Wednesday, January 31, 2018

NECC employees helping students cut costs - Mike LaBella, Eagle Tribune

A statewide initiative, designed by two Northern Essex Community College professionals that has saved 9,000 college students at 14 Massachusetts community colleges more than $1.2 million just this academic year, has been selected as a finalist for the prestigious 2018 Bellwether Award. The Massachusetts Community Colleges Go Open project was launched in 2016 by NECC’s Jody Carson, an early childhood education professor, and Susan (Behan) Tashjian, an instructional designer in the Center for Instructional Technology, to address the increasing costs of college textbooks.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

5 ways to get started with OER - ANDREW MARCINEK, eSchool News

Interested in the open educational resources (OER) movement? Here's why and how to jump on board. It has been almost three years since the launch of the United States Department of Education’s #GoOpen movement. If you are late to the #GoOpen party, it is the commitment to expand and accelerate the use of openly licensed educational resources in schools across the country.

Monday, January 29, 2018

10 Years After International Accord, 5 Ways Education Will Become More Open in the Next Decade - Melissa Hagemann, the 74

A lot has changed since 2008. That was the year when Apple launched the App Store and WALL-E wowed audiences. It was also the year when open educational resources truly began to gain ground, thanks to the Cape Town Open Education Declaration, released January 22 of that year. Ten years later, open educational resources have come a long way. OER — open-resource technology and teaching materials that are freely available to download, edit, and share — are increasingly being used in K-12 classrooms and college courses around the world. Educators are embracing the flexibility and customizability of OER, and they’re tailoring high-quality open resources to their students’ individual needs. Students are benefiting from not only reduced costs of instructional materials, but also more imaginative, collaborative, and engaging educational experiences that OER enable.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Free textbooks initiative aims for state legislature - Jakob Rodriguez, Texas State Star

Last semester, Student Government launched an initiative to bring Open Education Resources to Texas State. Initially scheduled to be implemented spring 2018, the initiative now joins an advocacy group as an agenda for the next state legislative session. OERs, such as textbooks, study guides, homework and other academic resources, are defined as freely accessible, openly licensed text, media and other digital assets that are utilized for classroom, homework, research and lecture purposes. The initiative was brought before Student Government on first reading, Oct. 9. Since then, Student Government has worked alongside other student governments in the Texas Student Government Coalition, an advocacy group comprised of 25 Student Governments and represents over 600,000 students. Texas State Student Government plans to advocate for open-source textbooks during the 86th Texas legislative session.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

OER State Policy Playbook - SPARC

Today, SPARC released the OER State Policy Playbook, a new resource to support state-level advocacy in the U.S. The Playbook provides policy recommendations for state legislators interested in tackling college affordability through Open Educational Resources (OER). Our partners at Creative Commons USA released a companion resource, the OER State Legislative Guide, which provides detailed commentary on existing legislation.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Math, CS lead in adopting open education resources at UBC - University of British Columbia

While textbook spending is increasing at the University of British Columbia, the number of students enrolled in courses using open or freely available resources is also increasing. According to a new report from the UBC Centre for Teaching, Learning and Technology (CTLT), the estimated number of students impacted by so-called ‘open textbook displacements’ in academic year 2017 was 14,831, 21 percent more than in 2016. Across the University, roughly 85 per cent of the courses using open resources are within the Faculty of Science, with instructors in the departments of Math and Computer Science leading adoption.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Pearson shares drop on gloomy outlook for US college textbook market - Alys Key, City AM

Publishing group Pearson was among the companies leading a fall in the FTSE 100 this morning, after it issued a trading statement. While the firm said its profits would reach the top end of guidance at as much as £606m, it revealed it was still grappling with the US textbook sector. Sales in the unit dropped three per cent in the nine months to the end of 2017. This contributed to a four per cent decline in North American and the overall two per cent drop in underlying revenues. The group only expects the US higher education market to get tougher, due to "lower college enrolments, increased use of Open Educational Resources and attrition from growth in the secondary market driven by print rental".

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Textbook savings add momentum to Oregon higher ed OER program - Patience Wait, EdScoop

The results are in: Two years after implementing an open educational resources (OER) initiative for Oregon’s 17 community colleges, students in three transfer degree programs spent 16 percent less on course materials, for a combined savings of more than $1 million. “Where no-cost and low-cost course materials information is available in the course schedule, the lowest-cost degree pathway offers an extraordinary potential savings of 75 percent over the 2017 average materials cost," the report detailing the study’s findings and methodology concluded. After new legislation passed last year, Oregon will be expanding its OER program to include the state’s seven public universities.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Report: OER Continues Moderate Growth Track - By Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

While open educational resources (OER) are making headway in higher education classrooms, it's slow going. That's what a recent survey by the Babson Survey Research Group found when it queried 2,711 teaching faculty members within U.S. colleges and universities. On the positive side, awareness and adoption have grown from previous years. Use of open-licensed textbooks has risen from 5 percent in 2015-2016 to 9 percent the following year. Also, awareness of OER is up by a third in 2016-2017 compared to 2014-2015. In the latest year of the survey, 30 percent of respondents said they were "aware" or "very aware" of OER; two years prior only 20 percent said the same.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Pierce College program saves students $1 million in textbook costs - Suburban Times

Thanks to the Pierce Open Pathways (POP) program offered at Pierce College at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, students have saved more than $1 million in textbook costs since 2015. Courses in the program use open educational resources, which are high quality, openly licensed learning resources used in lieu of traditional textbooks. Students in the POP program can earn an entire university transfer degree without ever paying for a textbook. Each of these online learning resources are thoroughly vetted by Pierce College officials to find the highest quality material available for each course.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Saturday, January 20, 2018

DLNchat: Open Educational Resources (OER) in Higher Ed - Michael Sano, EdSurge

Can open educational resources, or OER, truly create more equity and access? That was the question at the heart of our #DLNchat on January 9, which centered around OER in Higher Education. Our special guest, Lisa Petrides, creator of OER Commons, kicked things off by defining the topic at hand: “OER are teaching & learning materials freely available for anyone to use. These materials typically reside in the public domain, or have an alternative copyright license, i.e. Creative Commons or GNU, that specify how the resource may be reused, adapted, and shared. To me OER is also about the democratization of access to education, and the pursuit and sharing of knowledge. And the ecosystem of open knowledge sharing is fundamental to teaching, to learning, and to equity."

Friday, January 19, 2018

Open Education Resource Initiative: West Hills College Lemoore - OER Consortium

In order to reach institutional goals, WHCL Academic Senate assigned a sub-committee with the charge of developing an open educational resources grant proposal in California (AB 798) and several key faculty have voiced their desire to move forward with this. WHCL has set a challenging goal of providing students with zero-cost OER courses for 100% of the general education transfer requirements for students by 2020.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

U Pitt SGB calls for textbook cost reduction - Madeline Gavatoria, Pitt News

At Student Government Board’s first public meeting of the semester Tuesday night, SGB President Max Kneis introduced and read a resolution calling for the University to expand the use of open educational resources, such as PDF textbooks. “[Textbooks are] just another added cost, so anything we can do to make college more affordable is a step in the right direction,” Kneis said. Vice President and Chief of Cabinet Krish Patel co-authored the resolution with Kneis and Sarah Grguras, who is on the PittServes advisory board. Patel became interested in the resolution when Grguras, a junior environmental studies and ecology and evolution major, suggested it to SGB. The resolution cited the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid, which recommends students prepare to pay $772 for textbooks for the 2017-2018 school year.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Registration is open for FLVC’s Open Educational Resources Summit - University of West Florida

Florida Virtual Campus will host Florida’s first Open Educational Resources Summit from Feb. 7-8 at the Hilton Sandestin Beach & Golf Resort in Miramar Beach, Florida. FLVC is a Complete Florida Plus Program, managed by the University of West Florida Division of Research and Strategic Innovation. The summit was originally scheduled for Sept. 7-8, 2017 in Daytona Beach, but was rescheduled due to Hurricane Irma. Participants will hear from Cable Green, director of Open Education, as well as other national and campus leaders involved in defining and driving OER strategy and initiatives.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

OpenStax grows in popularity, but overall awareness of OER remains low - Corinne Lestch, EdScoop

Higher ed faculty are increasingly turning to OpenStax for low-cost, openly licensed printed and digital materials for their students.  The rate of college faculty using and assigning open educational resources (OER) through OpenStax currently rivals that of most commercial textbooks, according to a new report on the advantages and pitfalls of OER in higher education. The rate of adoption of textbooks from OpenStax — a nonprofit OER publisher based out of Rice University — among faculty teaching large-enrollment courses is now at nearly 17 percent, according to the report, “Opening the Textbook: Educational Resources in Higher Education 2017.”

Monday, January 15, 2018

As Campuses Move to Embrace OER, College Libraries Become Key Players - Jeffrey R. Young, EdSurge

Textbook publishers typically deploy sales reps to campuses to convince professors to adopt their titles. But who makes the pitch for free or low-cost alternatives to textbooks known as OER, or open educational resources? Increasingly, the answer is the campus library. Take the University of Texas at Arlington, which has a full-time Open Education Librarian, Michelle Reed. One project she led this year involved creating a series of videos promoting “Textbook Heroes,”professors who have replaced commercial textbooks in their courses with OER.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Propose a session for the 2018 Global Summit! - Creative Commons

The Call for Proposals for the Creative Commons Global Summit is now open! The deadline for submissions is January 23, 2018 at 11:59PM in the submitter’s timezone. The Creative Commons Global Summit (CC Summit) is an annual conference that celebrates the culture of sharing, providing a space for open communities to collectively grow a vibrant, usable commons, powered by collaboration and gratitude.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Are textbooks in or out? The state of open educational resources - Don Watkins,

Open education is a hot topic in both the K-12 and higher education spaces due to a number of factors, including the desire to make education more affordable. The cost of textbooks has added a tremendous financial burden to students around the world. In response, the U.S. Department of Education initiated the #GoOpen movement last year, which helped provide the impetus for schools and universities to consider the use of open educational resources seriously. One of the leaders in this rapidly changing landscape in education is Cable Green, director of Open Education for Creative Commons. I interviewed him recently to find out more about his experience. His insights provide an embarkation point for anyone seriously interested in this topic.

Friday, January 12, 2018

15 ways to empower students with open source tools - Don Watkins,

Recently I read the fascinating book Empower: What Happens When Students Own Their Own Learning, by John Spencer and A.J. Juliani. The book led me to think more deeply about my teaching methods and how I like to learn. I think learning should be exciting, and I'm happiest when I'm actively engaged in what I'm doing. Why wouldn't students in our schools want anything different than that? And why aren't we doing more to give that experience to them?

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Openwashing and the Half-Truths About Openness - Henry Kronk, eLearning Inside

The term openwashing, as defined by Audrey Watters, is “having an appearance of open-source and open-licensing for marketing purposes, while continuing proprietary practices.” Others, however, believe that openwashing refers only to open-source code. A marketing campaign or technology vendor, therefore, might use the word ‘open’ to refer to any number of qualities. Administrators, educators, and students, might hear the word ‘open’ and believe to mean something besides what they have read or heard. This may very well be the reason why a majority of college professors do not trust vendors who seek to bring their courses online and make them ‘open.’ When contemplating an ‘open’ educational resource or technology, therefore, make the following distinctions:

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A Basic Guide to Open Educational Resources (OER) - Neil Butcher, UNESCO

Its purpose is to provide readers with a quick and user-friendly introduction to Open Educational Resources (OER) and some of the key issues to think about when exploring how to use OER most effectively. The second section is a more comprehensive analysis of these issues, presented in the form of a traditional research paper. For those who have a deeper interest in OER, this section will assist with making the case for OER more substantively. The third section is a set of appendices, containing more detailed information about specific areas of relevance to OER. These are aimed at people who are looking for substantive information regarding a specific area of interest.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

How to Maintain the Spirit of Open Source - Alan Clark, Information Week

Open source is a worldwide success, and with growth comes complexity. But most important, being involved in open source comes with the mindset that collaboration makes the world a better place. We must never forget that principle – and if we act on principle in some ways, but not others, then we forget the fundamental reasons why we’re here in the first place. Open source will always be the greatest development model of our time. We must never forget what it means, and what it stands for.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Making Textbooks Affordable

According to the College Board, the average undergraduate student should budget between $1,200 and $1,300 for textbooks and supplies each year. That’s as much as 40% of tuition at a two-year community college and 13% at a four-year public institution. For many students and families already struggling to afford a college degree, that is simply too much – meaning more debt, working longer hours, or making choices that undermine academic success. For more than a decade, the Student PIRGS have led the way in exposing publisher's practices that rip off students, championing cost-saving textbook options like used books and rental programs, and advocating for open textbooks as a long-term solution.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Open Stax

OpenStax believes that everyone has something to learn, and everyone has something to teach. Frustrated by the limitations of traditional textbooks and courses, Dr. Richard Baraniuk founded OpenStax (then Connexions) in 1999 at Rice University to provide authors and learners with an open space where they can share and freely adapt educational materials such as courses, books, and reports. Today, OpenStax CNX is a dynamic non-profit digital ecosystem serving millions of users per month in the delivery of educational content to improve learning outcomes.

Saturday, January 6, 2018


Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching: The MERLOT project began in 1997, when the California State University Center for Distributed Learning (CSU-CDL at developed and provided free access to MERLOT ( Under the leadership of Chuck Schneebeck, CSU-CDL's Director, MERLOT was modeled after the NSF funded project, "Authoring Tools and An Educational Object Economy (EOE)". Led by Dr. James Spohre and hosted by Apple Computer, and other industry, university, and government collaborators, the EOE developed and distributed tools to enable the formation of communities engaged in building shared knowledge bases of learning materials.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Textbook Alternatives Help RCC Students Save Money - Nanuet Patch

Rockland Community College students will save at least $150,000 this academic year thanks to the growing use of alternatives to costly textbooks. A number of RCC professors are using Open Educational Resources (OERs) in a variety of classes this year, with the use of the materials only expected to grow in the near future. A total of 31 class sections used OER materials in the Fall semester, saving RCC students $67,400 in textbook costs. At least 33 sections will use OERs in the spring, for a projected savings of over $83,000; that number could go even higher.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

OER Commons

The mission of OER Commons is to expand educational opportunities by increasing access to high-quality Open Educational Resources (OER), and facilitating the creation, use, and reuse of OER, for instructors, students, and self-learners. OER Commons reaches its mission through the following objectives: * Use: To provide a single point of access through which educators, students, and all learners can search, browse, evaluate, download, and discuss open educational resources (OER) that are freely available online. * Re-Use: To expand opportunities for those who use open educational resources to develop and submit high-quality content for others to use and localize. * Community: To broaden opportunities for educators, students, and self learners to exchange information about, create standards for, and otherwise define, improve and evaluate the quality of open educational resources available on the Internet.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

OER Had Its Breakthrough in 2017. Next Year, It Will Become an Essential Teaching Tool - Mike Silagadze, EdSurge  

This year, the list of colleges with “open learning initiatives” of various kinds has boomed, and much of that has been part of an essential drive to modernize their classrooms and push the cost of education down. For example, both the City and State University of New York systems are investing millions in OER. Ohio University is doing the same. Meanwhile, at least 70 OER-related bills were introduced in more than half the country’s state legislatures in 2017. And at the last ASU + GSV Summit in Salt Lake City there was a clear consensus across the entire industry, from traditional textbook publishers to online renters to cloud-based platform developers, that the pace of adoption in OER is only going to quicken in the months ahead.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Faculty Survey Finds Awareness Of Open Educational Resources Improving - Babson Survey Research

The study, Opening the Textbook: Educational Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2017 was supported by a grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, is based on responses of over 2,700 faculty, which shows incremental improvements in almost all measured OER awareness and adoption metrics. Key findings from the report include:

  • Faculty awareness of OER has increased, with 30 percent of faculty reporting that they were "Aware" or "Very Aware" of open educational resources, up from 25 percent last year and 20 percent the year before. 
  • Only 9 percent of courses are using open textbooks (includes public domain and Creative Commons licensed), but this is up from 5 percent last year. 
  • A majority of faculty classify cost as "Very important" for their selection of required course materials. 
  • Faculty report that their required textbooks have an average price of $97, and only 22% say that they are "Very satisfied" with that cost. 
  • Only a third of faculty report that 90% or more of their students have purchased the required textbook. 
  • The barriers to adopting OER most often cited by faculty are that "there are not enough resources for my subject" (49 percent) and it is "too hard to find what I need" (50 percent).

Monday, January 1, 2018

Measuring use and creation of open educational resources in higher education - Ross Charles McKerlich, Cindy Ives, Rory McGreal, IRRODL

The open educational resources initiative has been underway for over a decade now and higher education institutions are slowly adopting open educational resources (OER). The use and creation of OER are important aspects of adoption and both are needed for the benefits of OER to be fully realized. Based on the results of a survey developed to measure the readiness of faculty and staff to adopt OER, this paper focuses on the measurement of OER use and creation, and identifies factors to increase both. The survey was administered in September 2012 to faculty and staff of Athabasca University, Canada’s open university. The results offer a snapshot of OER use and creation at one university. The survey tool could provide a mechanism to compare and contrast OER adoption with other higher education institutions. Forty-three percent of those in the sample are using OER and 31% are creating OER. This ratio of use to creation is introduced as a possible metric to measure adoption.