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Showing posts from February, 2019

MSU Denver receives state funding for OER - James Bofenkamp, MyMetMedia

MSU Denver earned one of the largest grants in the state to expand the utilization of Open Educational Resources on Feb. 7. The $60,000 grant was one of many distributed to colleges and universities throughout the state, with the goal of increasing ease of access to educational materials. The resources take the form of free online textbooks and supplemental materials. The grant will be used as part of a scheme to get professors to interact with OER and let them figure out if the free resources would be appropriate for their classes. “I personally, over nine semesters, have saved my students about $70,000 in my general chemistry class by using OpenStax,” said Emily Ragan, associate professor of chemistry and OER coordinator. OpenStax is a website which provides free access to online textbooks. https://www.mymetmedia.com/news/msu-denver-receives-state-funding-for-oer/

Open Educational Resources: The Budget-Friendly Future of Education - Arapahoe Pinnacle

Open Educational Resources (OER) are the next big thing in teaching and learning in Colorado. Our Student Government is working hard to bring this change to you, the students of Arapahoe Community College. These student representatives are working in alliance with Dr. Josie Mills, the Associate Vice President for Instruction at ACC and Lisa Chestnut, our Library Director, to us bring the latest in higher education class resources. https://arapahoenews.com/16647/latest-stories/open-educational-resources-the-budget-friendly-future-of-education/

Faculty save students $1.1 million on course materials - Haley Herfurth, University of Alabama Birmingham

In four semesters, 17 faculty members at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have invested time and energy on behalf of students, with substantial results. By creating their own online assets in Canvas, using rental textbooks or older editions, and identifying free online resources, faculty saved students more than $1 million on instructional materials. Or $1,176,330, to be exact. That is up from nearly $270,000 in fall 2017, when the first Affordable Instructional Materials (AIM) grants were awarded. https://www.uab.edu/news/campus/item/10154-faculty-save-students-1-1-million-on-course-materials

Professors launch free online PAX course textbook - Andrew Baxter, the Justice

Profs. Peter Gould PhD’02 (PAX) and John Ungerleider (PAX) held a launch for their free open-access textbook titled “The Inner Peace Outer Peace Reader” on Wednesday. The textbook contains a majority of the readings for the course Inner Peace and Outer Peace, which Gould and Ungerleider have taught every spring semester since 2010 as part of Brandeis’ Peace, Conflict & Coexistence Studies Program. “The Inner Peace Outer Peace Reader” is an open-educational resource, which is an online educational text that anyone can access for free. “It’s not just available to you, to this class,” Gould said. “Anybody anywhere in the world who hears about the class, who wants to delve a little more into the subjects of inner peace and outer peace … can find this book and go to it and use it for free.” https://www.thejustice.org/article/2019/01/brandeis-professors-launch-free-online-pax-course-textbook

Bill Gates: Textbooks are 'becoming obsolete'— here's the best way to learn today - Kathleen Elkins, CNBC

Self-made billionaire Bill Gates is an avid reader. He's known to go through about 50 books a year and reads everything from memoirs and meditation guides to deep dives on autonomous weapons. There's one kind of book that he thinks is going out of style, though: Textbooks, he writes in his and his wife Melinda's 2019 Annual Letter, "are becoming obsolete." "I read more than my share of textbooks," Gates says. "But it's a pretty limited way to learn something. Even the best text can't figure out which concepts you understand and which ones you need more help with." Software can be used to create a much more dynamic learning experience, he says. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/02/12/bill-gates-the-best-way-to-learn-today-is-not-from-textbooks.html

Free college textbooks available through Open Education North Carolina - Amber Covington, Salisbury Post

Feeling the pressure of purchasing an expensive textbook for a class? Check out the free resources available to any patron of Rowan Public Library using Open Educational Resources available through NC Live. The library is a member of NC Live which is a library consortium that provides shared services among 200 public and academic libraries across the state. Take advantage of these free services to locate textbooks, scholarly articles and research information for your class assignments. Open Educational Resources Commons hosts vast amounts of resources created by authors across the globe to be shared with others. This website shares not only textbooks, but also lesson plans, syllabi, activities and assessments for all educational grade levels. https://www.salisburypost.com/2019/02/03/free-college-textbooks-available-through-open-education-north-carolina/

A New Way to Motivate Faculty Adoption of OER - By Chuck Staben, Inside Higher Ed

To drive professors’ embrace of open educational resources, college leaders should offer incentives -- a share of the financial savings -- to academic departments, teaching centers and libraries, Chuck Staben suggests. We propose a different motivation structure for OER adoption. Our plan is to give some of the estimated yearly savings from OER use to the department, our teaching and learning center, and our library (5 percent/2.5 percent/2.5 percent, respectively). As an example, if a biology course enrolls 1,000 students per year, and the typical text savings would be $100 per student, adoption might save students $100,000 per year. Providing even 5 percent of the projected savings from OER adoption directly to the department as flexible money would be highly motivating to many departments; the teaching center and library are incentivized to support adoption and access. Although the savings from such a plan would accrue to the students, the retention of even one or two additional st…

Washington Open Educational Resources Grant Pilot Program - WSAC

The Washington State Legislature provided funds to the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) to administer an open educational resources (OER) grant pilot program exclusively for the public four-year institutions of higher education (IHE) in the State of Washington. The legislature established this pilot program to take another step in assuring more affordable learning materials and to find the best value for students in textbooks and course materials. The desired outcome is to expand textbook savings to all students attending public universities across the state. https://www.wsac.wa.gov/oer-grants

College Of The Canyons Celebrates Zero-Cost Textbook Program - WHTS

College of the Canyons officials celebrated the Zero-Cost Textbook Program Friday, awarding professors for their success. The college implemented the OER program in 2014 and has served as a model for other California community colleges looking at zero-textbook cost for students, according to COC officials. Dozens of students, educators, and administrators from COC met on campus to award faculty because of their success with the Open Educational Resources (OER) program. OER materials are electronic textbooks that are available, free of cost, in an open domain for students to use immediately, according to officials. https://www.hometownstation.com/santa-clarita-news/education/college-of-the-canyons/college-of-the-canyons-celebrates-zero-cost-textbook-program-265025

Opinion | The college textbook monopoly - Sean Witt, the News-Record

Students are stuck in a cycle of buying at least one textbook for each class. Classes that require more than one book could dramatically increase expenses for students. There are rare gems of classes in which no textbook is required, but those are few and far between. For the classes that require a textbook, students only need to read small sections of it — assuming the book ends up being used at all. For many classes, the professor’s lecture is right out of the textbook, making some students question why they needed to buy it in the first place. Luckily, there are many options available for students to save money on textbooks, like buying or renting books online. You can often find the textbook you need at nearly half the price (and in great shape, too) when buying from third-party sellers. Many students opt for book rentals whenever possible, which alleviates the stress of trying to offload unwanted textbooks at the end of each semester. http://www.newsrecord.org/opinion/opinion-th…

Renting College Textbooks Can Be An Even Bigger Ripoff Than Buying Them - Tally Goldstein, Huffington Post

About 10 percent of the students who rent a textbook will fail to return it on time, according to spokespeople for Barnes & Noble College and the college textbook program at Shakespeare & Co. Bookseller. That’s where the big retailers get them: Most of these companies — including Amazon, Barnes & Noble College and Follett Higher Education Group — don’t charge late fees on a per-day or per-week basis. Instead, they levy a flat percentage no matter how late the materials are returned. https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/textbook-renting-buying-college_us_5c2fd6ede4b0d75a9830b7a4

Call for Proposals: Course Materials Conversion Program - University of Arkansas

Each semester, the University of Arkansas Libraries and Global Campus offer compensation for faculty to reduce the cost of textbooks for their students by using Open Educational Resources (OER). Faculty can apply to receive $3,000-$7,500 in extra compensation to support the adoption, adaptation or creation of Open Educational Resources. Visit the OER website to learn more about the program. "The Global Campus supports the U of A's efforts to reduce costs for students," said Donald Judges, vice provost for distance education. "We believe working with U of A faculty is one of the best ways to provide high-quality OER materials for our students." https://news.uark.edu/articles/46131/call-for-proposals-course-materials-conversion-program

Freeing the textbook: Open Education Resources - Melissa Fraser, USM Free Press

Students are budgeting an average of $1,200 a year on textbooks and supplies, according to the USM website. While it has been well documented that students are finding alternatives, such as renting or buying used, surveys show that the cost is a deterrent. A survey conducted by Wakefield Research, on behalf of VitalSource Technologies, revealed that 85 percent of students either avoid purchasing course materials or delay purchasing until after the first day of class. Almost all of the students surveyed said that this was due to cost, and half of those said that this decision had a negative impact on their grades. Findings show that the cost of USM textbooks has risen 800 percent over the last eight years, according to the USM OER website. This prompted Bill Grubb, USM Libraries coordinator, to explore alternatives. http://usmfreepress.org/2019/02/04/freeing-the-textbook-open-education-resources/

Free college textbooks available through Open Education North Carolina - Amber Covington, Rowan Public Library

Feeling the pressure of purchasing an expensive textbook for a class? Check out the free resources available to any patron of Rowan Public Library using Open Educational Resources available through NC Live. The library is a member of NC Live which is a library consortium that provides shared services among 200 public and academic libraries across the state. Take advantage of these free services to locate textbooks, scholarly articles and research information for your class assignments. Open Educational Resources Commons hosts vast amounts of resources created by authors across the globe to be shared with others. This website shares not only textbooks, but also lesson plans, syllabi, activities and assessments for all educational grade levels. https://www.salisburypost.com/2019/02/03/free-college-textbooks-available-through-open-education-north-carolina/

College Of The Canyons Celebrates Zero-Cost Textbook Program - Jorge Ventura, Home Town Station

College of the Canyons officials celebrated the Zero-Cost Textbook Program Friday, awarding professors for their success. The college implemented the OER program in 2014 and has served as a model for other California community colleges looking at zero-textbook cost for students, according to COC officials. Dozens of students, educators, and administrators from COC met on campus to award faculty because of their success with the Open Educational Resources (OER) program. https://www.hometownstation.com/santa-clarita-news/education/college-of-the-canyons/college-of-the-canyons-celebrates-zero-cost-textbook-program-265025

Central Carolina Community College’s OER Bootcamp 2019 - Rodney Powell, CCCOER

On January 3, 2019, the Center for Academic Excellence at Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) hosted the first-ever OER Bootcamp and it was attended by over 50 CCCC faculty. Use of OER (Open Educational Resources) is a growing international trend as the cost of textbooks and course materials has far outpaced inflation. The number of students who choose to attempt courses without purchasing books is staggering. Many institutions are choosing OER options as an attempt to remediate this trend. CCCC supports the use of OER and is encouraging faculty to consider low or no-cost options for their courses. https://www.cccoer.org/2019/01/31/central-carolina-community-colleges-oer-bootcamp-2019/

Open is an invitation: Exploring use of open educational resources with Ontario post-secondary educators - J. Hayman, Thesis Arizona State University

For many of the participants in the study (n = 38), OER were new elements in their teaching practice. I engaged in focused and meaningful dialogue with them as part of professional development sessions in order to fully explore their perspectives about use of OER. I chose two facilitation designs as the action of my action research. The first was a pair of face-to-face workshops, and the second was an open online course commonly called a MOOC (massive open online course). These were the interventions (and innovations) for the study. From the perspective of the participants, the awareness and support strategies were determined to be useful for increasing their use of OER. https://oerknowledgecloud.org/content/open-invitation-exploring-use-open-educational-resources-ontario-post-secondary-educators

OER as an Institutional Survival Strategy - Matt Reed, Inside Higher Ed

In the right context, done well, OER represents the rare win-win. A student facing a tuition increase of, say, a hundred dollars a semester probably breaks even with a single course moving to OER, and comes out ahead if two or more courses do. Tuition may go up, but total cost of attendance -- the meaningful number -- remains flat or even drops. Even better, OER allows every single student to have the book from the first day of class, which can help with course completion and retention, and therefore enrollment. (One of the most powerful predictors of retention is GPA. Students with GPA’s below 2.0 drop out at much higher rates than students above 2.0. Not having the book affects academic performance; presumably, having the book may affect it in a positive way.) You can maintain a sustainable funding level for the college, keep costs down for students, and improve retention rates at the same time. https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/confessions-community-college-dean/oer-institut…

The Textbook Challenge: How students find affordable books for classes - Penina Beede, Daily Campus

Students at the University of Connecticut and across the country struggle with the same challenge they face at the beginning of every semester: finding textbooks at an affordable price. According to a recent study conducted by the American Enterprise Institute, the price of college textbooks has risen nearly 200 percent over the last two decades. Jordan Weissmann of The Atlantic attributes the price hikes to the profiteering of monopoly textbook publishers. He writes that publishers go to great lengths to take advantage of students, “from bundling textbooks with software that forces students to buy new editions instead of cheaper used copies, to suing low-cost textbook startups over flimsy copyright claims.” http://dailycampus.com/stories/2019/1/25/the-textbook-challenge-how-students-find-affordable-books-for-classes

Criminal Justice Associate Program Redesigned for Zero Textbook Costs - Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

A community college in New York City has introduced a criminal justice associate's degree that will use only open educational resources. The Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) said the move is expected to save each student about $2,500 in textbook costs. The OER work was funded by a two-year grant from Achieving the Dream, as part of a broad initiative to boost college access and completion by underserved students. BMCC faculty — including those in the criminal justice department and core subjects — have redesigned 20 courses to create the "zero textbook cost" degree, which is the school's first to use OER across the entire program. https://campustechnology.com/articles/2019/01/09/oer-based-criminal-justice-associate-program-redesigned-for-zero-textbook-costs.aspx

Steep textbook prices weigh on students - Madelaine Woodhouse, Daily Toreador

According to a study from the Student Public Interest Research Group, 65 percent of college students have skipped out on buying textbooks at some point. The study also found the cost of textbooks has risen four times faster than the rate of inflation in the last 10 years. A possible reason for the increase in textbook costs, could be a sinister and unavoidable thing commonly referred to as access codes. These codes give students access to an online textbook and cannot be shared or re-used. They can’t be guessed by randomly throwing numbers and letters together (believe me, I’ve tried) and you can’t do online homework until you’ve purchased the code. http://www.dailytoreador.com/opinion/columns/column-steep-textbook-prices-weigh-on-students/article_ddc74b30-2510-11e9-9be3-cfe29f479c0c.html

With higher ed costs rising, libraries offer free textbooks - JAKE STEINBERG, Minnesota Daily

Only 25 percent of faculty are aware that more affordable materials are readily available. With higher education costs rising, two University of Minnesota organizations hope the University Senate will recognize the libraries as an increasingly important partner in reducing student costs. The Senate Library Committee and the Minnesota Student Association are drafting separate calls for increased resources for the libraries’ affordable content programs. “What my committee is trying to do is make sure, while we’re preserving the superior quality of our institution, that we’re making materials as affordable as possible,” said MSA Academic Affairs Director Jacques Frank-Loron. http://www.mndaily.com/article/2019/01/n-with-higher-ed-costs-rising-libraries-offer-free-textbooks

EDITORIAL: Increase Textbook Transparency - the Hoya

In recent years, textbook prices have increased to exorbitant rates, crippling student access to necessary course materials. Textbook prices rose by 82 percent between 2002 and 2012, while consumer prices increased by only 28 percent in the same time period, according to a report conducted by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. As textbook prices increase on a national level, Georgetown is also complicit in selling expensive textbooks at the university bookstore. http://www.thehoya.com/editorial-increase-textbook-transparency/

Dunkin' is offering up a year of free coffee and textbooks - WGCL

A new Dunkin' store is opened in Midtown Atlanta, and for the grand opening guests have a chance to win a year of free coffee and textbooks. The storefront, which will be located 530 17th Street NW, celebrated its grand opening on January 25 from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. The first 100 guest will receive a free year of Dunkin' coffee and other prizes. Local students will have the opportunity to enter into a rally for a chance to win free textbooks for a year. https://www.cbs46.com/news/dunkin-is-offering-up-a-year-of-free-coffee-and/article_f09cfb80-1da2-11e9-8aa7-17929688e102.html

Open textbook pilot should be made permanent - Brooke Meadowcrofte, Baltimore Sun

The Affordable Textbooks campaign at the University of Maryland, an extension of the student group MaryPIRG (Maryland Public Interest Research Group), aims to educate both faculty and administrators as about the advantages of adopting and promoting open textbooks for students. Specifically, the campaign advocates against the adoption of access codes for digital material, which place a student’s educational resources behind a paywall, as well as other exploitative practices taken up by textbook publishers to earn a profit off a student’s education, like releasing new editions of textbooks that are barely altered. These actions make paying for a college education near impossible for students who are already struggling with the rising price of higher education. https://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bs-ed-op-1121-open-textbooks-20181119-story.html

How UMass is making textbooks more affordable, and how students can access them- Irina Costache, Daily Collegian

As the spring semester begins, so does the scramble to find cheap textbooks. Online retailers, local bookshops and even students with books left over from the past semester all compete to offer the lowest prices to buyers. Aside from purchasing textbooks, a coalition of various members around the UMass community is working to create free education options for students. The W.E.B. DuBois Library also offers a free supply of textbooks available for loan. “The cost of textbooks has a huge impact on whether a student is successful in a class and is the one college cost that faculty have control over,” said Jeremy Smith, digital projects manager and leader of the Open Educational Initiative. “Research on student success supports the fact that students with full access to all course materials on day one perform better in class…the cost of textbooks has forced students to not purchase a textbook, take a different class, not take a class or make different decisions about their major.” https:…

Open Educational Resource textbooks could save students hundreds per semester - MCKAY JOHNSEN, Utah State University

A resolution to spread awareness over Open Educational Resources at USU was passed on Jan. 7 by the Utah State University Student Association academic senate that has the potential to save students thousands of dollars in textbook costs, which have gone up by over 85% since 2006. “USU Libraries and Academic & Instructional Services are collaborating with various colleges on campus to offer faculty grants for the adoption, adaption, or creation of OER to enhance their classes,” said OER Coordinator Kori Ellis. “The theory behind OER, or Open Educational Resources, is that knowledge should be free, unlimited, and accessible to everyone, everywhere, and not locked behind a paywall.” https://usustatesman.com/open-educational-resource-textbooks-could-save-students-hundreds-per-semester/

Free textbook for students: U of T Mississauga gets its first open access digital resource - U Toronto

Biology students at University of Toronto Mississauga are using a new resource this semester at a price point that every student can afford. U of T Mississauga’s first-ever open access digital textbook, Introductory Animal Physiology, launched in January as the primary text for 480 undergraduate students enrolled in the second-year biology course. Custom-tailored to the course, the textbook is available to students free of charge. https://www.utoronto.ca/news/free-textbook-students-u-t-mississauga-gets-its-first-open-access-digital-resource