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Showing posts from July, 2018

Free and open source software for public health information systems in India

This report builds on the proceedings of the workshop, “Free and Open Source Software and Standards for Public Health Information Systems in India: Making them work by bridging the policy-practice gap”, organised in Delhi in February 2017 by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), with technical inputs from University of Oslo, Norway. The workshop explored the opportunities, challenges, experiences and strategies in applying FOSS (free and open source software) for strengthening public health information systems in India. https://www.orfonline.org/research/42617-free-and-open-source-software-for-public-health-information-systems-in-india/

UT System and Texas Association of Community Colleges task force recommends improved coordination, accessibility for dual credit courses - Houston Chronicle

Specifically, the report recommends: Creating equity goals to address dual enrollment access, eligibility, enrollment and participation gaps among identified student populations and geographic areas; Sharing Higher Education Coordinating Board and Texas Education Agency data to help school districts and higher education institutions better identify and measure gaps in opportunity and achievement; Providing incentives to higher education institutions to use open educational resources that would eliminate or reduce the cost of college textbooks; https://www.chron.com/neighborhood/bellaire/schools/article/UT-System-and-Texas-Association-of-Community-13091632.php

The Open Source Initiative: Worth the Hype? - Michael Bonderud, Now

The benefits of open source for tech advancement are substantial. Hopefully, emerging support from industry leaders like Facebook and Google should help jump-start other open-source projects, while work such as Northrop Grumman’s Cync program helps cybersecurity startups get access to the advanced resources they need to change the market. It’s not ubiquitous yet, but 20 years on, the OSI is making good progress and open-source tech is gaining ground as viable, reliable corporate IT groundwork. http://now.northropgrumman.com/the-open-source-initiative-worth-the-hype/

Here’s how to get free textbooks (and possibly improve your grade) at University of South Carolina - LUCAS DAPRILE, The State

As the cost of college continues to increase, a growing number of University of South Carolina students may be able to save money by getting their textbooks for free. Free digital textbooks — which academics call Open Educational Resources, or OERs — can help reduce the $1,000 USC students and $1,346 Clemson University students pay every year for books and supplies. At least 24 professors in seven different colleges at USC offer OER textbooks for their students online, free of charge, said USC Librarian Aimee Freeman. Clemson offers a similar program, according to its website. https://www.thestate.com/news/local/education/article215034630.html

University of British Columbia: Recognizing Open in Promotion and Tenure - Brady Yano, Daniel Munro, and Amanda Coolidge; Educause Review

Last year, the University of British Columbia (UBC) made a giant leap in the support of open education: the inclusion of language recognizing open educational resources (OER) in the institution's "Guide to Reappointment, Promotion and Tenure Procedures at UBC." Driven by effective student government advocacy, this change highlights the importance of tenure and promotion as a way for institutions to incentivize open practices and will hopefully provide a model for others to follow. https://er.educause.edu/blogs/2018/7/university-of-british-columbia-recognizing-open-in-promotion-and-tenure

Expert seeks growth of open resources - The Nation

To make Open Education Resources (OER) readily available, President and CEO of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Prof Asha Kanwar, has called for production of online learning materials by learners and even people outside the academic environment. In her keynote address at the International Conference on Open and Innovative Education in Hong Kong, Kanwar said global trends were moving in that direction. http://thenationonlineng.net/expert-seeks-growth-of-open-resources/

UB research lab studies how university courses can be more ‘open’ - CHARLES ANZALONE, U Buffalo

“What makes an educational resource ‘open’ is that it is licensed to not only be free, but it can also be modified or changed by anyone, and then redistributed afterward.” The Graduate School of Education has joined the SUNY-wide effort to reduce the costs of higher education by launching an Open Education Research Lab dedicated to replacing high-priced textbooks and other costly materials by studying the use of open or free educational materials that can be downloaded, edited or shared. “Open educational resources (OER) have all the advantages of a Wikipedia, another open resource, but are designed specifically for students and instructors to use in their courses,” according to Sam Abramovich, director of UB’s Open Education Research Lab and assistant professor in the Graduate School of Education. http://www.buffalo.edu/ubnow/stories/2018/07/open-educational-resources.html

Cengage Contributes Openly Licensed Content to OER Community

Cengage, an education and technology company, is contributing the narrative content for three openly licensed textbooks, as well as the learning objectives and assessments for 12 course areas as Open Educational Resources (OER). The Creative Commons Attribution licensed (CC BY) narrative content and the learning objectives are available to download from the Cengage website where content can be accessed as editable files without a required login or purchase. The CC BY licensed assessments are available via editable files with an instructor login. http://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/cengage-contributes-openly-licensed-content-to-oer-community-1027371123

Open educational resources have saved students millions of dollars, but can they also improve students’ grades? - Lindsay McKenzie, Inside Higher Ed

A large-scale study at the University of Georgia has found that college students provided with free course materials at the beginning of a class get significantly better academic results than those that do not. The Georgia study, published this week, compared the final grades of students enrolled in eight large undergraduate courses between 2010 and 2016. Each of these courses was taught by a professor who switched from a commercial textbook costing $100 or more to a free digital textbook, or open educational resource, at some point during that six-year period. https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/article/2018/07/16/measuring-impact-oer-university-georgia

Curriculum Provider Loses Court Fight With FedEx Over Copying ‘Open’ Materials - Sean Cavanagh, EdWeek

A federal appeals court has ruled against a curriculum company in its battle to force FedEx to compensate it for copying reams of its academic resources for use by schools, in a closely watched case among supporters of “open” educational resources. The nonprofit curriculum provider Great Minds creates and distributes open resources, or materials developed on licenses that allow them to be freely shared, repurposed, and remixed by schools. But it had argued that the copying FedEx has done on behalf of schools went too far, and that the office-supply and delivery behemoth was improperly profiting from Great Minds’ labor. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit disagreed, rejecting Great Minds’ argument in a March ruling and affirming an earlier decision of a federal court. Great Minds asked for a re-hearing, but was denied. https://marketbrief.edweek.org/marketplace-k-12/curriculum-provider-loses-court-fight-fedex-copying-open-materials/

LBW helps students save book costs - Andalusia Star-News

LBW Community College students are experiencing financial savings as more courses are converted from typical textbook usage to open education resources (OER). “A few years ago, our mathematics faculty successfully redesigned several basic math courses using OER material, saving students more than $300,000 on average each year they would have paid for required textbooks and computer codes,” said LBWCC President Herb Riedel. “Now, as we convert more and more courses in academic transfer and technical training, the cost savings will continue to climb.” https://www.andalusiastarnews.com/2018/07/10/lbw-helps-students-save-book-costs/

https://edscoop.com/the-evolution-of-educational-publishing-do-we-have-an-oer-quality-problem - Mike Silagadze, edScoop

There are still many barriers to widespread adoption. A primary hurdle is that many professors are still skeptical of using free online content because they’re concerned about whether it’s of high quality. Additionally, OER often takes the form of static PDFs, which can be difficult to find online, it's challenging to customize for a specific course, and it lacks the feedback mechanism needed to ensure quality and share with the education community. The OER movement continues to be fueled by a passionate community of educators who are committed to finding solutions to these challenges, and it’s starting to gain momentum in higher education. On the question of access, nonprofits such as OpenStax and OER Commons are helping to make these materials more widely available and easy to find; and some big publishers are sharing OER on their platforms (though they’re making it available for a cost to access this “free” content). What’s more, OER advocates recently came together to create a…

The Impact of Open Educational Resources on Various Student Success Metrics - Nicholas B. Colvard & C. Edward Watson, ISETL

There are multiple indicators which suggest that completion, quality, and affordability are the three greatest challenges for higher education today in terms of students, student learning, and student success. Many colleges, universities, and state systems are seeking to adopt a portfolio of solutions that address these challenges. This article reports the results of a large-scale study (21,822 students) regarding the impact of course-level faculty adoption of Open Educational Resources (OER). Results indicate that OER adoption does much more than simply save students money and address student debt concerns. OER improve end-of-course grades and decrease DFW (D, F, and Withdrawal letter grades) rates for all students. They also improve course grades at greater rates and decrease DFW rates at greater rates for Pell recipient students, part-time students, and populations historically underserved by higher education. OER address affordability, completion, attainment gap concerns, and lear…

What's Being Done to Curb the Cost of College Textbooks - WWNY

Another alternative to curbing the cost of textbook is what's known as an Open Educational Resource or an OER. Its essentially like an online textbook with online resources built by professors. "They can take content that has been created by somebody else and remixed it and put it together in a way they want it," said Carleen Huxley, coordinator of library instruction at JCC. "They can add to it and then create their own content themselves." SUNY is using $4 million to try to curb the cost of textbooks by creating OERs for high enrollment general education courses, which makes it so a student doesn't need to buy a textbook. It's online for free. http://www.wwnytv.com/story/38596616/whats-being-done-to-curb-the-cost-of-college-textbooks

Open source plays vital role in scientific advances - Marilyn De Villiers, IT Web

While the open source movement initially came into being as a way to "democratise" software development, it is now playing an increasingly important role in the development of cutting edge technologies in a wide range of non-IT fields, including medicine and science. For example, researchers from Chile, who have just been awarded the 2018 PLOS Open Source Toolkit Channel Prize, relied heavily on open source software and hardware for the development of a low-cost fluorescent imaging system. https://www.itweb.co.za/content/DZQ58MVJOYmMzXy2

Technology profoundly impacts the opportunity gap - Daniel Shaw, Iowa State Daily

One possible solution to the opportunity gap is technology. However, technology is somewhat controversial because it has notable pros and cons. Technology has the potential to bridge the opportunity gap with many of the Open Education Resources (OER) available online today. According to the Hewlett Foundation, Open Educational Resources “are high-quality teaching, learning, and research materials that are free for people everywhere to use and repurpose.” A common OER used by students is Khan Academy. Khan Academy is a nonprofit educational organization that offers a variety of free online courses and test prep. http://www.iowastatedaily.com/opinion/article_17ba72c4-81a4-11e8-b619-1ffe5e9fe9c0.html

CSU Channel Islands to offer two textbook-free majors and has plans for more - Alexa D'Angelo, Ventura County Star

Paying for textbooks can be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel’s back for some college students. On top of tuition and living expenses, affording costly books for each class is a burden students would happily opt out of. Now, they can. At CSU Channel Islands, educators worked to develop two “Z-Majors,” which are majors that use quality, free and readily available educational resources as opposed to textbooks. The courses directly related to the major don’t require the student to purchase a textbook. That doesn’t eliminate the need for some textbooks in elective or general education courses, but leaders say it’s a start. https://www.vcstar.com/story/news/education/2018/07/07/csu-channel-islands-offer-textbook-free-majors-fall/738949002/

Mid Michigan textbook program helps students save - Midland Daily News

The OER effort began at Mid Michigan in 2016, and was championed by several faculty members. OER coordination is now currently housed in the Online Learning department of the Academic Affairs division. OER efforts at Mid have saved students over $233,000 in textbook costs since they began. The winter semester of 2018 resulted in the largest savings total yet for students, totaling $93,700. OER is now active in speech, Spanish, psychology, astronomy, and sociology courses. https://www.ourmidland.com/news/article/Mid-Michigan-textbook-program-nbsp-helps-students-13055925.php

Between Publishers and OER, FlatWorld Cuts a Third Path in the Textbook Market - Henry Kronk, eLearning Inside

In the past few months, eLearning Inside has run several stories on the exorbitantly high cost of traditional college textbooks, some cost saving measures traditional publishers have taken, and OER (openly licensed educational resources). The company FlatWorld started as an OER provider. But since it was acquired by Alastair Adam and John Eielson in 2016, they have been exploring another avenue in textbook sales. On paper, they look a lot like a traditional textbook publisher. They hold on to the copyrights of their textbooks, sign authors on contract, and include a suite of educational supplements, such as quizzes and homework, with their products. Over 4,000 professors have used their products in the classroom. And with its history, the company offers a unique view into the textbook publishing sector. https://news.elearninginside.com/oer-flatworld-textbook-market/

Advancing GEOINT Capability Through Open Source Integration at the GEOINT and Open Source Analytics Summit - Defense Strategies institute

The 2018 GEOINT and Open Source Analytics Summit will focus on techniques and resources aimed at integrating open source technologies into today’s GEOINT landscape. This educational summit will engage US military commands, government agencies, and technology providers in a town-hall forum to highlight the impact of open source data combined with sensitive information to develop a holistic GEOINT picture. https://www.pr.com/press-release/758363

Students saving on books at HCCC - Edward Harris, Utica Observer-Dispatch

Officials at Herkimer County Community College estimate that students have saved close to $1 million over the last three years thanks to open educational resources. Open educational resources include items that are in the public domain, including textbooks, articles, videos and more. The items are free but can cost money if the items are printed. These items replace the traditional books students would purchase at the college bookstore. “This really enhances student success,” said Bill Pelz, a professor at HCCC. http://www.uticaod.com/news/20180703/students-saving-on-books-at-hccc/1

FlatWorld Survey Highlights Professors’ Price Sensitivity When Evaluating College Textbooks

FlatWorld received responses from 139 professors across more than a dozen academic fields. Approximately 70% of the respondents were from four-year colleges, and 30% from two-year colleges.  The results shed light on a variety of criteria that professors use to evaluate textbooks, concerns about open education resources, and a continued demand for print in an increasingly digital world.  “Professors are keenly aware that the prices of many textbooks on the market today are simply absurd,” said Alastair Adam, co-CEO of FlatWorld. “They want to use high quality textbooks, but also realize that assigning a textbook with an exorbitant price tag will result in much of their class searching for outdated editions, or simply not buying the textbook.  http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/Digest/FlatWorld-Survey-Shows-How-Professors-Evaluate-Textbooks-125959.asp http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/Digest/FlatWorld-Survey-Shows-How-Professors-Evaluate-Textbooks-125959.asp

San Jacinto College Students Get Free Online Textbooks and ‘Aid Like a Paycheck’ - Tiffany Pennamon, Diverse Ed

As a contender for the 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, San Jacinto College’s efforts around student success have gone beyond the traditional means of access, affordability and completion. Through the Pasadena, Texas-based school’s Open Educational Resources (OER) program and the “Aid like a Paycheck” program, San Jac students have saved nearly $1.5 million in textbook costs. The college also has reduced student loan default rates and increased student retention each semester. http://diverseeducation.com/article/119065/

European Open Education Librarian Network launches - Sparc Europe

On 28 June 2018, the first meeting of the European Open Education Librarian Network convened. Participants from Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Spain, the Netherlands and the UK met to discuss a number of key goals, primary among them, how libraries can partner with educators to open up more education for all in Europe. The network will apply the policy, action and lessons learned from Open Access and Open Science to Open Education while also working on OE policy, advocacy and implementation. https://sparceurope.org/european-open-education-librarian-network-launches/

OEC Announces New Sustaining Member, CUNY - Susan Huggins, Open Education Conortium

The Open Education Consortium (OEC) is pleased to announce the addition of a new sustaining member, The City University of New York (CUNY). As the global open education leader, OEC welcomes CUNY to the network of educational institutions and organizations that provide advocacy and leadership around the advancement of open education. CUNY’s Office of Library Services (OLS) leads the effort at three community colleges to transform degree programs through Achieving the Dream’s OER Degree Initiative. All the courses in the degree pathways have been redesigned to replace traditional commercial textbooks with open educational resources. http://www.oeconsortium.org/2018/06/oec-announces-new-sustaining-member-cuny/

Top 4 Reasons for Inflated Prices of College Textbooks - SERGEI PRAKAPOVICH, Baltimore Post-Examiner

Educational expenses have inflated manifold in the past decades. A larger number of students are opting for college loans to bear the educational expenses. In the past years not only the college tuition fee has increased but also the prices of college textbooks and other materials have immensely increased. In this article, we have shed some light on the reasons of inflated prices of textbooks. They are: http://baltimorepostexaminer.com/top-4-reasons-for-inflated-prices-of-college-textbooks/2018/06/26

Ten Facts About Open Educational Resources (OERs)

Contact North has created this summary infographic on ten key facts about OER. Each fact links to additional readings and resources. This is a great ready reference on Open Educational Resources. https://teachonline.ca/sites/default/files/tools-trends/downloads/ten_facts_aboutopen_educational_resources.pdf

Liberty University cuts costs with free textbooks for undergraduate online students

This fall, the university is taking its commitment to affordability a step further by providing digital books and instructional materials free of charge to online undergraduate students enrolled in online undergraduate courses. The change affects over 700 courses and is expected to save full-time online students up to $975 a year. Across the university’s online program, the total cost savings could exceed $12.2 million. “We know from student surveys that the expenses associated with textbooks create challenges for them,” said Connie Allison, executive director of the Center for Academic Development at Liberty. “The costs may cause them to take fewer courses, buy older editions, or even wait to get their materials weeks into the course. Providing free textbooks will not only reduce their costs but also will ensure that they have access to their materials on day one of the class.” http://www.liberty.edu/news/index.cfm?PID=18495&MID=279872

Lakeshore Technical College combats skyrocketing textbook costs - Paul Carlsen, USA TODAY NETWORK

According to a January 2018 piece by Kathy Kristof for CBS Moneywatch, the average cost of college textbooks has risen four times faster than the rate of inflation over the past 10 years. To put this into perspective, if you paid $100 for a textbook in 2008, that same textbook would cost you more than $180 today. If the typical full-time student takes eight courses a year, that’s an additional $640 in annual college expenses, which bring no additional educational value. That is crazy. It is estimated 65 percent of students nationwide did not buy textbooks at some point in college because they couldn’t afford them. While the national statistics are staggering, closer to home, we are even more concerned. https://www.htrnews.com/story/opinion/2018/06/22/lakeshore-technical-college-manitowoc-wisconsin-combats-skyrocketing-textbook-costs-paul-carlsen/724900002/

University of Mississippi Instructor Wins Blackboard Catalyst Award - University of Mississippi

Watkins used Open Educational Resources and new technology to modify his Writing 102 online Blackboard course to replace traditional textbooks and increase student engagement. Open Educational Resources reduce student expenses by eliminating or reducing textbook costs. He received grants from Z-Degree Mississippi and Academic Outreach (formerly called Online Design and eLearning) to develop an online resource through Lumen Learning and help students use innovative techniques to navigate digital spaces. https://news.olemiss.edu/university-mississippi-instructor-wins-blackboard-catalyst-award/

A-State to Increase Use of Free Textbooks by Partnering with OpenStax - Fox 16

Arkansas State University today announces it is one of nine schools chosen to participate in the 2018-2019 OpenStax Institutional Partnership Program to encourage use of free, peer-reviewed textbooks on campus. A-State was chosen to participate in this strategic partnership with OpenStax after a rigorous application process that included demonstrating willingness to drive adoption of open educational resources (OER). "I used an free, open, and online textbook in my Introduction to Sociology class this past semester, just as I have done for last five years," commented Dr. Kelly Damphousse, chancellor. "My students have the option of purchasing a very inexpensive version of the book or to download the book, for free, to their phone or other device. I believe that these kinds of textbooks increase the likelihood of student success in the classroom." https://www.fox16.com/news/education/a-state-to-increase-use-of-free-textbooks-by-partnering-with-openstax/1249400802