Monday, December 31, 2018

Open education can address Indonesia's educational inequalities - Debora Irene Christine, Jakarta Post

With increased attention to lack of accessibility and cost of education at home, as well as unequal knowledge production, the concept of open education (OE) offers an approach to enable a more equitable access to education and knowledge. It promotes openly licensed educational resources (open educational resources/OER) that allow free use, revision and re-purposing. OE’s aims to ensure education belongs to the commons, leading us to reimagine what underlying values of the educational practices ought to be about; how it might disentangle from increasing pressures to merely increase and produce performance, learning outcomes, competences and other instrumental ideas; how it could support those without formal access to education and enable lifelong learning; and how it could be inclusive, accessible, and designed to incorporate diverse forms of knowledge and inquiries.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Massachusetts has fastest growing public college costs in U.S., study finds - Shira Schoenberg, Mass Live

Massachusetts has the fastest-rising costs of public higher education in the country, according to a new report from the New England Board of Higher Education. The total cost of public higher education in Massachusetts is similar to other New England states, but it is rising at a faster rate. “If the price of attending college in Massachusetts continues to rise at the rate it has been, people are going to turn elsewhere,” said report author Stephanie McGrath, a policy and research analyst at the New England Board of Higher Education. “We don’t want to send our talent outside of Massachusetts.” The New England Board of Higher Education is a policy group that researches public higher education in New England and promotes collaboration between the states.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Free educational resources encourage student success at RVCC - Donna Stolzer, Raritan Valley Community College

In response, a growing number of RVCC courses have replaced traditional textbooks with open educational resources (OER), which are online resources that can be freely downloaded, edited and shared. OER not only saves students money, it also offers innovative instruction options for faculty based on the most up-to-date information in the field of study. Ten RVCC courses have been using the OER materials during the fall 2018 semester, and an additional five courses will be implementing them next semester. Most of these classes — such as Introduction to Business, Business Law I and II, English Composition II, Introduction to Literature, the Nature of Science, and Introduction to Sociology — are high enrollment, first-year courses. RVCC students enrolled in these classes have saved over $93,000 in textbook costs.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Lumen Learning raises more cash, aims to replace traditional textbooks with digital ‘open educational resources’ - TAYLOR SOPER, Geek Wire

Portland, Ore.-based startup Lumen Learning has reeled in more investment to grow its open digital education course material platform. The company raised more than $5 million for its Series C round, which was led by existing investor and partner Follett, a provider of course materials delivery to more than 1,200 college and universities.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

ACC Teaches Without Textbooks - AUSTIN SANDERS, Austin Chronicle

As enrollment for the spring semester at Austin Community College gets underway, the school is encouraging students to consider signing up for "Z-classes," which help make college more affordable by eliminating the need for costly textbooks. The courses cover a variety of subjects across a range of degree pathways, but they all have one thing in common: None require the purchase of a textbook. School officials estimate that the average textbook for an ACC course costs $100, and they can cost students about $2,000 throughout the completion of a degree.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

MOOCs paradigm and new possibilities - Digital Learning

The Open Educational Resources (OERs) can give valuable opportunities to Indian Educational Institutions to develop OER based MOOCs. It will save expenditures on development of content. The training of the Governmental functionaries, Village Panchayat functionaries etc are other areas of concerns which can be effectively responded through MOOCs. The educational issues are largely the same in all the developing countries and these countries can share expertise and resources to develop MOOCs. Furthermore it can become an instrument of Regional Cooperation in these countries.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

NDSU lags behind UND, Valley City in offering online textbooks - Kim Hyatt, Grand Forks Herald

The Office of the State Auditor recently performed an audit of how the state’s 11 colleges and universities are implementing online textbooks, finding that NDSU falls behind the University of North Dakota and Valley City State University in offering the resource. More than 250 courses at Valley City offer open, online textbooks, and more than 5,000 students at UND benefited from the resource by not having to buy a physical textbook. Open textbooks are available through an online database that is licensed to allow anybody with the right credentials, such as a student login, to access course materials.

Monday, December 24, 2018

Mid expands educational resources to help students - Midland Daily News

Fall 2018 saw 116 course sections use OER, resulting in 2,499 instances where a student did not have to purchase a textbook. OER efforts at Mid have saved students over $517,000 in textbook costs since they began. The fall semester of 2018 resulted in the largest savings total yet for students, totaling $283,900. OER is now active in math, speech, English, Spanish, psychology, physics, astronomy, and sociology courses. "OER is free to students, allowing them to focus on what is most important -- their education. Students really appreciate that we understand the importance of keeping costs down. They can spend the money they would use for textbooks on more important things," Long-Kish said.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Free educational resources encourage student success at RVCC - Donna Stolzer, Raritan Valley Community College

In response to the skyrocketing cost of student textbooks, Raritan Valley Community College (RVCC) has launched a pilot program to provide students in 10 different classes with free access to textbooks. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of college textbooks increased 181 percent from 1998-2016, compared to an overall increase of 51 percent in the consumer price index. Textbook prices are creating barriers to student success, forcing some students to delay or even forgo buying the required course textbook.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

16 OER Sites Every Educator Should Know - Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

Open educational resources not only save students from triple-digit (or more!) textbook costs, but they also allow instructors to mix-and-match content for a more personalized, engaging learning experience. Here are 16 resources that offer a wide range of content and tools to help implement OER in just about any course.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Open educational resources: the way forward - UNESCO

The Internet and the web offer opportunities for interaction that have tremendous potential for an organization such as UNESCO, which has a mandate for advice and action worldwide. International meetings, workshops and consultations are all means used by the organization to carry out its work in collaboration with Member States, but they have limitations in their capacity to include all those interested in the topic or activity at hand. The Internet offers an opportunity to reach further and faster than ever before. The tool is not yet perfect for the purpose – there are many who cannot connect. But the numbers of these people are diminishing, as are the costs associated with technology and connectivity. Over the period that the OER community has existed, we have been able to link many more people and institutions than would have been feasible through other means.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

OER Cost Assessment Strategies - Nichole Karpel and Bruce Schneider, EDUCAUSE Review

Seemingly, OER are good for faculty, students, and college administrators; so why isn't every college implementing OER as a priority project? The short answer is that OER cost is just the beginning. The planning, selection, management, and maintenance of OER can propel even the best of planning teams into a quandary of unknown variables and decisions that can consume considerable resources for a potentially favorable outcome. This article examines the decisions, challenges, and lessons learned surrounding the implementation of OER. Although users are permitted to revise OER, which brings other considerations, the amount of research in this area is limited, and we focus here on costs, selection, and maintenance of OER.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The fight to keep ideas open to all - the Economist

“THE ONLY way we can preserve and nurture other and more precious freedoms is by relinquishing the freedom to breed.” This ominous sentence comes not from China’s one-child policy but from one of the 20th century’s most influential—and misunderstood—essays in economics. “The tragedy of the commons”, by Garrett Hardin, marks its 50th anniversary on December 13th. The article, published in the journal Science, was a neo-Malthusian jeremiad about uncontrolled population growth. But it is remembered for the image that the title conjures up and for the anecdotes that Hardin used. The idea behind it is as simple as it is profound: a resource freely available to all will be used inefficiently. An actual common will inevitably be overgrazed. Who would restrict their cattle if other herders may not follow suit?

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Fargo Rep. working to expand open resources in ND colleges - KFYR

Open education resources have saved North Dakota students millions since 2015. Rep. Thomas Beadle, R-Fargo, says he will be leading the charge to expand OERs. Beadle says the audit only took into account classes which fully switched to open resources. The true savings he says is around $10 million. Increasing the amount the state spends won't break the budget. “This is an area that's tangibly saving students money. And so when we have the other budgetary issues that we're trying to work with, this an area where we can make a small investment that pays real dividends back,” said Beadle. The state spent $110,000 in 2015 and $150,000 in 2017 sessions for OERs. Beadle says he wants a bigger increase for the 2019 session, but hasn't settled on a number yet.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Faculty Selected to Participate in Materials Conversion Program - Ariel Romero, University of Arkansas

Four University of Arkansas professors have been selected to participate in the fall 2018 Open Educational Resources Course Materials Conversion Program, which is sponsored by the University Libraries and the Global Campus. Participants will create, adapt and adopt resources that will eliminate or greatly decrease the cost of course materials.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

From Affordable to Open: Evaluating Open Educational Resources

Mark Cummings, Editor and Publisher, Choice [The following is the text of a presentation given by Mr. Cummings at the Charleston Library Conference on 8 November 2018. It was delivered as part of a three-person panel exploring “The Library’sOpportunity in Affordable Textbooks.” Also presenting were Mark McBride, Library Senior Strategist at SUNY, and Gwen Evans, Executive Director of OhioLINK.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

BMCC Now Offers Textbook-Free Criminal Justice Degree - BMCC

Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC/CUNY) students majoring in criminal justice can now potentially complete the degree program without ever having to buy a textbook, saving altogether, an estimated $2,500. BMCC faculty have redesigned 20 courses to create an Open Educational Resources (OER) criminal justice associate degree. The effort was funded by a 2016, two-year OER grant from the organization Achieving the Dream.

Friday, December 14, 2018

OER Jumpstart Meeting / RÉL – rencontre de démarrage - Canadian Association of Research Libraries

The Canadian Association of Research Libraries invites academic librarians working in the area of Open Educational Resources to an OER Jumpstart Meeting to be held at Ryerson University Library on January 29th, 2019, just prior to the 2019 OLA Superconference. This event will be an opportunity for this expanding community to meet in person, and to learn about CARL’s new program of activities to strengthen the community of practice of librarians involved in OER, to build leadership capacity across this network, and to bring increased awareness and understanding of OER to academic libraries across the country.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

CALPIRG begins “Affordable Textbook” campaign - Highlander

On Thursday, Nov. 29, The California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) at UCR launched their Affordable Textbooks Campaign. The campaign calls for increased affordability and accessibility of course materials. According to Noe Torres, campaign coordinator for affordable textbooks, “the price of textbooks is increasing at three times the rate of inflation. On average, students spend $1200 a year and about 65 percent of students report skipping out on buying textbooks simply because they’re too expensive.” With the implementation of access codes, which give temporary access to course materials to those who purchase them, CALPIRG states that the affordability issue is growing. Torres continued, “access codes are essentially pay walls between students and their required quizzes, homeworks – they’re sold along with textbooks which not only make it more difficult for students to find cheaper alternative versions, but it also makes it more difficult when it comes time to resell those books and try to make some money back off of what you paid on them.”

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

CESA launches free open educational resources

The first, Carbon Management Awareness, includes a video outlining the issues that cause global warming and the importance of mindful of energy consumption. The second, Food Safety – Foundation Level One, drives awareness of the dangers of food poisoning, defines simple essential rules to follow and focuses on how to handle different types of food. Thirdly, the Food Safety – Food Safety Manual Level Two course is designed for people who are preparing and handling food and highlights safe methods of handling, storing, preparing and serving food. Completing the set, the fourth available course is Allergens and Intolerants – Food Preparation and Front of House Communication.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Open access textbooks help save students money, keep them in class, officials say - Sydney Mook, Grand Forks Herald

College students spend more than $1,000 on books and supplies every year, according to a recent College Board study, but a program through the North Dakota University System and UND is making those costs a little less daunting. Open educational resources, also known as OER and sometimes referred to as open-access resources, allow students to save money on textbooks through a free online textbook. The number of classes using OERs exclusively across the university system has increased from just nine classes in the fall of 2014 to 240 system-wide courses in the fall of 2017, according to a recent state audit report.

Monday, December 10, 2018

At one Massachusetts college, students are saving over $100,000 each year on textbooks. Here's how. - Shira Schoenberg, Mass Live

In her first semester at Holyoke Community College, Haley Woods spent nearly $1,000 on books and materials. "Myself and other students have avoided purchasing textbooks for a class because they're so ridiculously expensive," Woods said.... Now a sophomore and a student senator, Woods is a passionate advocate for OER -- and she is not alone. The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education recently launched a working group to make recommendations related to expanding OER. The state distributed nearly $500,000 in grants to schools experimenting with the material. "We're concerned that the lack of OER is creating really an equity issues for students, in which low-income students in particular can't afford the high cost of textbooks and other materials," said Higher Education Commissioner Carlos Santiago.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

For higher ed, investing in OER pays eventual dividends - Ray Bendici, University Business

Achieving the Dream’s OER Degree Initiative increased the number of students enrolling in open education resources-based courses. Open education resources (OER) provide significant cost savings to low-income students and strengthen instruction and learning, according to a recent study from Achieving the Dream, a national nonprofit that supports evidence-based institutional improvement. The study also examined, for the first time, OER-related costs and revenue for an institution. Developing an OER course averages $11,700 (including faculty salary and benefits), while developing a full OER degree program costs nearly $500,000 per institution, found the study.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

CLTCC to announce cost savings from use of open educational resources

Central Louisiana Technical Community College (CLTCC) in partnership with the Rapides Parish Library will host a press conference on Thursday, Nov. 29 to announce the college’s use of Open Educational Resources (OER) for transferable General Education classes and other first-year classes. The adoption of OER is a college affordability initiative designed to support the selection of no-cost textbooks for various classes and degree programs. These openly licensed learning resources include textbooks, media, videos, articles, and more students can access for FREE. Textbooks and supplies can cost students between $450 and $600 each year. In some situations, when expensive textbooks are required, some students never buy them.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Massachusetts Open Education – Achieving Access for All

Massachusetts Open Education: Achieving Access for All is a collaborative project focused on building capacity for open educational resources (OER) across the state. Leaders of the project include open education advocates from University of Massachusetts, State Universities, and Community Colleges. Open educational resources (OER) are freely accessible, openly licensed text, media, and other digital assets that are useful for teaching, learning, and assessing as well as for research purposes (​). This collaboration offers direct benefits to faculty and students at all 29 public higher education institutions in the Commonwealth.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Okanagan College professors introduce e-textbooks to ease student costs - Morning Star

An online solution to lower post-secondary students’ costs is spreading at Okanagan College. Professors are helping to turn a new page in the rising costs of post-secondary education by giving students free access to online textbooks. Open Educational Resources — also known as OER — are high-quality resources, often in the form of open textbooks, are available in digital formats and at a very low cost to print.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

When Your Textbook Is Free, That’s Amore - Meghan Kita, Muhlenberg College

The College’s introductory Italian course is the first to use a faculty-generated Open Educational Resource instead of a costly textbook. Most of the students taking Elementary Italian I this fall are first-year students. As such, they’re relatively new to College Textbook Roulette, an unfortunate reality college students nationwide have faced for decades: Will this semester’s bill be a few hundred or a few thousand dollars? Even so, Assistant Professor of Italian Daniel Leisawitz says, “There were definitely a lot of smiles on the first day of class when we presented the syllabus and said you don’t have to buy a textbook.”

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Conflicted Views of Technology: A Survey of Faculty Attitudes - Doug Lederman, Inside Higher Ed

Professors have no doubt: 83 percent of respondents agree (58 percent strongly) that "textbooks and course materials cost too much." They join 91 percent of digital learning leaders asked in this survey and 91 percent of college presidents queried in Inside Higher Ed's survey of campus leaders in March. A solid majority of faculty members (70 percent) also join campus administrators in endorsing one increasingly popular solution to the textbook price problem: open educational resources (OER), the freely accessible and openly licensed digital curricular materials that many institutions, states and foundations are embracing. Some institutions, especially community colleges, are trying to build entire degree programs on OER materials, with the goal of driving down nontuition costs and spurring degree completion by reducing the number of students who forgo buying their course materials.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Fargo Rep. working to expand open resources in ND colleges - KFYR TV

Open education resources have saved North Dakota students millions since 2015. Rep. Thomas Beadle, R-Fargo, says he will be leading the charge to expand OERs. The state spent $110,000 in 2015 and $150,000 in 2017 sessions for OERs. Beadle says he wants a bigger increase for the 2019 session, but hasn't settled on a number yet.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

‘Adopt technology in distance learning’ - the Hindu

Though the ODL system removes most of the geographical and age-related barriers to learning, Prof. Rao said open educational resources have to be created. Ajay Mishra, Special Chief Secretary, Telangana, advised universities teachers to focus on research that is qualitative, accountable and useful to the stakeholders concerned. T. Papi Reddy, TSCHE Chairman, focused on the ODL system, learner centric and skill-oriented programmes.

Saturday, December 1, 2018


“I think some people tend to believe that the President Dawood Farahi doesn’t want any physical books at all and it’s not true,” Croft said. “When people ask what can be done about the books President Farahi always responds with, ‘We’ll buy another one.’ …why would we throw out a costly collection? Why wouldn’t we just look at our collection and take out the lesser relevant collections?” Besides print books, Croft spoke of Dr. Farahi’s movement to get away from textbooks to help students save money through open educational resources online.“There are ways to get the instructional materials to students — sometimes physical, sometimes electronic. We can do both,” Croft said.