[Open-education] The OER Digest - December 17, 2015

Ethan Senack esenack at pirg.org
Thu Dec 17 17:45:44 UTC 2015

By Ethan Senack, Student PIRGs | Volume 5 | December 17, 2015
/With help from Reg Leichty, Mary Lou Forward, Nicole Allen, and others/

* Your tip sheet for U.S. OER updates, opportunities, and reminders

*STEP UP FOR OPEN: *Not long ago, the Department of Education issued a 
Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 
(NPRM) around their interest in openly licensing educational materials 
funded by their direct competitive grants. Now, it's crunch time. 
Comments to the Department are due by the end of the day _tomorrow, 
Friday 12/18_. We know they've received a number of comments both in 
support of the proposal and against it, so if you haven't taken the 
opportunity to tell the Department how you feel, this is your chance. 
Every bit of feedback will help ensure they adopt the strongest possible 
policy, so we encourage you to consider weighing in.*


      * Join this brief coalition comment in support of the rule>
        <https://goo.gl/oJAC7k> (deadline: Friday, 11:00am ET)

      * Check out these helpful resources
        and submit your own comments here>
        Friday, 11:59pm ET)

ELEMENTARY, SUCCESS:* Congress has passed, and the President has signed, 
a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education 
Act. The bill update became due in 2007, and lawmakers have been working 
on the draft since 2010, so it's long overdue. Besides significant 
changes to the No Child Left Behind policy era, the bill also includes a 
new OER provision in the multi-billion dollar State Support and Academic 
Enrichment Grant program. Looking forward, states may use that funding 
to support districts in making instructional content available as OER.
OPEN AND DEVELOPMENT: *The mission of the Organization for Economic 
Cooperation and Development is to promote policies that will improve the 
economic and social well-being of people around the world. Earlier this 
month, they released a new report titled /Open Educational Resources: A 
Catalyst for Innovation/ 
Here's a key quote from their blog 

    "In the end, perhaps OER will be one of the most significant and
    substantive ways that technology will transform teaching and learning.

STATE OF THE COMMONS: **Creative Commons has released their second 
annual /State of the Commons/ 
<https://stateof.creativecommons.org/2015/?utm_campaign=SOTClaunch&utm_medium=social&utm_source=tw_20151208> report, 
which finds that over 1.1 billion CC licensed works have now been 
contributed to the shared global commons, up from 140 million in 2006.
OPEN ED WEEK:* Coming up in the new year, from March 7-11. The Open 
Education Week Planning Committee "invites your contributions 
<http://www.openeducationweek.org/call-for-participation/> to and 
participation in the annual Open Education Week, featuring online and 
in-person events around the world. You decide how you will participate: 
host a local event, give a webinar, submit a video about your open 
education work, use the week to highlight the benefits of open 
education, get creative and try something new!"

*STAFF CHANGES AT ED:* Rich Culatta, Director of EdTech at the 
Department of Education, announced 
that he's stepping down this month. Rich was a staunch supporter of open 
education during his tenure, and he'll be missed. Deputy Director Joseph 
South will serve as acting director - also a champ of open education. 
The change comes in parallel with Secretary Arne Duncan's retirement and 
John King moving into that role.

*A NEW CLASS OF FELLOWS:* The Open Policy Network just announced 
16 new fellows to carry the open policy torch - including one from the US.

*It's Thursday, December 17th*. Ethan Senack here. We're back, after a 
brief hiatus for Thanksgiving. It's 60 degrees in DC, and I'm bummed. 
Coming from New England, it's just not the holidays if it's not freezing 
outside. Don't forget to send any tips, updates, opportunities, and 
feedback to @HigherEdPIRG or esenack at pirg.org with the subject "OER 

/A brief snapshot of those making change on the ground level, and those 
most impacted /
_*#GoOPEN IN PROFILE: *The Affton School District in south St. Louis 
County is one of 10 school systems across the country taking part in the 
Department of Education’s #GoOpen. Robert Dillon, director of 
innovation, said the prospect of allowing teacher to mix and match the 
best materials for students could be a game changer in the classroom. “I 
think the open education movement has the opportunity to bring the best 
resources to all kids, especially those students that may be in schools 
that are struggling to succeed,” Dillon said. He added that the current 
model of a district buying a textbook every five years is outdated. 
“We’re in a time and place where that cycle has to be shorter, and the 
only way to do that is with open resources.” Read the article> 
_*A PROGRAM THAT'S WORKING: *The OER project at North Shore Community 
College was launched by a campus "Vision Fund Innovation Grant" for 
$5000. The idea? Bring together resources on campus to help faculty 
identify OER for their classes. Thirty faculty attended the first 
summit, with ten formally applying to participate in the first semester, 
and five more in the second. These faculty receive a $600 “Tech Across 
the Curriculum” grant and are matched with an advisor from the 
Instructional Design Lab and a librarian, to work on replacing their 
texts with OER or other affordable alternatives. And while the 15 
faculty are formally have saved students a modest $20,000, many others 
on campus are now following their lead - expanding into OER and working 
to get special notation for OER-based courses in the catalog.

/Have a story you'd like featured? Email it to esenack at pirg.org./

* *Bookstore or College Store: Building a Relationship* | From the Bell 

*Sharing the Benefits of Open Educational Resources with Everyone* | 
Hewlett Foundation Blog

**Free, open-source textbooks are catching on at colleges* | Orange 
County Register

*U Georgia Nears $2 million Mark in OER Savings *| Campus Technology

Ethan Senack
Higher Education Advocate
U.S. Public Interest Research Group
(202) 546-9707 x321

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