Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Student senate working on textbook grant for faculty - Sarah Hollis, Grand Valley Lanthorn

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, college tuition and fees in the U.S. have risen 63 percent since January 2006. Many factors have contributed to this increase, one of which is rising textbook prices. To help lower the cost of textbooks for students, the Grand Valley State University student senate is partnering with faculty to create a committee that would work to fund a stipend to encourage professors to use or create open textbook resources.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Textbook costs need more than a textbook solution - McGill Tribune Editorial

Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Vice-President (VP) University Affairs Isabelle Oke is raising awareness about Open Educational Resources (OERs)—free, online educational resources developed by professors and faculty internationally—and encouraging McGill to contribute to these resources and consider them as a cheaper alternative to print textbooks. Professors, faculty departments, and administrators should follow students’ lead. It is time to innovate solutions to the problem of textbook costs, in order to relieve some of the burden from students.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Textbook bundles hurt college affordability for students, study finds - Ryan Dunn, Daily Orange

Bundling hard copy textbooks with online access codes can restrict a student’s ability to save money on the used book market, according to a study recently published by a higher education advocacy group. A “bundle” is a textbook sold with supplementary materials, such as an access code that unlocks online homework assignments, quizzes and tests. The study, conducted by Student Public Interest Research Groups, examined course materials for 10 similar introductory courses at 40 randomly selected four-year and two-year institutions. It found that of the bundles sampled, 45 percent could not be purchased anywhere beside the campus bookstore, locking students into paying the listed price.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Two decades on, open source still brings the world together - JASON WARNER, Silicon Angle

This past weekend marked the 20th anniversary of “open source,” a label that replaced the usage of free software but maintained many of its principles. Weeks before this relabeling was agreed upon, Netscape Communications Corp. announced it would make its browser’s source code freely available. On Feb. 3, 1998, a few weeks after the announcement, a group of leading software developers who included Eric Raymond, Jon Hall and Michael Tiemann, among others, met to strategize how they could continue the momentum of the news. At the meeting’s close, the group agreed upon “open source” as the label for the movement.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Citrus College OER Infogram

The OER Initiative at Citrus College is an effort to increase awareness and adoption of OER materials in alignment with CA AB 798 (2015). This research guide will familiarize faculty members with Open Educational Resources (OER) and the growing OER movement within higher education. Faculty can also use this guide to identify sources of high-quality OER for use in their courses.

Friday, February 23, 2018

OER program turns page on textbooks - Nora Thompson, Aztec Press

Imagine a world where textbooks are free. Pima Community College is getting closer to that reality by offering a number of online and classroom courses that don’t require students to purchase textbooks. OER textbooks, or Open Educational Resources, is a collection of materials that falls under Creative Commons licensing and is free for students and teachers to use. Creative Commons differs from the “all rights reserved” licensing that most textbooks fall under by allowing people to use the materials in any way they wish. The author doesn’t have to sell to a publisher, and in return, no one makes or pays money for it. The number of OER courses has been increasing in large part due to Pima winning the Achieving the Dream Grant, which allocates funds and resources for community colleges to start OER programs.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Nicolet College slashes textbook costs in many classes - River News Online

For many college students, there's no way around it. Textbooks are expensive. Students commonly shell out hundreds of dollars each and every semester for the required books. To cut textbook costs, Nicolet College recently changed the way it provides educational materials for many classes so students can get everything they need for free. "We piloted the program this past fall and we estimate that it saved students about $30,000 that first semester," Cindy Domaika, manager of Open Educational and Instructional Resources at Nicolet, announced in a press release.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

WVU students and faculty working towards affordable textbooks - Kathryn Ghion, WBOY

Some students and faculty at West Virginia University recently participated in a national study by the non-profit advocacy organization U.S. Public Interest Research Group called “Open 101: an Action Plan for Affordable Textbooks”, which looked at textbook affordability on a national scale. Those same members of the WVU community are also taking action to make sure students on campus have access to the materials they need. “What can we do better in the state of West Virginia and generate efficiencies and savings not only for students in higher education, but for the taxpayer in K though 12 education?” asked WVU Student Government Association Blake Humphrey.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Antioch College looks to cut costs in budget realignment - Max Filby, Dayton Daily News

Antioch College is looking to cut costs as the school aims to become financially sustainable after being brought back from the dead just a few years ago. Antioch administrators, faculty and students are putting together recommendations for the school’s board of trustees that will address budgets, operations and campus priorities, according to the college. The overall goal of the reorganization will be to “ensure the college’s long-term financial stability.” Antioch leaders will present an outlined proposal to its board of trustees on March 15, according to the college.

Monday, February 19, 2018

How Penn State student government aims to lower textbook prices, accomplish semester goal - Anshika Agrawal, The Daily Collegian

“We are trying to work with different universities in the state to address how we can lower the cost of textbook prices, whether that be using an older edition of a textbook or using online editions,” said Andrew Ahr, the UPUA College of Arts and Architecture representative. One of their initiatives involves lowering textbook costs, known as Open Educational Resources. “[OER is] a huge thing that schools across the Big Ten… are looking into right now because they’re trying to make a huge shift [from] print resources towards online, more affordable resources,” UPUA At-Large Representation Sophie Haiman said.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Opening the Door to OER - Fernando Bleichmar, Inside Higher Ed

Last year, my colleagues and I at Cengage spoke with nearly 3,000 instructors across higher education to understand how we can better support them in being the best possible educators. Almost three-quarters of them told us that what they need most is high-quality content for their courses. Their challenge? Historically, that content has come at a high cost to students. These costs have led to serious fallout -- one in five college students has skipped or deferred a class due to cost of course materials. Even more alarming: 27 percent of students never purchase course materials, which puts them at risk of low performance or failure. More than one in four students is not benefiting from the full potential of their educational experience.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Access and achievement: The growing momentum of OER - Barnes & Noble College

While many in higher education have long seen the potential of open educational resources (OER), the process of acceptance and integration into the academic mainstream has been slow. However, the movement is growing. More schools and systems are making investments in OER, and faculty are starting to see its value — both in terms of students purchasing their assigned course materials and the success they see in the classroom.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Open Textbook and Open Educational Resource Adoption Project - UWM News

UWM Libraries and the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning invite instructors to participate in the Open Textbook and Open Educational Resource Adoption Project, a grant for large-enrollment, credit-bearing courses. The average undergraduate paid $1,225 for textbooks and supplies for the 2014-15 school year. The high cost of course materials can impede students’ academic success, because seven in ten students don’t purchase a required textbook during their academic career because of cost. Recent research by Hilton, Fischer, Wiley and Lane shows that students do as well or better in courses where open educational resources are adopted.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

OER reaches ‘inflection point,’ and states are leading the charge - Emily Tate, EdScoop

Special report: Changes in policy, perception and technology are propelling Indiana, Michigan, Utah, Washington and other states to build digital libraries for open educational resources. After years of dabbling with open educational resources (OER), educators have finally begun to embrace the concept as a legitimate alternative to traditional publishing and licensed curriculum materials — and they’re doing it in droves.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Knewton Releases $44 Adaptive Digital Textbooks - Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

Ed tech company Knewton has launched a collection of digital courseware that integrates its adaptive technology with open education resources, with the intention of selling directly to instructors and students. Previously, the company licensed its adaptive functionality to textbook publishers for integration with their course content. Under the new strategy, the company noted, it could own "all aspects of the user experience" and "make a greater impact on outcomes and affordability." Each title in the new line costs $44 for two years of digital access.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Hancock College announces $40K textbook purchase, launches Zero Textbook Cost program - Mathew Burciaga, Central Coast News

Hancock College administrators promised Wednesday that the price of instructional materials will no longer be a financial barrier to student success, pledging to ease the burden imposed by the inaccessibility and rising cost of textbooks. Speaking during a press conference at the campus library, college officials announced the purchase of $40,000 in textbooks — about 250 required textbooks for spring semester classes — for the Santa Maria and Lompoc Valley campus libraries.

Monday, February 12, 2018

UConnPIRG works toward affordable textbooks and access codes - Lillian Whittaker, Daily Campus

Student activist group UConnPIRG will increase their efforts this semester in their “Action Plan for Affordable Textbooks” campaign, which advocates for affordable class materials like open educational resources, by engaging with professors and the greater University of Connecticut community. “Our goal for the (end of the) semester is we are trying to do four to five department presentation on national findings on textbooks statistics and sources professors have on the university,” Kharl Reynado, state board chair of UConnPIRG students, Affordable Textbooks campaign coordinator and sixth-semester economics and human rights major, said.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Amazon’s Newest Hire Could Have a Big Impact on Online Open Education Resources - Leigh Buehler-Rappold, In Cyberdefense

In an effort to expand its workforce, Amazon has hired Candace Thille to work with its Global Learning Development Team and create an innovative learning workplace. Thille is a pioneer in learning science and open educational delivery. The details of Thille’s new position are still being worked out, so it is difficult to say exactly what she will do at Amazon. However, considering Amazon’s business relies heavily on data analytics and unremitting experimentation, it makes sense that this giant retailer would look to a learning scientist to advance its workforce training.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Canada's BC Campus - Open Educational Resources

BCcampus Executive Director Mary Burgess says their work in Open has been effective because they have addressed various concerns and customized their messaging. “As much as we focus on working with students, we’ve also done a lot of work on the academic side with peer reviews of the work so the quality question is ruled out as soon as they have a look at the book,” Burgess says. While the appeal of OER for students is the price, she knows to emphasize pedagogical freedom and control of resources to faculty. Talking to administrators, the pitch for Open highlights statistics showing students using open textbooks stay enrolled in courses longer.

Friday, February 9, 2018

New study reveals way to save billions on textbooks By Douglas Soule, the Daily A

U.S. PIRG researched forty schools across the United States and said "students students spent an average of $153 per course in our study." Textbook and supply costs have risen by 1,041 percent in forty years, according to the study’s analysis of Bureau of Labor Statistics data. "Previous research has shown that 65 percent of students have skipped buying the book at some point because of cost," Vitez said during a phone conference on Friday. If these forty colleges used open educational resources, or OER, in 10 core courses, students would save $13 million in a single semester, according to the study. If every college in the United States switched 10 classes to OER, students would save $1.5 billion annually.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

'Z-degree' gives texts for free to Central Lakes College students - Maura Lerner, Star Tribune

At Minnesota state colleges, students spend an average of $1,000 a year on textbooks alone. But in Brainerd, they can earn a two-year degree without paying a penny for books. Central Lakes College has joined a growing national movement to ditch pricey textbooks in favor of material that can be found online for free.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Addressing textbook affordability at Mac: campaign sparks discussion about Open Educational Resources - CASSIDY BERESKIN, the Sil

From Jan. 7 to 20, hundreds of McMaster students participated in #TextbookBroke, a campaign spearheaded by the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance aimed at addressing and opening dialogue about textbook affordability. The McMaster Students Union ran the campaign alongside the McMaster University Campus Store, and asked students to tweet pictures of their textbook receipts using the hashtag, “#TextbookBroke”. To address the rising costs of textbooks, OUSA proposes that faculty instructors adopt open educational resources, which are free, openly licensed or public domain online textbooks and course resources that they can develop, share and modify.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Why Students Are Still Spending So Much for College Textbooks - LAURA MCKENNA, the Atlantic

Along with the traditional textbooks, many college classes now require students to purchase access codes—which cost $100 on average—to online platforms created by publishers such as McGraw-Hill and Pearson. Homework and quizzes are hidden on the platforms behind paywalls that expire after the semester, meaning students can’t resell them once they’re done with the course. The fact that they’re becoming omnipresent on some campuses speaks to instructors’ enthusiasm for them. But as demonstrated in a new report by Student PIRGs, a collection of college student-run advocacy groups that works alongside U.S. Public Interest Research Groups, students are starting to question their merits: The access codes threaten to exacerbate the already-high cost of college materials, undermining the used-book market and reshaping the college experience. As McGrath put it, now “you have to pay to do homework.”

Monday, February 5, 2018

WashPIRG urges faculty to use open textbooks and educational resources to lower cost barriers for students - Emma Scher, The Daily

Representatives from Washington’s PIRG ­— better known around the UW campus as WashPIRG — took to the steps of Red Square on the morning of Jan. 25 to spread awareness of the report’s findings. WashPIRG chapter chair Madison Longbottom explained how students can get cornered into paying full price for textbooks. “Textbook companies know that they can charge students whatever they’d like and that students have to buy the coursebook,” Longbottom said. “If a faculty member doesn’t have an option to assign [an OER] then the student won’t get to use it.” Open educational resources (OERs) are high-quality and peer-reviewed teaching and learning materials that are free to the public and can be repurposed to suit the needs of both students and instructors. Although OERs are not available for every course and subject, they are a cost-effective alternative for some expensive textbooks, especially in standard, introductory courses.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Oregon students and faculty rally to tackle texbook costs - Ronald Clark, Kezi

Students and faculty at Lane Community College (LCC) in Eugene held a press conference Thursday morning to present their investigative report entitled "Open 101: an Action Plan for Affordable Textbooks." Sabrina Najaf-Pir, along with Lucas Gutterman, and Meggie Wright spearheaded the press conference by pointing out multiple different sources identified in the report that provide free online material to students. To produce the study, the United States Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) and Oregon State Public Interest Research Group (OSPIRG) collected data from 40 public and private non-profit two and four year colleges.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Recasting Leadership in the Open-source Era - Knowledge@Wharton, UPenn

If you look at what technology has done in the last five to six years with the way we live at home and at work, there are two major things. One, ordinary people today are much more empowered than ever before because everybody has a super-computer in their pocket.... Leadership today has to be about a burning desire to create a better future and to not give up in the resistance that you’re going to face when you decide to do something different.

Friday, February 2, 2018

How to Revolutionize the University to Prepare Students for a World in Flux, - Cathy N. Davidson - Times Higher Education

Davidson devotes two chapters to steering a careful path between the Scylla and Charybdis of techno-phobia and techno-philia, offers good advice on harnessing open access resources (including massive open online courses and Wikipedia) and shares insights into how to broaden the teaching of subjects in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, all with the objective of improving the life chances of millennials. She approvingly quotes Arizona State president Michael Crow in defining a public purpose for the New American University measured “not by whom it excludes, but by whom it includes and how they succeed”.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Brandeis University Faculty Grants for Affordable and Open Educational Resources - Brandeis University

To address the high costs of textbooks and other academic resources, the Library and the Center for Teaching & Learning are sponsoring grants for faculty who are interested in incorporating open and affordable educational resources into their courses. Grant applications are due February 18, 2018. Grants will be awarded in amounts from $500-$1,000. These funds can support a variety of efforts towards the reduction of costly course material.