Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Open Educational Resources are Eliminating Textbook Costs - Gabriela Villa, Mount Observer

The main benefit of OER is that it is saves students money, said Ellen Pratt, distance education and outreach librarian at MWCC. OER (Open Educational Resources) is defined by the Hewlett Foundation as “high-quality teaching, learning, and research materials that are free for people everywhere to use and repurpose.” “There is a push across the country to create degree programs that have zero course material cost related to them,” said Pratt, who has been working to establish OER at The Mount for a year and a half. OER is now beginning to replace textbooks in many classes.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

A pioneer in the development of education technology - Brenda Dionisi, University World News

If you want to discover how technology will change higher education provision in future, Rome-based International Telematic University Uninettuno, a wholly online institution, which claims to be a pioneer of educational technology, may be a good place to start. It has more than 25,000 students in 167 countries and enrolments jumped by 40% this academic year. It teaches programmes via nine languages – Arabic, English, French, Italian, Greek, and more recently taught in Chinese, Spanish and Russian. Its students learn in interactive virtual classrooms incorporating augmented reality environments such as Second Life. And the entire platform is used as a research laboratory to test and apply new software to teaching and learning – talking textbooks and 3D holographic technology are among the developments currently being studied.

Free Textbooks Are Not Always Free: New Study Analyzes OER’s Costs to Colleges - Jeffrey R. Young, EdSurge

When professors shift to assigning Open Educational Resources instead of publisher-produced textbooks, the move typically saves students money (and it can be a significant amount). But OER is not free, since it costs money to develop the materials, takes time for professors to evaluate and adopt them, and typically involves other campus-support services as well. A report released last week gives perhaps the most detailed accounting of the pricetag to colleges looking to make signiciant moves to OER.

Monday, October 29, 2018


I sometimes feel like I am fumbling toward more of an open education approach in my teaching. However, people like Rajiv help me believe I’m at least moving in the right direction and that I possess some markers to guide my path. The Critical Open Pedagogy episode with Rajiv aired while the 2018 Open Education Conference was occurring (#OpenEd18). While I couldn’t be there in person this year, I sure did get a lot out of the interactions that were happening on Twitter.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Bay holds ‘Free the Textbooks’ rally - JORDAN BECK, Daily Press

People studying and working at Bay College had an opportunity to learn about open educational resources (OER) by attending the college’s third annual Free the Textbooks OER Rally Wednesday. The event took place in the Hub, located in Bay’s Student Success Center.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Popular Course Planner Embeds New Search Tool to Help Students Identify Classes with Free or Low-Cost Course Materials - Civitas

Responding to student demand for ways to reduce the cost of college, student success leader Civitas Learning today announced the launch of new search technology specifically designed to help students find courses that offer open educational resources (OER). This would allow students to reduce costs for required course materials while still accessing a complete educational experience.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Kish College saves students more than $50,000 in textbook costs - Rochelle News Leader

The cost of attending college in the United States is higher than ever but Kishwaukee College is working to combat it. Many Kish faculty are eliminating and lowering textbook fees for selected courses through the use of open educational resources and inclusive access materials. Open education resources (OER) refers to educational resources available to educators or students without royalties or license fees; an OER has a unique license that allows for reproduction, and even adaptation, without obtaining permission from the copyright holder. Examples of available resources include everything from textbooks to videos and podcasts.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Washburn encourages use of open resources - WASHBURN REVIEW

Oct. 22-28 is Open Access Week and Mabee Library is hosting several events dedicated to free academic resources and to helping people find ways of getting information for free. The main event will be the showing of, “Paywall: The Business of Scholarship,” a free film about the need for open access to research and science, specifically in journal access. “It’s an open access film about… what they call the antiquated system, this pre-internet system [that] doesn’t work anymore,” said Amanda Luke, open access and public services librarian at Mabee.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Can OER Save Students $1 Billion? - Nicole Allen, SPARC

Over the next two months, SPARC will be working to collect information about student savings using the same methodology as 2013. We will unveil the findings at the 15th Annual Open Education Conference this October in Niagara Falls. The plan is simple. We are asking members of the community to report information on the total number of students (or more specifically, student enrollments) who have used OER in place of traditional textbooks over time. We will coallate information broken down by institution and academic year, and multiply it by a standardized per-student savings estimate. The goal is to collect enough data on OER use to add up to $1 billion in savings.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

VSU Pushes to Reduce the Cost of Textbooks - John Stephen, Valdosta State

With a focus on reducing the cost of higher education for as many students as possible, Valdosta State University is working to expand the number of open educational resources available to students. Open educational resources are free online educational materials available for anyone to use and customize. “VSU has offered open educational resources for many years, and the reason we’re encouraging faculty to work more in this area is cost,” said Dr. Robert T. Smith, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Our students are investing a tremendous amount in their education. It has become really hard for students to afford a college education. Anything we can do to reduce that tremendous expense is going to help students to persist and to graduate.”

Monday, October 22, 2018

EdX: From MicroMasters to Online Master’s Degrees - Lindsay McKenzie, Inside Higher Ed

Six more institutions are following Georgia Tech’s lead and launching affordable online master’s degrees with edX. Online learning provider edX this week took a big step into the online degree space by announcing plans to launch nine low-cost, large-scale, fully online master’s programs from selective institutions. The nonprofit company, one of the early providers of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, will offer the degrees from seven universities: the Georgia Institute of Technology; the University of Texas at Austin; Indiana University; the University of California, San Diego; Arizona State University and two Australian universities -- the University of Queensland and Curtin University.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Report Pegs Cost to Develop an OER Course at $11,700 - Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

According to a recent research project, developing an open education resources course costs, on average, about $11,700, to cover salary and benefits for the instructors involved. OER courses produced by individuals were half the price of those created by teams ($8,900 vs. $18,200). As the report covering the data noted, teams provided both benefits — greater confidence in course quality and faster time to course completion — and hurdles: They also took more time to coordinate the work, sift through team materials, review and comment, and work toward consensus. Those are a few of the results that came out of an extensive study examining the implementation of OER in colleges.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Report: Students Prefer Courses that Use Open Educational Resources - Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

Students like courses that use open education resources over their typical classes. In a recent research project, most (61 percent) reported that they experienced a boost in their learning experience; 59 percent said the quality of the instructional materials was better; 57 percent considered the caliber of teaching higher; and 54 percent claimed a stronger level of engagement. OER also made classes more affordable. Those results come from a study examining the implementation of OER in colleges. The work was commissioned by Achieving the Dream, a national nonprofit that works with a network of community colleges to help students succeed.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Online Increase - Amber Cecil, Eugene Weekly

Textbook costs are a large barrier for students, and reducing the cost helps make college more accessible for students of any age. “OER and low-cost textbooks save Lane Community College students over $200,000 per term based on a $100 national average textbook price,” Keene says. After speaking with Keene, it became clear that online classes are only improving over time. The technological advances, availability and flexibility of learning online are all things that students are craving now more than ever.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Bay College Plans "Free the Textbooks" Rally at Bay West - UP Matters

Bay College will hold its third annual “Free the Textbooks OER Rally” on Wednesday, October 24, from 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. CT in the lower level commons at Bay West. The event, featuring free food, soft drinks, and prizes, is being held to bring awareness and energy to Bay College’s open educational resources (OER) degree initiative. OER are alternatives to publisher-provided textbooks, software, and other course materials, which are often very costly to students. OER reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others. The shift to OER can save students large sums of money--potentially thousands of dollars--over the course of their college careers. Most OER are free digitally and very low-cost in print form.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

California students wrote a law to hold textbook publishers accountable for changes, rising costs - James Paterson, Education Dive

A bill drafted by students at California Polytechnic State University seeking more transparency around textbook updates has been signed into law, according to Inside Higher Ed, marking a successful end to a political science class project that could change how publishers announce changes between editions. The students were tasked with writing a bill that would help state residents but not cost the state money. Their legislation calls for publishers to prominently display changes between textbook editions on their website. The students opted to make the law voluntary in response to strong pressure from publishing industry lobbyists that they said could have killed the bill.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Does OER Actually Improve Learning? - Sydney Johnson, EdSurge

Even if OER is implemented, these ongoing challenges can prevent the kinds of learning outcomes that open education advocates hope to see. Some in the group shared ways their institution has fought to get around those barriers. One attendee said their school negotiated with their printshop to try to lower costs and keep print texts, while others have partnered with technology lending programs. Others are leasing Wi-Fi hotspots to students who rent devices for a period of time. “If you’re a librarian and you haven’t considered wifi lending spots,” a librarian from Arkansas said, “it’s not as scary as you think it is.”

Monday, October 15, 2018

A Course Experiment Tackles Textbook Costs - Lindsay McKenzie, Inside Higher Ed

Students in a political science class at California Polytechnic State University embarked on an unusual challenge last year. They drafted legislation to see if they could get it passed by the state Legislature. The bill became law this past summer. In the process, the students learned how lawmaking works and got invaluable experience on using the political process to push for change -- even if it's only incremental change -- on a higher ed issue close to their hearts. The students in the California Bill Project class set out to write a bill that would benefit fellow California students but not cost the state any money.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Website says GHC students get ‘best bang’ for their tuition bucks - DONNA HARRIS, Daily Tribune

“GHC continues to research and implement new ways to make the college experience at GHC financially stress-free, including efforts to eliminate textbook costs and providing free digital options,” he said. “GHC’s faculty have been working since fall 2015 to expand open education resources courses each semester. Through spring 2018, GHC’s faculty has helped students save roughly $6.48 million with offerings in 25 courses across 250 classes.” OER course conversions are aided by the USG’s Affordable Learning Georgia initiative, “which promotes student success by providing cost-free alternatives to expensive textbooks,” Jones said. “The new OERs don’t just provide free textbooks either,” he said. “Students also get video resources, software, labs and an enhanced textbook experience with hyperlinks to many other resources.”,20193

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Integrating MOOCs in regular higher education: Challenges and opportunities from a Scandinavian perspective OER Knowledge

MOOCs are increasingly being considered by universities as an integral part of their curriculum. Nevertheless, there are several challenges that to some extent slow this process, where the most important one is the accreditation challenges and financing. These challenges are particularly important in the context of universities in Scandinavian countries where education is mostly free. In order to gain more insights on the status of proliferation of MOOCs in Scandinavian universities and understand any specific challenges, we conducted a study by analyzing two sources of data: research publications and university websites.

Friday, October 12, 2018

OER shown to improve grades, not just cut costs - Corinne Lestch edScoop

The University of Georgia released a new study showing the benefits of OER. Open educational resources (OER) do a lot more for college students than just save them money, according to a sweeping new study from the University of Georgia. The study, which compared the final grades of 21,822 students enrolled in eight undergraduate courses between 2010 and 2016, found that students who were given OER early in the semester got significantly better grades, as a group, than those who were not. As part of the study, 11,681 used the commercial textbooks while 10,141 students used free textbooks from OpenStax, a major OER provider that operates out of Rice University in Texas.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Discussion and film viewing scheduled for Open Access Week - University of New Mexico

Open Access is the free, immediate, online availability of scholarship, coupled with the rights to use these resources fully in the digital environment. The complex issue has multiple viewpoints and is the subject of much debate in the country right now.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Teachers are using more online resources in the Common Core era - Linda Jacobson, Education Dive

Teachers are increasingly turning to online sources for instructional materials that align with standards, even though their use of textbooks has remained stable, according to a RAND Corporation report on changes in teaching since the adoption of the Common Core state standards.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

OER grants to save students money on textbook - Joe Garvey, ODU News

Hundreds of Old Dominion University students in introductory chemistry classes will save a total of nearly $300,000 this academic year thanks to funding from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia’s textbook-free pathway grant. John Cooper, the chairman of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, said each semester 700 students in the 100-level classes would average about $200 in savings.

Monday, October 8, 2018


OER come in many forms—from curricula to teacher professional development resources—and exist either in the public domain or under a license that allows them to be freely used, edited, or shared with others. These characteristics are what distinguish OER from proprietary materials: To count as OER, they must be both free and able to be reused, adapted, and distributed. Because of their adaptability, often under a Creative Commons license, OER provide a unique opportunity for educators to access learning materials, and then tailor them to the specific needs of their classroom. This is particularly important for teaching diverse groups of students. Where culturally responsive curriculum redesign must include funding to print textbooks that often fail to reflect student diversity and quickly become outdated, OER could instead be used to give students access to high-quality learning materials that educators could then continue to adapt as understandings of student needs and identities change.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

OER - Open Educational Resources: Big List of Resources - U Pittsburgh

Examples of OER include learning content (such as lesson plans, assignments, textbooks, exams, and videos) as well as tools for learning (like software for creating videos and websites, course management systems, word processing programs, and training materials). On this page, you will find some reasons to use OER in your classroom. On the tabs across the top of this guide, you can find resources for finding, creating, and researching the effects of OER.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Faculty Help Students Save Money on Textbooks - Greg Bobinec, Lethbridge Herald

University of Lethbridge faculty members helped save students more than $250,000 in textbook costs in the last academic year, by adopting Open Educational Resources (OERs), which are freely accessible and openly licensed educational materials in text, media and other digital forms that are used in teaching, learning, assessment and research. OERs give students a significant savings, with some spending up to $1,500 on textbooks during one academic year. Seven courses have been developed for OERs by mathematics professor Sean Fitzpatrick, who customized open-source textbooks in a way that makes them fit closely with the course. Students can download the OER for free or print it at low cost.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Award for Excellence in Open Education – Maja Krzic

We are thrilled to bring back the Award for Excellence in Open Education after a brief rest over the summer months, and we kick it off with our newest winner, Maja Krzic. Please join us in congratulating Maja Krzic, Associate Professor at the University of British Columbia, on being the 8th recipient of the Award for Excellence in Open Education.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Autism expert Saima Wazed speaks at Colombo meet on universal access to information - BD News

Saima Wazed Hossain, the chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on Autism and Neurodevelopment Disorders in Bangladesh, has talked about the universal access to information in Colombo. WHO’s expert on mental health, Saima spoke about policies for digital scholarships both for open educational resources and open access and disability during the panel discussion. She particularly highlighted the availability of technological resources in Bangladesh for people in general and persons with disabilities and how they are being integrated in the education system along with the barriers which is preventing the resources from being properly utilised.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

UCLA must support students by providing more accessible options for textbooks - PRAVIN VISAKAN , Daily Bruin

Bruins don’t have an easy time getting ahold of textbooks, with long lines in the Ackerman Student Union bookstore and per-quarter price tags. Textbooks take up money and time in terms of hunting for used book deals or waiting in lines. These issues are only getting worse. According to a 2014 report by The Economist, textbook prices are only getting higher, at three times the rate of inflation since 1970. Class sizes are also climbing, with an increase of enrolled undergraduates at UCLA of more than 4,000 students in the last eight years. The demand for textbooks will likely stay high, and physical distribution of textbooks will likely remain impacted. In other words, acquiring textbooks will only get more difficult. Luckily, you won’t have to fish your grandpa’s old textbook out of the attic. The university has an option that could ease students’ cost and accessibility woes: digital textbooks.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018


The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation sponsors OER Research Fellowships to do research on the impact of open educational resources on the Cost of education, student success Outcomes, patterns of Usage of OER, and Perceptions of OER. This is the OpenEd Group’s COUP research framework. The OER Research Fellowship grants are administered and supported by the Open Education Group. Below is a list of the OER Research Fellows; a list of their publications on the COUP framework is also available.

Monday, October 1, 2018

UT Working to Expand Open Educational Resource Options - University of Tennessee

UT Libraries has worked with the Student Government Association and the Division of Student Life to promote the widespread use of open educational resources—free online learning materials—to reduce the financial strain of purchasing textbooks. Nationally, the cost of college textbooks has climbed over the past decade, with the average undergraduate student paying approximately $1,200 every yearon books and materials alone.