[Open-education] The OER Digest - December 31, 2015

Ethan Senack esenack at pirg.org
Thu Dec 31 21:16:13 UTC 2015

*WRAPPING UP: *It's December 31st! To commemorate the holiday, we're 
adding a special section to today's digest: *The Year In Review*; and, 
in next digest: *The Year Ahead*. Check it out below, and as always, 
thanks for your continued interest, your feedback, and all the tips 
you've sent our way. Hope your holidays have been great, and we'll see 
you again in 2016.

By Ethan Senack, Student PIRGs | Volume 6 | December 31, 2015
/With help from Cable Green, Nicole Allen, Sarah Cohen, and others/

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

*RULEMAKING RESULTS: *The comment deadline has passed for the Department 
of Education's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking 
on openly licensing educational materials funded by their direct 
competitive grants. In total, 147 comments were submitted (though some 
represented multiple organizations, like this coalition letter 
Comments represented a wide range of opinions, and both ends of the 
spectrum in terms of support for the proposed rule. OER advocates 
submitted a variety of straightforward, merit-based arguments, and 
offered significant technical advice in response to the Department's 
implementation questions. As such, we're confident in the case presented 
for OER as we look forward to the final rule.

    SPECIAL PROPS: to Nicole Allen and Meredith Jacob for their work
    organizing the community around the rule.

*LABOR, TOO: *The Department of Labor just announced that intellectual 
property developed under their competitive grants will be licensed under 
CC BY. This announcement codifies DOL's longtime leadership at the 
program level, where they required open licenses on multiple grants 
before enacting this agency-wide policy. Hopefully, the policy gives the 
Department of Education more momentum to finalize their own strong rule.

    READ MORE: Labor's notice in the federal register
    about the change.

*REPORT - OER IN K-12: *K12 HandHelds just released a report on 
"adoption and implementation of K-12 core instructional materials, and 
business models for the successful and sustainable publishing of such 
open educational resource (OER) materials." Check it out, it's an 
interesting read. 

*It's Thursday, December 31st*. Ethan Senack here. Happy New Year's Eve! 
Here's to starting 2016 off right. Don't forget to send tips, updates, 
opportunities, and feedback to @HigherEdPIRG or esenack at pirg.org with 
the subject "OER DIGEST".

/Some of the biggest policy steps we took in 2015/

*LAUNCHING #GoOPEN*: The Department of Education announced 
the launch of #GoOpen, a campaign to encourage states, school districts 
and educators to use openly licensed educational materials. The campaign 
includes transitioning 10 "Future Ready" classrooms to OER, partnerships 
with major technology companies to develop OER integration tools, and a 
commitment to pursuing open licensing on grant-funded materials.

*STAFFING UP:* The Department of Education also announced 
the creation of a new "Special Advisor on Open Education" - a role 
filled by ed tech champion Andy Marcinek. Andy will be working to 
connect K-12 and higher ed with OER and public domain materials.
**TWO DEPARTMENT RULES:* As mentioned above, in a final rule this month, 
the Department of Labor included CC BY licensing on materials produced 
by their grants, and the Department of Education is in the midst of a 
Rulemaking cycle to determine their own open licensing policy.
**OPEN GOVERNMENT PLAN:* The White House released their third Open 
Government Partnership National Action Plan 
The plan, which includes dozens of commitments to transparency and 
openness by the government, also includes a strong commitment to open 
education and open access to research. The plan specifies three general 
activities the government will take to advance open education: openly 
license more Federal grant-supported education materials, convene 
stakeholders, and publish best practices for agencies.
**AFFORDABLE TEXTBOOK ACT*: Senators Durbin (D-IL), Franken (D-MN) and 
King (I-ME) 
along with Congressmen Hinojosa (D-TX) and Polis (D-CO) 
introduced federal legislation to support OER adoption and development 
on college campuses. The Affordable College Textbook Act would establish 
a federal grant program to fund OER development, adaption, and 
professional development. To highlight the bill, Senators Durbin and 
Franken joined advocates on a press call for campus journalists and 
national reporters. The press call generated almost 100 media hits 
discussing the bill and OER.
**ELEMENTARY AND OER:* Congress passed a bipartisan bill to reauthorize 
the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. 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.

*STATE CHAMPIONS*: The states of Oregon, Connecticut, and California all 
passed legislation regarding OER this year. Between them, these three 
states are putting over a million dollars behind OER, supporting 
adaptation, creation, professional development, and training. 
Massachusetts and Texas, among others, have pending OER legislation as 

*OPEN POLICY MEETING:* The White House Office of Science and Technology 
Policy co-hosted an "Inter-Agency Open Policy Workshop" with the 
Department of Education. Dozens of agencies were represented, and staff 
heard from OER advocates on the impact of open licensing, how the 
federal government can benefit, and what can be done.

*OER-USA UP AND RUNNING:* It's been a banner year for OER policy, and 
we've got plenty to look forward to next year. A new home for organizing 
around US OER policy came online this year with the launch of the OER 
USA coalition. Their first action? Organizing more than 100 
organizations to submit a letter to President Obama calling for a 
commitment to open licensing. See it here> 

/A brief snapshot of those making change on the ground level, and those 
most impacted /
_*THEY GROW UP FAST: *At the close of 2015, the Open Textbook Network 
<http://research.cehd.umn.edu/open/open-textbook-network/> is 
celebrating membership that extends across a 100 campuses nationwide. 
They'll be holding workshops this Spring at campuses in Washington, 
Ohio, Kansas, Oregon, and Pennsylvania, and more.  They also recently 
added the 200th book to the Open Textbook Library 
<http://open.umn.edu/opentextbooks/>, with new additions from Open SUNY, 
University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing, University of Wisconsin - 
Milwaukee, and Portland State University in foreign languages, math, 
science, and business. The faculty reviews they generated from their 
fall campus visits will be added in the new year. It's been a tremendous 
year of growth for the OTN and they appreciate the leadership and hard 
work of their members in bringing open textbooks to campus.

*THE PRICE TO PAY: *"...If you aren’t financially able to buy the access 
code, you can’t do your homework and that’s a bunch of your grade that 
you’re losing. I think it’s a terrible idea because you’re pretty much 
paying for your grade," from a student at Drexel University. Read More> 

/Want//your story featured? Email it to esenack at pirg.org./

/Quick, Interesting Reads /

*California-based University of the People planning collaboration with 
India* | The Economic Times

(/This dialogue/) *Open Access and Academic Freedom *| Inside Higher Ed
**Student presents legislation designed to help others* | York Dispatch

*Law schools lag behind on open source law* | OpenSource.com
**State Lawmakers Pledge to Continue Support for Affordable College 
Education* | Suburban Times

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

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