From Kaitlyn Vitez and Nick Sengstaken (USPIRG) | Volume 84 | June 27th, 2019
With updates from Ariela McCaffrey
THE OER DIGEST
Your bi-weekly newsletter for open education updates, opportunities, and reminders register
SUPPORTING LGBTQ+ STUDENTS: In celebration of Pride Month and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, we’re highlighting “Leveraging Open Educational Resources for Queer Students” by Sabia Prescott of the think tank New America. The series of blog posts outlines how OER can be the method in which LGBTQ+ curricula becomes recognized and easily distributed. According to Prescott, OER makes it possible for educators to “easily find the resources they need, tailor them to their students, and find guidance on how to use them.” She continues that “It’s especially critical that queer-inclusive content be updated frequently as our understanding of queer identities changes, and OER would allow teachers to do just that.”
STATE UPDATES: As state legislative sessions wrap up, many of the bills we’ve been tracking are being signed into law. In Florida, a bill was signed into law that would create a training program for university trustees to ensure the costs of university fees, textbooks, and instructional materials are minimized whenever possible. A new law in Illinois amends an older law which prohibited publishers or other retailers from selling K-12 textbooks unless certain requirements were met, particularly for special education. A bill was signed in Texas that would require K-12 school districts to provide printed alternatives for students who could not reliably access online materials at home. A bill creating the Connecticut OER Coordinating Council awaits signature.
ACKNOWLEDGING A PROBLEM: This month, digital content company and former open publisher FlatWorld released its second annual Textbook Affordability Study. The publication, which polled 786 faculty members at both two and four-year institutions across the country, found that 90% of faculty reported that textbook affordability is a problem at their institution but just 40% said that their school possessed a program aiming to reduce these costs. The study also detailed faculty distaste for two practices by publishers to push their products: 64% called inclusive access deals “totally” or generally” unacceptable, and more than half were unhappy with adoption incentives like department kickbacks or funding of student programs.
ATTRIBUTION DISPUTE: Open Up Resources and Illustrative Mathematics have resolved a disagreement regarding attribution of OUR’s middle school math curriculum. Illustrative Mathematics and their partners have agreed to revise their attribution, and both parties say they are satisfied with the deal.
Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities
OPPORTUNITY: Columbia Gorge Community College is searching for a Director of Library and Learning Commons. The full-time position, includes several responsibilities, including but not limited to the oversight of Open Educational Resources development. Read More >
RSVP NOW: On August 15th at 2pm EST/ 6pm UTC, Rebus Foundation is hosting an online discussion entitled “Adapting OER for your Unique Context.” ” RSVP Here >
STORIES FROM THE FIELD
Quick snapshots of those making change on the ground level, and those impacted
FROM OHIO: Students at the University of Cincinnati Clermont College are saving a tremendous amount of money every semester due to the adoption of open-source textbooks. According to Dean Jeff Bauer, a professor of business, “All students have the book on the first day of class, it saves them a lot of money, and the information can be accessed anywhere, anytime, without carrying around a heavy textbook.” Beyond that, he continues saying that “My teaching hasn’t changed; grades haven’t changed. The only thing that has changed is the amount of money students are spending on textbooks.” Read More >
FROM MINNESOTA: According to Minnesota University Bookstores Director Ross Rosati, buyback totals are down 70 percent from what they were five years ago with them falling from $430,000 in the 2018 fiscal year to just $174,000 as of June 2019. While the Bookstore claimed to pay 40-50 percent of the new retail price, students reported being offered as low as 2 percent of the original price. Read More >
FROM CONNECTICUT: Connecticut College has awarded ten grants for open educational resource projects for the 2019-2020 academic year. Nine OER grant recipients will adopt, adapt and implement open materials in their courses. One OER creation grant was awarded to Professor Derek Turner in the philosophy department, who is writing “Form and Content: An Introduction to Formal Logic.” Read More >
HOT OFF THE PRESS
Each edition, we’ll highlight an interesting, new, openly-licensed resource
Dr. Dan Allosso, an assistant professor of history at Bemidji State University, recently published an open textbook entitled “American Environmental History” as part of the Minnesota State OER Learning Circle. The new OER includes ancillary recorded lectures and 15 chapters detailing “how the environment of the Americas influenced the actions of people here and how people affected their environments, from prehistory to the present.” In the future, Allosso is planning to publish three additional textbooks about U.S. history, world history, and the history of high technology. Read More >
Interesting Discussions and Strategic Reads to Repost or Share
Great to Share >>
- It’s time we tear up our economics textbooks and start over | The Washington Post
Interesting to Consider >>
- Can a Health-Insurance Model Bring ‘Equitable Access’ to the Textbook Market? | The Chronicle of Higher Education
- Open Educational Resources: A Crash Course | VREPS
- How software is making textbooks obsolete | BestTechie
- KPU faculty describe their experiences with using open textbooks | Kwantlen Polytechnic University
- The undefined figure: Instructional designers in the open educational resource (OER) movement in higher education l Education and Informational Technologies
- A closer look at open educational resources l Cult of Pedagogy
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.