Friday, November 30, 2018

7 Ways to Reduce the Cost of an Online Degree - Jordan Friedman, US News

Textbook-free online courses. How these online classes work typically depends on the instructor and the course design. Uranis says some instructors may curate a list of readings to replace the need for textbooks in a class. Some online programs depend largely on Open Educational Resources, or OERs, which are free course materials that universities make available to the public.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Open Educational Resources Bring Huge Cost Savings. Here Are 4 More Ways They Benefit Students and Teachers - the 74

As faculty redesign their courses to use open educational resources to achieve their objectives for student learning, they’re realizing possibilities for improving their pedagogy, including involving students in the creation of learning materials. For example, one faculty member using an open textbook in his experimental psychology course is asking his students to apply their learning by making contributions to the text. The students aren’t just passive consumers of what they read; they’re actively creating new knowledge.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Civitas Adds OER Search to Course Schedule Planner - Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

A new open educational resources (OER) search tool has been directly integrated into Civitas Learning's academic planning platform, letting students know if OER materials are available as they build their course schedules. Civitas' College Scheduler enables students to pull their courses from a current degree plan and block non-class times to generate all possible schedules.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Reconceptualizing Homework in the Digital Age - Matthew Lynch, Tech Edvocate

Probably the best benefit of a reconceptualization of homework in the digital age is that it makes it possible to personalize assignments so that the needs of each student are met. Teachers can access open educational resources and they can make different homework assignments for different students. Students can study the same content but at a reading level appropriate for their needs. They can also access text, videos, interactives, or practice problems based on their learning preferences. They can work at their own pace. In other words, homework can be specifically targeted for the student’s unique needs and preferences; it can be a custom-tailored suit instead of a one-size-fits-all approach.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Three Faculty Win Digital Learning Innovation Award - Edwin B. Smith, Ole Miss

Three University of Mississippi faculty members have earned a national award from Online Learning Consortium for advancing student success through adoption of digital courseware. Their work is having an impact across introductory writing courses and producing direct cost savings for students.Karen Forgette, Andrew Davis and Guy Krueger won the OLC Digital Learning Innovation Award for their project, “Addressing Access, Assessment and College Readiness Gaps in First-Year Composition: Personalized Open Educational Resources Courseware Modules at the University of Mississippi.” The honor includes a $10,000 stipend.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

6 Tips for How to Build an Online College Degree from Scratch - Michael Sano, EdSurge

As Gonzalez said, “Mobile compatibility is a must. People deserve to choose when, where and how to study.” UIC's Ed Garay (@garay) put it this way, “Quality mobile-first eLearning program delivery is, today, a requirement. eTextbooks, multimedia learning objects, OER, all class materials, organic (social) class communications, discussion, collaborative learning assignments—everything must be mobile-perfect.” That includes student services. Crisp reminded the group, “If they're mobile-learners, they also expect to be able to register, pay, and get help using mobile too.”

Saturday, November 24, 2018

A history lecture, affordable textbooks, and a mobile sustainability lab - Morgan Hughes, Boston Globe

Salem State University was recently awarded a $100,000 grant to make college textbooks more affordable. The grant from the state Department of Higher Education will help launch the Viking Open Educational Resources and Textbook Affordability Initiative. The initiative will support faculty who are designing open educational resources for students to complete readings and coursework, instead of buying a textbook. The grant will fund professional development opportunities for participating staff. According to a news release, the initiative is expected to impact up to 2,000 students in its first year.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Introduction to open education: Towards a human rights theory - Blessinger, P., & Bliss T. J., International Journal of Open Educational Resources

Education is recognized as a fundamental human right. Yet, many people throughout the world do not have access to important educational opportunities. Open education, which began in earnest in the late 1960s with the establishment of open universities and gained momentum in the first part of this century through open educational resources and open technologies, is part of a wider effort to democratize education. Designed for access, agency, ownership, participation, and experience, open education has the potential to become a great global equalizer, providing the opportunity for people throughout the world to exercise this basic human right.

Thursday, November 22, 2018

SLCC Math Department Wins National Award for OER Efforts - Salt Lake Community College

Salt Lake Community College's mathematics department won the Digital Learning Innovation award from the Online Learning Consortium, presented Nov. 13 during the annual OLC Accelerate Conference in Orlando, Florida. The award, which includes $100,000, recognizes efforts by SLCC's math department and the college's Faculty Development and Educational Initiatives office to incorporate free online educational resources (OER) into the school's math curriculum. OER materials are online learning resources that can be legally and freely downloaded, edited and shared. SLCC's OER initiative is dubbed OPEN SLCC.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Open Educational Resources: What We Don't Know - Regan A.R. Gurung, Inside Higher Ed

In the case of open educational resources (OERs) -- free course materials, openly licensed and able to be used and mixed with permission -- student learning and millions of dollars are at stake. As enrollment pressures and funding shortcomings continue to shape higher education decision making, many schools switch to OERs. Clearly, free is cheaper than alternatives. Clearly, more students, especially low-socioeconomic-status ones, will be better able to afford a textbook and even education in general. But are OERs as good as traditional, albeit costly, resources? It is too early to tell from the research so far.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Statewide Data on OER Savings - Mark Lieberman, Inside Higher Ed

North Dakota students saved more than $1 million on textbooks after the state invested just $110,000 to help instructors use open educational resources. Audit identifies successes and ongoing challenges. As of last fall, at least 650 courses across the system exclusively use OER, affecting at least 15,000 students. Auditors estimate that students saved between $1.1 million and $2.4 million in textbook costs during the first two years of the initiative. That savings number reflects only a portion of the courses that included OER: the actual figure is likely much higher. The audit also excluded summer sessions from its calculations due to lower enrollment numbers.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Open Textbook Faculty Incentive Program - UIC

NUIC is pleased to announce a second year of funding for a program that encourages faculty to use open educational resources (OER) as alternatives to traditional text books for undergraduate courses. This incentive program is part of UIC’s student success initiative and was developed in response to student concerns about the high cost of course materials. Many UIC students face financial challenges that impact their ability to achieve their educational goals. Studies suggest that the high cost of textbooks is one factor that affects learning outcomes and student success. Making free electronic OER materials readily available can help mitigate these problems.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

OER promotes student success - ELLIE ASHFORD, Community College Daily

Open educational resources (OER) not only save students money, they produce significant benefits in instruction and student learning experiences, according to a new study from Achieving the Dream (ATD). As a result, OER could lead to higher persistence and completion rates for community college students, the study adds. Students who use OER instead of traditional textbooks say they are “accessible, relevant and engaging,” according to ATD, which through its OER initiative examined 32 community colleges, including consortia of colleges in four states. The goal of the initiative is to help participating colleges reduce the financial burden on students and improve curricula and pedagogy by developing course pathways using free and openly licensed instructional materials.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Open Educational Resources at Community Colleges - Inside Higher Ed

Reducing the cost of textbooks is key for lower-income students. In today's Academic Minute, Queensborough Community College's William Blick examines one way to accomplish this goal. Blick is an assistant professor and electronics resources and serials librarian at Queensborough, part of the City University of New York System.

Friday, November 16, 2018

College of DuPage hosts Community College Open Educational Resources Summit Nov. 30

Educators and support staff will explore the issue of college affordability through the use of open educational resources (OERs) at a summit from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30, in the Student Resource Center, Room 2000, on the College of DuPage's Glen Ellyn campus, 425 Fawell Blvd. Aimed at Illinois Community College faculty, administrators, librarians, and instructional designers, the all-day event will feature keynote speaker Dr. Lisa Young, who will discuss using real world benefits to demonstrate the benefits of OER to students, faculty and institutions of higher learning.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

MCC offers use of Open Education Resources - Lowell Sun

Middlesex Community College is offering the use of Open Educational Resources, or OERs. The online course materials -- including lectures, homework assignments, quizzes and labs --are copyright-free or have a license that allows for free reuse and redistribution. Enrolling in courses using OERs can translate into considerable savings for students, according to Donna Maturi, coordinator of library services. MCC students saved $134,590 in textbook costs over the 2016-17 academic year through the use of OERs, she said.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Increased Access to Emerging Tech Key to Student Success - Sara Friedman, Campus Technology

In regard to WiFi, the report found that there is room for improvement in network access in dormitories, student housing and outdoors. This becomes especially important as more colleges move for print textbooks to open educational resources that will need upgraded networks to meet the demands of increased student traffic to access and engage with the materials.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Civitas Adds OER Search to Course Schedule Planner - Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

A new open educational resources (OER) search tool has been directly integrated into Civitas Learning's academic planning platform, letting students know if OER materials are available as they build their course schedules. Civitas' College Scheduler enables students to pull their courses from a current degree plan and block non-class times to generate all possible schedules. Then they can customize and visually review the results to set up the optimal schedule and minimize the number of "filler" classes they need to take. The new OER search technology was recently added to the Scheduler.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Lumen Seeks Continuous Improvement of OER in Two-Prong Approach - Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

A nonprofit that develops open courses has introduced two new initiatives intended to improve open educational resources (OER). Lumen Learning has launched the "Learning Challenges Leaderboards," an analysis of outcomes covered by OER where students have the greatest difficulty, as well as RISE and Shine, a community effort to improve the OER.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

$2.2M saved in textbooks and media - Nicholas Ketchum, Washtenaw Voice

Some college faculty, administrators, and trustees are concerned over the steep cost of textbooks, and they’d like to do something about it. During the Board of Trustees meeting on Oct. 30, Joyce Hommel, executive director of the learning resources division at the Bailey Library, showed the board how the college is working to offer free alternatives to students who are unable (or unwilling) to purchase textbooks due to cost. “Open Educational Resources,” or OER, are openly-licensed textbooks (as well as other types of media) offered at no-cost to help make learning, teaching, and research more accessible. “We wanted our students to be able to have free or lower-cost textbooks… so students would have higher success rates,” Hommel said at the meeting. She said that standard textbook costs often range between $30 and $300 for a single book; and some of the more specialized books surpass $400.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

U of T Libraries hires first Wikipedian in Residence - ILYA BA√ĎARES, the Star

Alex Jung, an MA candidate in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto, is the institution’s first Wikipedian in Residence. It’s a new role. “The purpose behind the position, ultimately, is to go where our community is,” said Jesse Carliner, Communications Librarian. “Everybody, whether they admit to it or not, uses Wikipedia as a starting point for their research if they don’t know anything about a topic.”

Friday, November 9, 2018

A Survey I’d Like to See: A different question on OER. - Matt Reed, Inside Higher Ed

There’s plenty to chew on in the latest IHE poll about college faculty attitudes about technology, OER, and assessment. (Least surprising finding: skepticism about assessment remains strong.) But at least in the OER section, it strikes me that we need to ask a different question. Anecdotally, several faculty here who’ve adopted OER for their classes have reported pleasant surprise at finding that more students actually do the reading.  That tends to result in better class discussions, for obvious reasons, as well as better student performance on tests and papers. They reported that the difference stems mostly from two factors, one obvious and one surprising.  The obvious one was the elimination of cost as a barrier. The surprising one, at least for me, was that having everything in easy electronic form -- without any DRM hampering access, and sufficiently platform-agnostic that it could be read on almost any device -- made it easier for students to sneak a couple of minutes of reading at a time at work.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Open access week on campus and resource accessibility - Brock Press

One of the biggest reasons for students to push for open access resources is to ease financial constraints that many face with course materials. This also applies for students who plan to be involved in research in the future and will need to interact with journals and previously published manuscripts. With many students already dreading paying back student loans, open access resources are used to lighten the financial burden.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Is Open Content Enough? Where OER Advocates Say the Movement Must Go Next - Sydney Johnson, EdSurge

Kent McGuire, director of the Education Program at William and Flora Hewlett Foundation:  [Technology] will continue to move and we’ve no choice but to try to keep pace with the affordances that technology brings. But as you move from the technical to the social, cultural and political dimensions of this movement to open things up pedagogically, that stuff feels both harder, more multi-faceted and more important to get at. If we only get at the technical stuff, I worry about whether or not the divides and the variation and the stratification in access and outcomes don’t actually get magnified.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

OER is Growing at Religious Colleges, But Raises Unique Challenges - Sydney Johnson, EdSurge

Hoffman recently brought her question to the gathering of open education resource users and advocates at the OpenEd conference in Niagara Falls, NY earlier this month. She and her colleague John Robertson, a digital education librarian, sought advice on how faculty at a religious college could add religious components to an existing OER textbook and then share that back with the OER community, without having it perceived as ulteriorly motivated. The critical part, Hoffman says, is “really trying to clarify what it is that you are sharing back.” Something added in for one faith may not work for another denomination, she added.

Monday, November 5, 2018


ESU is joining the movement to decrease student debt by providing them with Open Educational Resources (OER). OER are free physical and online textbooks, modules, tests, and other educational material needed for students to obtain knowledge within their course. OER are free of cost for both, students and Universities, making it a win-win situation all around. Universities across the nation have been OER for their students, and ESU faculty is looking to increase the use of these textbooks within campus.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

3 THINGS WE STILL DON’T KNOW ABOUT OER - Henry Kronk, eLearning Inside

Turbulence continues to ripple through the higher education textbook market. While Pearson has shed their once-profitable instructional supplement wing, Cengage has pivoted to a subscription model, and numerous smaller companies have sought to capture a section of this disrupted sector. Earlier in October, the Department of Education awarded the first grant of the newly legislated Open Textbooks Pilot Program to the University of California, Davis to develop openly licensed educational resources (OER) for its students. All this comes as a response to the previously unchecked rise in college textbooks, which has outpaced the rate of inflation many times over during the past decade.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Open Education Resources - Queens University Library

Open Education Resources are freely accessible, openly licenced, and can be adapted or re-used depending on requirements. They provide benefits such as increased affordability of education for students, and greater flexibility for instructors. Last year funding was issued by the Open and Affordable Course Materials Working Group, and supported by the Provost's Advisory Committee on Teaching and Learning to facilitate the creation of open educational resources here at Queen's. Three new open textbooks were created and according to last year's authors' estimates approximately $56,000 of savings per year were realized for Queen's students.

Friday, November 2, 2018

A Message to College Leaders: Don’t Overlook Resources Right Under Your Nose - Goldie Blumenstyk, Chronicle of Higher Ed

More and more institutions and instructors are now eschewing textbooks in favor of course materials that they can use free of charge, edit, and remix with other sources. I was especially eager to highlight this trend because of some recent studies showing how OER is becoming a force for affordability (this study,for example, looked at two years of OER at 38 community colleges and found that students saved between $66 and $121 per course), and for better educational outcomes (this study highlighted that lower-income students at the University of Georgia performed better academically thanks to OER).

Thursday, November 1, 2018

OER courses can boost engagement, new study says - LAURA ASCIONE, eCampus News

Creating OER courses and degrees is often time-consuming, but instructors in several community colleges said they changed their instruction as a direct result of working with the open materials. Using OER materials helped the instructors align materials better with learning goals, and instructors who were already using student-centered and hands-on learning strategies said the materials helped them enhance their practices. Some instructors also saw students engaging more with the materials than with textbooks, possibly because they are more relevant and students can be involved in creating their learning experience.