaders and advocates build effective OER initiatives. You can sign up here or access the Playbook directly here.
Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities
FELLOWSHIP: U.S. PIRG is seeking a higher education fellow to organize student governments in support of OER, among other higher education issues. Interested applicants (or current seniors who will graduate soon) can apply here.
REMINDER: SPARC is seeking help from the OER community to document the cumulative student savings through OER to present at the OpenEd Conference. The deadline to contribute data from your campus or project is September 26, and you can sign up through this form.
DUE SOON: MERLOT and the Online Learning Consortium are seeking proposals for the OLC Innovate conference on April 3rd-5th, 2019. This year’s theme is “Moving Mountains in Digital, Blended, and Online Learning.” Proposals are due by September 12th. Submit here.
STORIES FROM THE FIELD
Quick snapshots of those making change on the ground level, and those impacted
FROM LOUISIANA: With more professors switching from traditional textbooks to OER over the last year, students across the Louisiana Community and Technical College System saved $2.7 million. “It’s going to make teaching a little more efficient. Students can get it immediately. Now there’s no waiting. You get the resource the second you click on the link.” Read more >>>
#TEXTBOOKBROKE: Ontario post-secondary institutions have announced their own #textbookbroke campaign, hoping to highlight the devastating costs of textbooks. Students will use social media to encourage institutions, faculty, and governments to fund, adopt, or adapt OER. “eCampus Ontario has created an entire library of free options… We are asking instructors and institutions to use the library and remove the burden of textbooks from the backs of students, figuratively and literally.” Read more >>>
HOT OFF THE PRESS
Each edition, we’ll highlight an interesting, new, openly-licensed resource
Georgia Southwestern State University has released a set of ancillary materials for Experimental Psychology, created by Judy Orton Grissett. The materials include slide presentations, test banks, and online resources and they are intended to be used for psychology research methods courses.
Interesting Discussions and Strategic Reads to Repost or Share
Great to Share >>
What students should know about OER and why professors should use them | The Lantern
How to find, curate and assess OER | eSchool News
Interesting to Consider >>
4 Questions authors are asking about open textbooks | Text & Academic Authors Association
OpenStax partner schools expected to save students $17.4M on textbooks | Rice University
Outrage over university’s $999 online textbook | Inside Higher Ed
6 trends shaping the near and far future of higher ed | eCampus News
The questionable ethics of the textbook market | The Crow’s Nest
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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.