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Showing posts from March, 2019

Move toward open-source textbooks smart, thrifty - Editorial Board, Union-Bulletin

College costs big bucks. Tuition, food, a place to stay, fees and course materials all pile up. Some of this is unavoidable, but a movement to cut the cost of textbooks has the potential to save students serious money. At Blue Mountain Community College, the move toward what are known as open educational resources has saved students an estimated $1 million over the past two years, the East Oregonian reported last week. A typical textbook and lab manual for college-level human anatomy and physiology, for example, has a list price of about $450 and even with discounts, those books will set a student back $295 on Amazon. By comparison, a student in a class that adopts a similar textbook published by OpenStax College pays $0. http://www.union-bulletin.com/opinion/editorials/move-toward-open-source-textbooks-smart-thrifty/article_4db4a174-482d-11e9-b92b-0f4cb437f072.html

NEMCC OFFERS DEGREE THAT ELIMINATES TRADITIONAL TEXTBOOKS - Allie Martin, WCBI

BOONEVILLE, MISS. (WCBI) – A local community college is helping students combat the increasing costs for textbooks. When Stacia Massey walks to class, she doesn’t need a backpack, or a stack of bulky textbooks. The NEMCC general studies student has everything she needs on her iPad. It is less stressful to keep up with the books, cause you have to buy a backpack to keep them all in, but just having an iPad is just like having your phone,” said Massey. NEMCC is the first college in the state to offer a degree program that doesn’t require any textbooks. https://www.wcbi.com/nemcc-offers-degree-that-eliminates-need-for-traditional-textbooks/

WSGA book surveys help reduce cost of textbooks - WASHBURN REVIEW

Trouble with textbooks: The Washburn Student Government Association on campus has been working toward making textbooks more affordable for students at Washburn. Textbook affordability has long been an issue for many students at colleges across the nation. As many on campus have noted, everyone has received textbook survey emails from the Washburn Student Government Association and the Kansas Board of Regents Students Advisory Committee. These surveys are meant to gather information related to college students' experiences with textbook affordability. This is an issue that affects many on campus at Washburn and other colleges across the country as buying textbooks can be an added expense that costs students hundreds of dollars every year. The survey’s results, which will be presented March 20 to the Kansas Board of Regents, will help the board determine if a state-wide Open Educational Resources Taskforce is necessary to help lessen the costs of textbooks in Kansas. http://www.was…

Triton celebrates $1 million in student savings through Low Cost/No Cost Textbook initiative - Stephen Butera, Daily Herald

Triton College marked a monumental milestone this semester, as its innovative Low Cost/No Cost Textbook Alternatives Program crossed the threshold of saving students $1 million on textbooks and course materials. The program launched in 2013 with support from a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. The goal of the initiative is to better prepare students for success by providing access to high quality textbooks and learning materials, accessible through the Triton College Library. The growing collection includes open source textbooks and other resources including relevant, current articles from databases for faculty to include in course materials. https://www.dailyherald.com/submitted/20190220/triton-celebrates-1-million-in-student-savings-through-low-costno-cost-textbook-initiative

FIU Online spearheads launch of statewide affordable textbook initiative - Isabel Gamarra, FIU

FIU Online has spearheaded the launch of a statewide initiative that keeps the costs of textbooks and materials under $60 per course. Affordability Counts is a faculty-driven program in which professors commit to keeping the cost of materials for their courses at an affordable price. FIU Online, which piloted the initiative, recently launched an online platform that is being adopted by universities across the state of Florida. https://news.fiu.edu/2019/03/fiu-online-spearheads-launch-of-statewide-affordable-textbook-initiative/131371

CAST & ISKME Partner to Make OERs More Inclusive, Effective

CAST announces a new partnership with the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME)— the organization that manages OER Commons, the world’s leading OER repository—to improve the availability and accessibility of OERs. Despite their promise, many OERs have remained inaccessible for students with disabilities and other learning differences. Static, inflexible formats such as PDF allow only marginal access via assistive technologies. The ability to customize and adapt these resources is rarely built in, and it is difficult for institutions to retrofit and convert digital objects into an accessible form. http://www.cast.org/whats-new/news/2019/cast-iskme-partnership-oer-commons-open-authoring-system.html#.XIrd_LcZ4d4

Artificial Intelligence and Frontier Technologies for Open Educational - Modern Diplomacy EU

The Artificial Intelligence and Frontier Technologies for Open Educational Resources (OER) workshop was part of the ‘Learning and Skills sessions’ held during UNESCO’s Mobile Learning 2019 (5 March 2019, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris), which focused on Artificial Intelligence (AI). The workshop presented the latest developments on how AI and frontier technologies can be used to share, use and develop OER, within the framework of the Ljubljana OER Action Plan and the current Draft UNESCO OER Recommendation. https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2019/03/14/artificial-intelligence-and-frontier-technologies-for-open-educational-resources/

College Presidents' Support (With Caveats) for OER - Doug Lederman

Survey finds campus leaders support use of open educational resources to reduce student textbook costs, but concerns linger about quality. They also feel more comfortable with their knowledge of digital learning. College and university presidents overwhelmingly worry about rising student spending on textbooks and course materials and support the use of open educational resources to lower those costs. But there are limits on how that philosophical support should drive behavior -- theirs and their faculty's. Those are among the findings of Inside Higher Ed's 2019 Survey of College and University Presidents, conducted with Gallup and released last week. A copy of the survey report can be downloaded here. https://www.insidehighered.com/digital-learning/article/2019/03/13/college-presidents-support-use-oer-lower-students-costs-limits

Open educational resources (OER) in higher education courses in aquaculture and fisheries: opportunities, barriers, and future perspectives - Alexandra Pounds and John Bostock, Springer

The purpose of this study was to evaluate whether educators and students in the aquaculture and fisheries sector might use and benefit from Open Educational Resources (OERs). This paper concludes that OER initiatives associated with higher education institutions in aquaculture and fisheries subjects have the potential, in theory, to support the enhancement of a skilled workforce that will meet the increasing global demand for seafood production. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10499-019-00355-9

Free Textbooks Pilot Program to Be Offered — At ECC This Summer - Amanda Postma, Missourian

In addition to higher tuition and general fees, East Central College also will offer a pilot program this summer to help students save money on books. The program will introduce open educational resources (OER) to the institution. “Basically, open educational resources are teaching, learning and research materials that are copyright-free or have a license that allows for reuse,” explained Robyn Walter, interim vice president of academic affairs. “Students will get the same resources for little or no cost.” http://www.emissourian.com/local_news/education/free-textbooks-pilot-program-to-be-offered-at-ecc-this/article_97af27bc-41da-11e9-9c7e-3b4ab975c50d.html

Local colleges receive state grants for textbook program - Houma Today

Nicholls State University and Fletcher Technical Community College recently received grant money from the the Louisiana Board of Regents to reduce textbook costs to students. The grants were awarded by The Louisiana Library Network for course redesign and adoption of open textbooks and other Open Education Resources, Fletcher said in a news release. The Board of Regents estimates these efforts could save more than $1 million over three years for 15,000 students. Among the total $67,500 given in grant money, Nicholls received $7,500 for the culinary department. Fletcher was given $7,500 each for the psychology and basic composition departments. https://www.houmatoday.com/news/20190308/local-colleges-receive-state-grants-for-textbook-program
OER Summit addresses textbook cost Lilly Montero, LMC Experience College affordability, of books in particular, is back on the minds of the students and faculty here at LMC. In the last year, Professors Edward Haven and Scott Hubbard have been key players in making education more accessible and affordable, with the Zero Textbook Cost initiative going into greatly expanding its impact last fall. The program, which is now referred to as OER, or open education resources, bolstered the number of OER/ZTC classes available to students from just 100 designations to 115. However, students are still greatly concerned with the ever growing cost of education. https://lmcexperience.com/news/2019/03/07/books-on-the-block/

Do open educational resources improve student learning? Implications of the access hypothesis - Phillip J. Grimaldi , Debshila Basu Mallick, Andrew E. Waters, Richard G. Baraniuk, Plos One

Open Educational Resources (OER) have been lauded for their ability to reduce student costs and improve equity in higher education. Research examining whether OER provides learning benefits have produced mixed results, with most studies showing null effects. We argue that the common methods used to examine OER efficacy are unlikely to detect positive effects based on predictions of the access hypothesis. The access hypothesis states that OER benefits learning by providing access to critical course materials, and therefore predicts that OER should only benefit students who would not otherwise have access to the materials. Through the use of simulation analysis, we demonstrate that even if there is a learning benefit of OER, standard research methods are unlikely to detect it. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0212508

It’s time to stop making excuses for expensive textbooks - By Zachary Keel, TX State

Our inexorable march to poverty and struggle is lunch conversation fodder; as students, we’re all too familiar with financial juggling and the ubiquitous daily gouging associated with college. “Affording” college is a myth of yesteryear wrapped up in “bootstraps” language meant to deride the ever-so-lazy younger generations. Everything is more expensive now—average tuition at a four-year public institution has seen a three-fold increase over the past 30 years. Cost-of-living is more—everything is more, higher and less accessible—it’s depressing. Financial barriers pop up from every angle for students on the degree track, but there’s one last barrier that always creeps up and snaps up the last little bit of money in Bobcats’ accounts: textbooks. Textbooks are expensive, they’re often unnecessary and the for-profit tangled mess of an industry is wholly immoral. Textbooks should be a part of the tuition package or free; nothing else will do. http://star.txstate.edu/2019/02/its-time-to-s…

Open Textbooks Are the Future of Higher Education - Matthew Boyle, Trinity Tripod

There is good news for anyone who has ever had to spend $200 or more on a single textbook; open textbooks are coming to Trinity in the near future. Open textbooks are peer-reviewed, online textbooks created by professors. They are also created through a creative commons license so they can be shared and edited without violating copyright law. Yet, best of all, they do not require you to buy access codes to do homework and do not cost a cent to read. Of course, if one prefers a physical copy then there are printing costs, but even then, they cost a fraction of the books they are replacing. All of this is thanks to a largely unsung grant program run by the Dean of Faculty, Tim Cresswell, and Information Services. Therefore, my aim is not only to inform the student body, but to call them to action. What the college has done so far is commendable, but it will likely require pressure and advocacy by students and professors to expand upon this first step and make open textbooks widely avail…

Open Educational Resource program aims to increase textbook affordability for students - Rylee Wilson, Daily Iowan

A new initiative from University of Iowa Libraries could help reduce textbook costs by funding an Open Educational Resources library called OpenHawks, which will provide an open-source alternative to textbooks or other course materials. The program receives $75,000 in funding as a three-year pilot project, with $25,000 coming from University of Iowa Student Government and $50,000 coming from the Office of the Provost, according to UISG Senate Bill 34. Faculty can apply for funding to redesign aspects of their courses to use open resources, said Tristan Schmidt, the UISG director of academic affairs. https://dailyiowan.com/2019/03/06/open-educational-resource-program-aims-to-increase-textbook-affordability-for-students/

The high cost of college textbooks, explained - Gaby Del Valle, Vox

Textbook publishers, for their part, have begun acknowledging that textbooks and other course materials have become so expensive that some students simply can’t afford them, even if it means their grades will suffer as a result. Publishers claim that new technologies, like digital textbooks and Netflix-style subscription services, make textbooks more affordable for all. But affordability advocates say that if anyone is to blame for the fact that textbook costs have risen more than 1,000 percent since the 1970s, it’s the publishers — and, advocates claim, these new technologies are publishers’ attempt to maintain their stranglehold on the industry while disguising it as reform. https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2019/3/6/18252322/college-textbooks-cost-expensive-pearson-cengage-mcgraw-hill

What Do Faculty Think of Open Educational Resources? - BY DARIA KIRPACH, BizEd AACSB

Because so many of their students struggle with the cost of course materials, more professors are opting to use free open educational resources (OER) in their courses, rather than expensive traditional textbooks. But other faculty worry that the quality of OER might not equal that of traditional textbooks, according to a report conducted by the Babson Survey Research Group at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts. https://bized.aacsb.edu/articles/2019/march/what-do-faculty-think-of-open-educational-resources

4 steps to adopting OER - Sarah Martin, Smart Brief

Open educational resources present enormous opportunities to enhance teaching and learning. One of the primary draws, of course, is that they’re free. Here are a few lessons we've learned on how to make the most of OER in math (or almost any subject). Get recommendations from other educators. One of the main criticisms of OER is the poor quality of some of resources. But I have had the same issue with traditional curricula. I have encountered many lessons and activities that left me wondering if the textbook authors had ever spent any time in an actual classroom. I’ve seen materials written far above and far below grade level, and activities that I knew would quickly turn into classroom management nightmares https://www.smartbrief.com/original/2019/03/4-steps-adopting-oer

Open educational resources in immunology education - Thaís Faggioni, Natiele Carla da Silva Ferreira,et al; Physiology.org

The use of computers as a pedagogical resource is currently on the rise. In the case of immunology, students present difficulties in visualizing molecular phenomena. Thus the use of animations and simulations available on the internet might facilitate the learning of complex immunological concepts. In this context, it is important to map and assess the currently available resources that may be used for educational purposes. This study comprises the search and analysis of educational immunology software freely available on the internet, which can aid students and health professionals in effective learning and continuing education scenarios. A detailed search in English on the existence of free software was carried out on websites and scientific databases. The results clearly indicate a lack of freely available and scientifically validated immunology educational software, despite the existence of several software programs that could be used as auxiliary teaching tools. https://www.phys…

SXSW EDU 2019: Taking OER to the next level - Hallie Busta, Education Dive

Mike Silagadze, CEO and co-founder of Top Hat, a digital learning company that offers OER, acknowledges those issues. The solution, he said, is creating a peer-led community around producing OER content. "Until that happens, OER is going to continue not being up to par with what the textbook publishers are providing," he said. Last spring, the company hired a chief product officer to help it find new revenue opportunities. The company has reached more than 2.8 million students at North American institutions. https://www.educationdive.com/news/sxsw-edu-taking-oer-to-the-next-level/549850/

Open educational resources initiative expands Office of Transformational Experience to educate faculty on OERs in classroom - Hannah Shumsky, Online Rocket

According to the College Board, the average college student spent about $1,240 on textbooks and supplies this academic year. For students who cannot afford these expenses, the Office for Transformational Experiences is promoting Open Educational Resources (OERs) and educating faculty on their uses. OERs are learning materials, such as textbooks, lab manuals or even YouTube videos, available for free online. The materials are available through the Creative Commons and under “open access” copyright restrictions. Because of this, faculty members can even modify some OERs to fit the needs of their own classes. “There’s a financial component to higher education right now, so the open education movement looks to try and reduce that burden,” Rocco Cremonese, business user experience and outreach librarian, said. https://www.theonlinerocket.com/news/2019/03/01/open-educational-resources-initiative-expands/

Free Textbooks Considered for Online Courses - J’Mari Hughes, the Southern News

Approximately five courses currently use Open Educational Resources, a free online textbook system, said Director of the Adanti Student Center Brad Crerar. “If the university can save someone 50 dollars on a book this semester,” Crerar said, “it’s all that much more, so anytime we can save the students money, we’ve got to see how, and that’s exactly what they’re doing right now.” Crerar said OER is currently a nationwide trend. When writing textbooks, he said, some authors may be in favor of students saving money than making it themselves, thereby granting their book at no cost. https://thesouthernnews.org/2019/02/27/free-online-textbooks-considered-for-courses/

GHC free textbook program among nation’s best -Jeff Brown, Northwest Georgia News

Georgia Highlands College was recently listed by Rice University-based publisher OpenStax as one of the top 10 schools that has served the most students with the adoption of free college textbooks in the 2017-18 school year. GHC was one of only two colleges in Georgia listed. The University of Georgia also made the list. To date, GHC has saved students over $6 million by eliminating textbook costs and providing free digital options. http://www.northwestgeorgianews.com/rome/news/local/ghc-free-textbook-program-among-nation-s-best/article_90422d38-3967-11e9-8fbe-6f67fc88a1d1.html

New open education initiative offers student savings for textbooks, course materials - Austin Coudriet, Daily Nebraskan

Students saved $117,836 in textbook finances during the 2018 fall semester as part of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Successful Teaching with Affordable Resources initiative, according to a Nebraska Today article. The article also predicts students will save at least $275,000 during the 2019-20 academic school year. http://www.dailynebraskan.com/news/new-open-education-initiative-offers-student-savings-for-textbooks-course/article_2accc16c-3637-11e9-8afa-4f69837e9345.html

University students saved $177 million in 2018 using OpenStax OER - John Liu, EdScoop

University administrators and faculty are increasingly buying in to the idea of open educational resources — encouraging the adoption of free online textbooks on a course-by-course basis, said David Harris, editor in chief of OpenStax, a Rice University-based publisher. “What we’re seeing is a shift in the market from what we would call individual adoption to institutional-supported adoption and adaption of OER,” Harris told EdScoop. “The institutions are now helping faculty drive affordability for students. That’s a significant change.” https://edscoop.com/university-students-saved-177-million-in-2018-using-openstax-oer/

Reframing the Conversation about OER - Kenneth C. Green, Inside Higher Ed

It’s time to add OER – Open Education Resources – to a list of technologies (or technology resources) that might really be a catalyst for major change in higher education. The basic OER arguments, offered with great passion by OER advocates and evangelists, are compelling.  First, commercial textbooks are expensive.  Second, OER offers a seemingly pragmatic strategy to provide “Day One” access to core course materials for students in critical gateway courses.  And third, the absence of copyright and related clearance issues means that OER provides significant flexibility for faculty as they select and mix curricular materials from various sources for their syllabi. https://www.insidehighered.com/blogs/digital-tweed/reframing-conversation-about-oer

Trustees to consider expanding use of digital course material for student savings - Chris Booker, Ohio State University

The Ohio State University is considering a plan to expand the use of digital course material in an effort to cut expenses for students. The university conducted a pilot program this semester called CarmenBooks. All students were offered digital access to course materials directly in Carmen, through Unizin’s Engage eReader software. Ohio State piloted the eReader software during autumn semester 2018 and CarmenBooks this spring. Students were notified of the discounted digital textbook cost during their course registration and paid the associated digital textbook fee as part of their tuition and fees. The university has seen significant results from the pilot: 1,606 students from 12 courses in two colleges participated, resulting in total savings of $217,173. https://news.osu.edu/trustees-to-consider-expanding-use-of-digital-course-material-for-student-savings/

Ohio State considering switch to digital textbooks to help students save money - Chris White, ABC6

With the costs of higher education constantly on the rise, Ohio State hopes to alleviate some burden from students by offering digital course materials. The plan is being considered by university leaders after a pilot program, CarmenBooks, was provided for students this semester. The university said all students in the program were offered digital access to course materials directly using eReader software. “Once a student enrolls in a course, the textbook is seamlessly there. They have access before the first day of class,” said Jennie Babcock, undergraduate program director at the College of Social Work. https://abc6onyourside.com/news/local/ohio-state-considering-switch-to-digital-textbooks-to-help-students-save-money

How much will the books, supplies for a class cost? DSG now has a database to help - Matthew Griffin, Duke Chronicle

Did you drop $300 on a textbook only to read a few pages? A new Duke Student Government project can't make you actually do the readings for your 8:30 a.m. class, but it can tell you how much they'll cost. Duke's tuition sits at roughly $56,000, but that doesn't include the price of books and other things needed for classes—which can vary between courses and be difficult to estimate without access to the syllabus. Thanks to a new website created as part of a Duke Student Government project, students may now be armed with better knowledge about what different classes might cost. https://www.dukechronicle.com/article/2019/02/cost-of-class-supplies-duke-university-student-government-course-cost-transparency-project

Zero textbook cost is call to action as CCNY converts to open educational resources - CCNY

For the second year in a row, City College is participating in a $4 million grant awarded to CUNY by New York State to bring down the cost of textbooks and increase accessibility for students to free educational resources. Open Educational Resources (OER) is an initiative designed to increase affordability, access and academic success. Open educational resources are free and openly licensed educational materials that can be used for teaching, learning, research, and other purposes. These teaching materials include textbooks, syllabi, lesson plans, images, videos, readings, quiz items, assignments and grading rubrics. https://www.ccny.cuny.edu/news/zero-textbook-cost-call-action-ccny-converts-open-educational-resources