[Open-education] The OER Digest - October 6th, 2016

OER Digest oerdigest at gmail.com
Thu Oct 6 14:28:05 UTC 2016

>From Ethan Senack, Student PIRGs | Volume 16 | October 6th, 2016

With help from Brady Yano and Austin Beck


Your bi-weekly newsletter for open education updates, opportunities, and

SMALL STATE, BIG ACTION: Last week, Rhode Island became the latest state to
launch an effort to address rising textbook costs through the use of OER.
Governor Gina Raimondo announced a challenge for the state’s higher
education institutions to save students $5 million over 5 years through the
use of OER. The Rhode Island Open Textbook Initiative
<http://www.innovate.ri.gov/open> includes support from 7 higher education
institutions in the state. SPARC and the Open Textbook Network have both
signed on as partners to support institutions as they work to meet the
challenge through expanded OER adoption.

STAX OF CASH: The open textbook publisher OpenStax announced
last week that more than 1.5 million students have used their free
textbooks. The numbers? OpenStax founder Richard Baraniuk sums it up best:
“More than 811,000 students are using our books this fall, which is a 106
percent increase over spring 2016, and the books are being used in over
4,500 courses at 2,688 universities, colleges and high schools.” The
Rice-based publisher also announced that they expect students using their
books to save a collective $70 million in the ‘16-’17 school year.

NEW ENGLAND GOES OPEN: School leaders across the New England region went to
Amazon’s Boston offices to attend the #GoOpen summit hosted by North
Reading Public Schools on Sept. 23rd. They had a jam-packed day as they
networked and learned about the #GoOpen campaign, the basics of OER,
implementing OER in classrooms, and scaling OER across the district. OER
community leaders led many of the sessions, and participants had the chance
to meet with many different education vendors. Kristina Peters and Andrew
Marcinek, current and former #GoOpen leaders at the Department of
Education, also spoke.

RUTGERS GETS ROLLING: The new Open and Affordable Textbook Project
<http://www.ecampusnews.com/news/rutgers-open-textbook/2/> at Rutgers
University in New Jersey launched this week, with a goal of saving students
$500,000 in its first year. $1,000 grants will be made available to 12
different groups at the three main Rutgers campuses and Biomedical branch,
and more than 100 faculty have already expressed interest in the program.
Librarians and students are leading the charge.

controversy around CalState Fullerton Professor Alain Bourget last school
year, when he assigned a cheaper textbook and OER to his class in place of
the Department-required book and was reprimanded by the university. Last
week, the Orange County Weekly looks at the fallout
in a feature-length story on Professor Bourget and the Cal State Fullerton
Math Department and where they are now.

suggests a link between funding for K-12 textbooks and student performance.
Conducted by a researcher at the American Institutes for Research, found
that students at California schools with additional funding for textbooks
tend to perform better on state reading and math tests than those at
schools with less textbook funding. The study points to textbook shortages
caused by lack of adequate funding in an era when prices are rising
rapidly. These findings reinforce the opportunity to leverage OER to
provide better materials to all students at a lower cost, and thereby
reduce inequities caused by access to materials.

B.C. STRATEGIES: BCcampus hosted an Open Education Strategy Forum
this week, bringing together leaders from B.C. post-secondary institutions
to engage in conversations about strategic approaches to integrate Open
Education practices to improve quality of education.


Conferences, jobs, and other OER-related opportunities

DEADLINE: The Call for Proposals for the Open Education Global 2017
Conference closes this month. Submissions are due Oct. 17th.

EVENT: International Open Access Week is coming up later this month,
October 24-30. Events are happening around the world.

EVENT: The 13th Annual OpenEd conference is next month, November 2-4.

EVENT: RSVP <http://openedconference.org/2016/> now to attend OpenCon Live
<http://www.opencon2016.org/live>, the live webcast of OpenCon 2016 this
November 12-14. http://www.opencon2016.org/live

JOB: The Open Education Consortium is looking for a Communications Manager.
This is a part-time position and the closing date is October 10, 2016.


A brief snapshot of those making change on the ground level, and those most

FROM BRITISH COLUMBIA: “Carson Varney’s responsibilities include a
two-year-old son, with another child expected soon, and rent payments, all
while attending Camosun College. It makes the $600 to $1,000 he saves in a
year through British Columbia’s Open Textbook Project that much more
important.” Read more>

FROM OKLAHOMA: “We can’t, as an academic institution, afford to have
students foregoing access to information simply because a company has to
turn a profit,” said Cody Taylor, an emerging technologies librarian who
helps with the project. “OER is important because of the students who would
otherwise, without it, go without access to that information. It’s just
something we can’t afford to see happen.” Read more>


Rhode Island Governor @GinaRaimondo, Sep 27
<https://twitter.com/GinaRaimondo/status/780781224591630336>: You might
have $1,200+ of books in your $40 backpack. This initiative will put $5
million back in students’ pockets http://bit.ly/2cIiaE0


Interesting Reads on Education and Open

Pressing the Reset Button on OER | Education Week


The U of O should prioritize open textbooks | The Fulcrum


>From Silos to Sharing: Why Are OER Still So Hard to Find? | EdSurge


Curriki Debuts New Tools to Help Teachers Find Open Resources | T.H.E.


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