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Showing posts from May, 2019

People Are Finally Fighting Back Against the College Textbook Industry's 'Scam' - Allie Conte, Vice

A lawsuit, grassroots activism, and a viral tweet by a rogue professor point to a larger pattern of debt-strapped students taking on the system. Jeremy Cucinella first suspected college kids like him were being scammed starting around 2005. He was taking a biology class at Campbell University in North Carolina, where he said he was told students couldn't make do with a used version of the required textbook. In fact, the 37-year-old recalled paying about $65 extra for something known as an "access code," or a one-time-use password that would ostensibly provide supplementary online materials. He never actually needed the code, he said, and after graduating with a "ton of student debt," Cucinella decided to get into the used textbook business himself in order to help other young people coming up through the same system. https://www.vice.com/en_ca/article/pajze9/people-are-finally-fighting-back-against-the-college-textbook-industrys-scam

Cutting Textbook Costs is High Priority for Campus - Katharine Webster, UMass Lowell

Montana Heise ’20 started out at UMass Lowell as a biology major. But sticker shock – the $800 cost of all the science and math textbooks she was required to purchase just for her first semester – helped push her out of biology and into a double-major in sociology and world languages and cultures. “It was a factor,” says Heise, who is paying her way through college with scholarships, a work-study job and loans. “You prioritize which books you’re going to buy. If you have to buy a book for the access code to take a test or do your homework, you buy it – but then you don’t buy other books. It’s horrible that you have to do that, because you’re at a disadvantage in those other classes.” https://www.uml.edu/news/stories/2019/textbooks.aspx

Paper or screen? It matters - Krtisten Blair, Robesonian

It’s worth noting that reading preference can often be accommodated with OER. Clinton, who studies OER in higher education, says of textbooks vetted through networks like the Open Textbook Library, “One of the criteria is that [they’re] downloadable and printable. An open textbook does not mean it has to be electronic. You can print them out or you can order a bound copy.” https://www.robesonian.com/opinion/123602/paper-or-screen-it-matters

The local and national fight for affordable textbooks - Claudia Yaw ,The Daily

The price of textbooks, which can reach hundreds of dollars, often deter students from obtaining the course materials altogether. In previous Student PIRGs’ studies, two-thirds of students reported not buying a required textbook because of its price, illustrating how textbook costs directly impact access to education. In the state legislature, HB 1470 attempted to address this issue directly, noting how “the cost of textbooks and course materials often acts as a barrier for students and becomes a substantial part of student debt.” The bill, which died in committee this legislative session, would have created a tax credit for professors who use free, open source materials as the main required text for their course. http://www.dailyuw.com/news/article_330ff540-777f-11e9-aa0a-fb1280b9bf77.html

Virginia Community Colleges Providing Digital Courseware Systemwide at No Cost to Students - Rhea Kelly, Campus Technology

"The use of open educational resources remains a priority for the VCCS to improve college affordability and student success, and our partnership with Lumen supports this priority," said Sheri Prupis, director of teaching and learning technologies for the Virginia Community College System, in a statement. "This agreement provides access to a reliable platform, excellent integration with Canvas, and well-designed learning tools that can improve teaching and learning with OER. By investing at the system level, we can make all this completely free to VCCS students." https://campustechnology.com/articles/2019/05/16/virginia-community-colleges-providing-digital-courseware-systemwide-at-no-cost-to-students.aspx

ARC works to adopt low cost textbooks - Irene Jacobs, American River College Current

Textbooks are one of the biggest resources for the average college student, often viewed as a pricey but mandatory class material. Following Senate Bill 1359, however, American River College has been making changes over the past year to ensure that more low-cost materials and textbooks are readily available to students. SB 1359, signed into law in September 2016, requires that community colleges note in class schedules which courses use free or digital course materials. https://www.arcurrent.com/news/2019/05/15/arc-works-to-adopt-low-cost-textbooks/

District to launch AlamoOpen repository for free course material - Janie Medelez, the Ranger

Students looking to save money will have that opportunity with the AlamoOpen repository district website. “The Alamo Colleges District is launching the AlamoOpen repository website tentatively next month,” said Phillip Anaya, digital and open educational resources coordinator of Alamo Colleges. “Opening the door to more affordable and accessible education is a mission statement for the AlamoOpen repository website. We have a district wide committee meeting this week to discuss the adoption of the statement,” Anaya said in an April 29 email. AlamoOpen is the district’s OER program. http://theranger.org/2019/05/15/district-to-launch-alamoopen-repository-for-free-course-material/

History professor adopts no-cost material with open educational resources - Janie Medelez, the Ranger

Alamo Colleges District is looking for ways to encourage faculty to adopt no-cost materials either through conferences or training on operational educational resources. OERs are free educational materials in the public domain and copyright-free. The materials range from textbooks to full course modules, syllabi, lectures and classroom activities designed for teaching and learning. http://theranger.org/2019/05/15/history-professor-adopts-no-cost-material-with-open-educational-resources/

Why community college is a new value proposition - WYDAILY

This cost is significantly reduced for approximately half of our students who qualify for federal and state financial aid, scholarships made possible by generous donors, and other means of financial assistance. Another way the college works to keep costs manageable is extensive use in a number of courses of open educational resources, as opposed to traditional textbooks that can be quite expensive. https://wydaily.com/local-news/2019/05/14/bc-why-community-college-is-a-new-value-proposition/

AL$ Textbook Initiative Helps Faculty Find Affordable Learning Materials for Students - Leena Ali, Cal State Northridge

he cost of textbooks can be a burden to students to the point where they delay buying them or do not buy them at all. The Affordable Learning Solutions (AL$) program, launched by the CSU Chancellor’s Office following the College Textbook Affordability Act of 2015, works to help students across the CSU system access affordable, convenient and high-quality textbook options. AL$ promotes the use of low-cost or free course materials to reduce the financial burden on students. The program also provides faculty with professional development support and grants to adopt high-quality and affordable course materials. http://csunshinetoday.csun.edu/education/al-textbook-initiative-helps-faculty-find-affordable-learning-materials-for-students/

Zero-Textbook Cost (ZTC) option classes - the Courier

Thanks to the Zero-Textbook Cost (ZTC) option classes brought to PCC by psychology professor Julie Kiotas and developed by the Open Education Resources (OER) committee, the college has saved students upwards of $1.2 million. In 2015, Kiotas was the first professor in the U.S. to adopt a textbook from Rice University’s OpenStax collection. From there, the number of classes offering ZTC has grown — and with it, the amount of money saved — to serve 15,383 students, according to the Shatford library’s OER webpage. https://www.pcccourier.com/main-story/1-2-million-saved-thanks-to-zero-textbook-cost-classes.html

About CCC Community Hub

The CCC Community Hub is an Open Educational Resources (OER) network for collaboration among the California community college system. This hub came to be out of a demand for a localized repository with rich collaborating, sharing, and evaluation tools. All California Community Colleges have their own group inside the hub. There are also discipline hubs for the California community to work together on developing and supporting OER. https://www.oercommons.org/hubs/ccc

OER Curation Framework

Realizing the potential of OER, school librarians have begun to play an ever-increasing role in enabling its use by curating OER to meet specific teaching and learning needs in their schools and districts. But what do these curation practices look like, and how might they be further enabled within and across schools? To answer these questions, ISKME, in partnership with Florida State University School of Information, conducted a national study to explore what OER curation looks like for school librarians who are leading the way in OER curation practice. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1wTzE7rKg9Kbzm3t24TIxIJy_bEA81sDqVvwIXPC7OYA/edit

New CC Search Offers One-Stop Access to 300 Million Images - Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

A new CC Search front end debuts this week. Developed by Creative Commons and a community of volunteer developers, the tool allows users to find and use some 300 million images from openly licensed and public domain works. The search function provides a single place to look for images from 19 collections, including Flickr (which is currently the source for the bulk of the content — some 289 million pictures), Bēhance, Geograph Britain and Ireland and DeviantArt. https://campustechnology.com/articles/2019/05/02/new-cc-search-offers-one-stop-access-to-300-million-images.aspx

Another Big Move Hits Higher-Ed Publishing, as Wiley Buys Knewton - Goldie Blumenstyk, Chronicle of Higher Ed

Another big publisher in higher ed is making a strategic move. John Wiley & Sons announced on Monday that it was buying the assets of Knewton, an 11-year-old company that has at times been held up as the poster child for ed-tech overhype. Knewton was initially known for its adaptive-learning tools designed to work with content from commercial publishers, but more recently it has shifted focus toward its platform that incorporates open educational resources, or OER. https://www.chronicle.com/article/Another-Big-Move-Hits/246249

Grossmont College OER Use Grows 1,700 Percent in 3 Years - Campus Technology

"California's Grossmont College has grown its use of open educational resources from six instructors in 2016 to about 100 this spring. To accelerate continued growth, recently the school also appointed two student interns to promote the use of OER. And now the professor of counseling who initially pushed the use of OER on campus will be recognized for his work to provide free learning content to students." https://www.avnetwork.com/news/grossmont-college-oer-use-grows-1700-percent-in-3-years-campus-technology

Harrisburg leads open educational resources innovation in geology courses - Emma Gosalvez, Penn State News

Open educational resources (OER) are transforming the landscape of higher education, allowing for more accessible and affordable learning. At Penn State Harrisburg, geology students are using digital rock kits and an open-access textbook in place of traditional rock packages and text, a change that has fueled student engagement. Through a partnership between Penn State Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT) and the Penn State University Libraries, the ACT@PSU program revolutionizes faculty use of the traditional textbook. https://news.psu.edu/story/572499/2019/05/01/academics/harrisburg-leads-open-educational-resources-innovation-geology

Colleges jointly host regional OER forum - Stacey Holler, Garrett County Republican

Dr. M.J. Bishop challenged participants in Friday’s Maryland Open Source Textbook Regional Open Educational Resources Forum to break from past educational tendencies.“This is where the rubber hits the road,” Bishop told conference attendees Friday morning at Garrett College. “I encourage you to avoid the temptation to take a new tool and simply replicate what we’ve done in the past.” Twelve institutions of higher education participated in the forum, which centered on how OERs — online course materials that can eliminate or dramatically reduce textbook costs — can change the face of postsecondary education. https://www.wvnews.com/garrettrepublican/community/colleges-jointly-host-regional-oer-forum/article_1630269e-1d39-59c0-884b-33c136ba9e3e.html

Open-source textbooks lighten students’ financial load - Erin Albanese, School News Network

GRCC is fifth in the top 10 colleges for the number of students– 35,421, served through OpenStax– for an estimated savings of $3.27 million this school year. The cost of commercial textbooks has increased dramatically above the rate of inflation in recent decades, said Professor Michael Vargo, GRCC dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. With annual textbook expenses ranging from $1,000 to $1,300 for full-time students, that can be the difference between success or struggling through school. “Most students report not having purchased a textbook because of the cost,” Vargo said. https://www.schoolnewsnetwork.org/2019/04/09/open-source-textbooks-lighten-students-financial-load/

Opinion: The Problems with Textbook Buybacks - Jacob Sutherland, USC Guardian

At the end of a long quarter of homework, studying, and sleepless nights, students want to forget the horror of being three Yerba Mate shots deep into their POLI 102D homework by getting rid of their textbooks. Luckily for them, the bookstore offers a Textbook Buy-Back program where, as advertised on its website, students can sell back their books and “be offered up to 50 percent of the new book price.” However, the allure of receiving a sweet $64.99 for the “The Voting Rights Act – Securing the Ballot” is more often than not squashed when students head over to the Buy-Back tent just to find out that the program will not buy back their book, leaving these students both disheartened and broke. http://ucsdguardian.org/2019/05/01/opinion-problems-textbook-buybacks/

Mann: Getting around overpriced textbooks - Joanna Mann, Daily Emerald

It’s a decision between hurting your wallet and hurting your GPA. Students who decide against buying their textbooks know that there is a good chance of their grade being affected in the long run, but it’s a risk many are forced to take. extbook prices can also keep students from graduating on time. According to one college study, 47.6 percent of students admitted to taking fewer classes per term in order to save money for course materials. When registering for the next term’s courses, students often take into account which classes require pricey textbooks and which ones require no outside materials. Even if one class is more major relevant, all else being equal, the more affordable course is often what students end up picking. https://www.dailyemerald.com/opinion/mann-getting-around-overpriced-textbooks/article_e01e05ba-5f9c-11e9-b0da-27b0eeed9989.html

It’s time to move textbooks to e-books - Trevor Oliver, Aleste

For decades, students have been hauling heavy books to college courses in hopes of actually using them in class that day. Now, with the luxury of e-books, students can finally have freedom from backaches. The prices of e-book textbooks have also dropped significantly. According to a 2018 study by VitalSource, a popular e-book textbook distributor, average prices of e-book textbooks dropped by 31 percent compared to 2016, reducing the price to an average of $38.65 per book. http://www.alestlelive.com/opinion/article_3922f93c-6c76-11e9-b619-03f1deb502f4.html

Students struggle to sell textbooks after high expenses, little use- MAEGAN KIRBY, Daily Texan

With few places that buy back expensive textbooks at a fair price, going to freshman orientation in a trench coat and asking kids if they want to buy textbooks might seem like a better option. Textbooks are an expected cost for college students every semester, but the expensive prices for books that end up hardly being used can be frustrating for students. Many students expect to get money back by selling their textbooks but often struggle to make up for the original expenses. http://dailytexanonline.com/2019/05/02/students-struggle-to-sell-textbooks-after-high-expenses-little-use

Requirements for Collaborative OER Authoring Tools in Global Settings. -I. Nurhas, J. Pawlowski, M. Jansen, and J. Stoffregen; EC-TEL

Open Educational Resources (OER) intend to support access to education for everyone. However, this potential is not fully exploited due to various barriers in the production, distribution and the use of OER. In this paper, we present requirements and recommendations for systems for global OER authoring. https://www.bibsonomy.org/bibtex/2ae8c5cad8f13592b250d52f88e5341d3/ux-space

Austin CC Expands Zero-Textbook-Cost Degrees - Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

Austin Community College in Texas is expanding its use of open educational resources (OER) in a big way. The school is working on developing a zero-textbook-cost (ZTC) business degree, and last fall, the school launched two "Z-degree" programs: an associate of science in general studies and an associate of arts in general studies. Each program offers a ZTC pathway, which saves students about $2,000 in textbook costs over the duration of the program, according to the college. https://campustechnology.com/articles/2019/04/29/austin-cc-expands-zero-textbook-cost-degrees.aspx

College without paying for textbooks? It's possible! - Ian Schwartz, AZ Family

Are you heading back to school, or maybe helping your kids pay for it?  Imagine college without having to pay for textbooks.   That’s the whole idea behind Mesa Community College’s new Z Degree Program, or zero textbook cost program.  The two-year associates is completely online and students do not have to buy any textbooks.  MCC faculty said this will save students around $8,500 over two years. So how do they do it? https://www.azfamily.com/shows/cbs_5_this_morning/originals/college-without-paying-for-textbooks-it-s-possible/article_5f0f245e-67c6-11e9-96d7-931bc5a49513.html

Push for free books at NMC - PATTI BRANDT BURGESS, Record-Eagle

Students spend hundreds of dollars on textbooks — an estimated $1,200 per year. About $3 billion of financial aid money is spent nationwide on textbooks every year, according to a Student Public Interest Research Group study. It's money students could spend on tuition for an additional class, for childcare, transportation, rent or even groceries, says Tina Ulrich, director of NMC's Osterlin Library. That's where Open Educational Resources (OER) come in. Any material that is openly licensed and is in the public domain can be used by anybody for anything, Ulrich said. The digitized material is freely accessible and can be remixed, revised, redistributed and reused, she said. It can be used online, or students can print it out. https://www.record-eagle.com/news/local_news/push-for-free-books-at-nmc/article_37a36f51-9149-5d77-9d57-0eb61bf7b4d0.html

Traditional Textbooks Make No Difference in Your Child’s Learning. Let’s Change the Model. -Tim Holt, ElPaso Herald

It has become obvious that the business model of printing paper texts is fast coming to an end. And while the above research certainly doesn’t bode well for publishers and adds another virtual nail to the coffin, there are game-changing organizations out there that are rewriting the rules of textbooks. Open Education Resources (OER) such as Rice Universities “Open Stax” project create college-level and AP certified digital textbooks that are free, sharable, and every bit as “authoritative” as traditional paper textbooks. The advantage of OER of course, is that no one single entity owns the material and texts can be augmented, reorganized, and rewritten to fit the needs of the user be it a single classroom teacher or an entire statewide adoption. https://elpasoheraldpost.com/op-ed-traditional-textbooks-make-no-difference-in-your-childs-learning-lets-change-the-model/

Panola College to eliminate the cost of student textbooks - Kassandra Merritt, KTBS

Starting next fall most students at Panola College won't have the burden of paying for textbooks anymore. The community college is transitioning to using low-cost or no-cost open education resources or OER instead of the traditional textbooks. An OER is either a textbook, video or other instructructional material that's open to the public or has an open license. https://www.ktbs.com/news/panola-college-to-eliminate-the-cost-of-student-textbooks/article_13d8a104-661d-11e9-abad-d366dfe23b6a.html

Provincial government pledges $3.26 million towards open educational resources - Emma Livingstone, the Ubessey

On April 17 at the 2019 Cascadia Open Education Summit, the provincial government announced $3.26 million in funding for open educational resources (OERs), including the development of no-cost, open-access textbooks. The funding will go towards The Open Textbook project, managed by BCcampus, to support the development and use of OERs in BC post-secondary institutions. “Open textbooks can be a major game changer for students because they reduce the burden of debt that students accumulate during their studies,” said Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark. https://www.ubyssey.ca/news/provincial-government-funds-oers/?ref=frontpage

Students showcase their language-learning materials - DAVID COLLIE, the Arbiter

According to Amber Hoye, director of the WLRC, the project started as a way to share some of the many materials that were created for world language courses at Boise State, especially with rural communities in the state that may not have much available funding. Although the WLRC has already contributed around 100 activities to the LTR, there are more than 400 that are still being added. What makes the spring showcase special, however, is the fact that the created materials being displayed come exclusively from students. This, according to Hoye, is a great moment for the students and the project. https://arbiteronline.com/students-showcase-their-language-learning-materials/