Showing posts from November, 2019

CLC enrollment on the rise, bucking statewide trend - Theresa Bourke, Brainerd Dispatch

The community college has seen a 1.4% increase this year from the previous fall. Despite downward trends in enrollment at schools in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, Central Lakes College is moving in the opposite direction. “In fact, we have such a number of OER (open educational resources) courses that a student can actually get an AA degree and not pay for a single textbook,” Preimesberger said. “And we refer to that frequently as our Z Degree, meaning zero cost degree.”

We Support the UNESCO Recommendation on OER - Cable Green, Jennryn Wetzler, Creative Commons

As part of the drafting committee, Creative Commons (CC) fully supports the UNESCO Recommendation on Open Educational Resources (OER) on which the member states will vote at the 40th session of the UNESCO General Conference in November. We laud the multitude of national governments and open education experts engaged in the development of this international agreement. We look forward to collaborating with these governments and our NGO colleagues in the coming months and years to help Ministries/Departments of Education implement this Recommendation.

How a University Took on the Textbook Industry - Rebecca Koenig, EdSurge

Some economists say OpenStax and other OER producers helped to halt the decades-long rise of textbook prices, which, along with other supplies, now set the average undergraduate back between $1,200 and $1,440 each school year, according to the College Board. Feeling squeezed, for-profit publishers are searching for new revenue by selling colleges digital homework systems that charge students up to $100 for a semester’s worth of access. Since professors typically require use of these tools to participate in class, students complain that they are essentially being charged to turn in their assignments.

University of Colorado Hosts Open Educator Award - University of Colorado Bolder

CU Student Government and the University Libraries have joined together to identify and recognize CU educators who demonstrate exemplary use of open educational resources (OER) in their classrooms or teaching practice. Do you know a CU teacher who has implemented, adapted, authored, or shared high quality open educational resources? All CU educators, including graduate students, are eligible to be nominated for campus-wide recognition. Nominations will be accepted until 5 p.m. on December 20th, 2019.


Key to the college’s growing success in adopting OERs — or, more broadly, less-expensive course materials — is creating new partnerships across campus. To that end, Bates librarians reach out to individual faculty members, and professors know that they can come to the library with their own ideas. Meanwhile, staff at the College Store review course materials and reach out to professors if there are cheaper options available. The Bates library monitors the cost of course materials and helps faculty secure less-expensive alternatives, says Pat Schoknecht, vice president for information and library services and college librarian. The Bates library monitors the cost of course materials and helps faculty secure less-expensive alternatives, says Pat Schoknecht, vice president for information and library services and college librarian.

U Texas Arlington to Invest $500,000 in OER Grants This Year - By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

The University of Texas at Arlington is investing half a million dollars this year in funding for projects using open educational resources. That's the largest award by any public academic institution in the state specifically to support OER usage, according to the school. Since 2017, UTA Libraries has supported 14 OER projects with grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000, through UTA's "Coalition for Alternative Resources in Education for Students" (UTA CARES) program. The money goes toward faculty efforts to adopt, modify and create free teaching and learning materials that are licensed for revision and reuse.

MIT Reaffirms Commitment to Open Access - Lindsay McKenzie, Inside Higher Ed

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has published its final recommendations on how to increase the open sharing of MIT publications, data, software and educational materials. An open-access task force was convened in 2017 to update and revise MIT’s open-access policies. A draft set of recommendations was released in March 2019 for public comment. “Scholarship serves humanity best when it is available to everyone,” said Hal Abelson, Class of 1922 Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, who co-chaired the task force with MIT Libraries director Chris Bourg.

Grants Fund Higher Ed Projects Using Technology for Public Good - Sara Friedman, Campus Technology

The Public Interest Technology University Network (PIT-UN) has announced its inaugural list of grantees for its Network Challenge. Twenty-seven grants were awarded to 21 colleges and universities to support projects focused on training engineers, policymakers and social justice advocates on how to use technology for the public good. There are also projects focused on developing open educational resources. At Carnegie Mellon University, for instance, Professor Yulia Tsvetkov has received a grant to create open-access educational materials from her Computational Ethics course.

The case against course costs - Catherine McMillan, Duke Chronicle

Course costs pose a barrier not only to student outcomes once they’re in a class, but actively impact students’ self-determinism in the course selection process. Because of the imposition of financial restraints, a student may opt to take classes with more affordable materials. In an institution that prizes free reign to explore intellectually without barriers, this compromise that students are cornered into is unacceptable. This lack of consumerism can be attributed to the growth of shadow libraries—the “black market” of course materials—which bypass the actual purchase of materials by way of textbook pdf circulation, online databases and other sharing platforms. But it’s also a consequence of the general inflated costs endemic to higher education over the past few decades.

Nov 13: OER Impact Research

When starting an OER initiative at your institution, it is important to consider how you will measure the impact that OER is having on teaching and learning. This webinar will discuss the best studies that are currently out there, key research designs for institutions, lessons learned, and what data institutions should be collecting right now.

When: Wednesday, November 13, 12pm PT/ 3pm ET
Featured Speakers:
Phillip Grimaldi, Director of Research, OpenStax
Virginia Clinton, Assistant Professor, Education, Health & Behavior, University of North Dakota

Letter to the Editor: Rising textbook prices require support of Open Educational Resources - Eric-John Szczepaniak and Autumn Mueller, Lanthorn

College today is far more expensive than it was in decades prior. When our state college was founded, the state pitched in a much higher percentage of the overall costs. Now there is much more of a burden placed upon the individual student. This should concern us all. How do we ensure that the Grand Valley experience is accessible to all? One may feel hopeless when faced with a challenge as great as this. However, this is a time to work more collaboratively to better serve all students. This can be done with an intentional and university-wide strategic commitment to Open Educational Resources (OER).

Open educational resources - Ashima Sitaula, Indiana Statesman

At the 2002 UNESCO Forum on the Impact of Open Courseware for Higher Education in Developing Countries, the word Open Educational Resources (OER) was developed to define a new worldwide practice of open exchange of educational resources. This initiative to create commonly accessible freely adaptable material recognized as OER has gained traction.  A worldwide group of OER makers has subsequently appeared and organizations are integrating these funds into their methods of teaching and learning.

Op-ed: Textbook prices impose a heavy burden on students Textbook+publishers+burden+students+by+issuing+new+editions+of+similar+textbooks. Illustration by Pete McKay Textbook publishers burden students by issuing new editions of similar textbooks. - Pavithra Rajesh, Huntington News

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average annual cost for books and supplies for Northeastern students during the 2017-18 academic year was a whopping $1,000. Many students struggle to afford the cost of these materials on top of their tuition. Even with the option to rent textbooks or purchase them used, many college students consistently find the cost overwhelming.