Tuesday, April 30, 2019

ICT Competency Framework for Teachers harnessing Open Educational Resources - UNESCO

In 2016, UNESCO created the OER Commons repository on the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME) website, where open courseware resources could be indexed according to the ICT CFT competencies and objectives. The ICT CFT Hub has a search tool that allows developers to search for, and identify, resources that would support teachers to acquire a specific ICT CFT objective. This hub contains collections of Open Education Resources (OER) curated by UNESCO and partner countries, which are aligned to the UNESCO ICT Competency Framework for Teachers (CFT). https://en.unesco.org/themes/ict-eduction/competency-framework-teachers-oer

Monday, April 29, 2019

OER planning 101 - BRUCE SCHNEIDER & NICHOLE KARPEL, eCampus News

In addition to the pioneers, there has been a myriad of both legislative and non-legislative actions that have brought OER to the attention of many higher-ed administrators and practitioners. And while OER may appear to be a “quick fix” for textbook costs, the perception that OER can be done for free is not necessarily the case, not to mention getting started is easier said than done. There are steps and considerations that can make OER conversion a project worth pursuing. The following considerations will assist in the planning and prep work to be done prior to launching OER. Building a good base for OER will help prevent missteps in the next stages. https://www.ecampusnews.com/2018/09/17/oer-planning-101/

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Boise State OER Support Grants

Grant funding is now available to encourage experimentation with open educational resources (OER)–course materials that are free and openly licensed. These grants are intended for projects that will grow our academic community’s awareness of how OER can complement or replace expensive teaching and learning resources. The funding is made possible by the Office of the Provost and will be administered by the Boise State OER Group. https://www.boisestate.edu/oit/2019/04/18/oer-support-grants-available-apply-by-april-30/

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Letter to the Editor: 'Open Education Resources' key to reshaping textbook market - Charlie Spring, LSU Reveille

In response to the previously submitted "Letter to the Editor" regarding underutilized textbook resources, there is no question that the outrageous price of textbooks imposes an undue burden on students. Forgoing purchasing required course materials can cause anywhere from minor nuisances all the way to major grade implications. But the problem won’t be fixed by what these large publishing companies are offering. The nature of the textbook industry allows several multinational publishing companies to completely dominate the market. Instead of completely relying on publisher-sponsored materials, there instead needs to be a complete reshaping of the market in the direction of Open Educational Resources. http://www.lsureveille.com/opinion/letter-to-the-editor-open-education-resources-key-to-reshaping/article_8bb1dfe4-626f-11e9-bf90-37d611e570c1.html

Friday, April 26, 2019

Three statewide OER/Zero Textbook Cost Degree Initiatives - CCOER

Many studies have shown that the high cost of textbooks presents a barrier to student success with a greater adverse effect on traditionally underrepresented low-income and minority students. An OER or Zero Textbook Cost Degree (Z-degree) is a pathway to a degree or credential where textbook costs have been eliminated or significantly reduced through the adoption of open educational resources and zero-cost instructional materials. These initiatives offer students significant savings in the cost of earning a degree and a streamlined pathway towards degree achievement. Join us to hear from statewide Z-degree project leads from California, Minnesota, and New York on the motivations for launching these large scale efforts, anticipated return on investment, and linkages with Guided Pathways and other student success initiatives focused on reducing equity gaps. When: Wednesday, May 8, 12pm PT/ 3pm ET https://www.cccoer.org/webinar/may-8-three-statewide-oer-zero-textbook-cost-degree-initiatives/

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Survey: Most Students Shop on Amazon to Save Money on Textbooks - Rhea Kelly, Campus Technology

Fifty-eight percent of survey respondents said they bought at least one textbook on Amazon, compared to 51 percent who shopped in person at their school bookstore. Thirty percent shopped online through another website, and 17 percent shopped on a publisher's website. In particular, students reported that textbook costs at the school bookstore are higher than other places: "School Bookstore typically charges 3x as much as ordering from Amazon or another site," noted one respondent. https://campustechnology.com/articles/2019/03/27/survey-most-students-shop-on-amazon-to-save-money-on-textbooks.aspx?oly_enc_id=2450C6053234D5W

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Student body president, vice president host educational material training - Jesten Richardson, Marshall University Parthenon

To equip Marshall University faculty members with knowledge and strategies they could use to find more cost-effective educational materials for their courses, Student Body President Hunter Barclay and Vice President Hannah Petracca presented a training Thursday in the Memorial Student Center. “The purpose of this training was to make the whole process that Hunter (Barclay) and I have been through together simpler and less daunting for faculty, because we have done the research, and we have done a lot of the number crunching, and we understand that it can be a daunting task,” Petracca said. https://marshallparthenon.com/20712/news/student-body-president-vice-president-host-educational-material-training/

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Survey Explores Faculty Behaviors, Perceptions in Teaching, Research and Publishing Practices - Tiffany Pennamon, Diverse Education

Faculty attitudes are beginning to shift around the use of open educational resources (OER), scholarly search engines such as Google Scholar and cloud-based data storage services, even though there is some divergence between their attitudes and actual behaviors in some areas. Those are a few findings from a recently released Ithaka S+R survey of nearly 11,000 faculty members at four-year institutions across the U.S. Younger faculty displayed a “substantial interest” (roughly 60 percent) in using OER for instructional purposes, compared to their older counterparts. However, older faculty tend to actually use and create more OER in their teaching, Wolff-Eisenberg said https://diverseeducation.com/article/143387/

Monday, April 22, 2019


The University of Kansas Libraries, in collaboration with the Shulenburger Office of Scholarly Communication & Copyright, are pleased to announce Textbook Heroes, a new initiative spotlighting KU faculty, staff, instructors and students who advocate for textbook affordability. Textbook Heroes are identified among those who have adapted, adopted, created or championed open educational resources (OER) and other low-cost materials for use in classrooms at KU. http://today.ku.edu/ku-libraries-announce-textbook-heroes-initiative

Sunday, April 21, 2019

New Report Highlights Trends in High Textbook Costs and Impact of Student Success - Florida Trend

For the first time, college and university students in the state of Florida are seeing textbook costs slightly trend lower, according to the Florida Virtual Campus' 2018 Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey Report. This survey is the fourth in a series of reports starting in 2010 that highlights the impact high textbook costs have on college affordability, as well as college success and completion. “While the cost of textbooks and course materials continues to negatively impact student access, success, and completion, we are starting to see a small shift toward affordability,” said Dr. John Opper, executive director of Distance Learning and Student Services at FLVC. “While colleges and universities have made progress at reducing textbook costs, there is still more to do.” https://www.floridatrend.com/article/26604/new-report-highlights-trends-in-high-textbook-costs-and-impact-of-student-success

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Open-source textbooks lighten students’ financial load - Erin Albanese, School News Network

OpenStax offers free open-source digital college textbooks, lightening the financial load for students. GRCC students are using free, open-source textbooks and saving a total of more than $3 million this year. Students Matthew Grotenhuis and Hunter Crum say the option takes weight off their shoulders financially, and they see it benefiting many of their peers. Plus, they say the easy-to-use, immediately available digital resources fit in with what they like and need as tech-savvy college students. https://www.schoolnewsnetwork.org/2019/04/09/open-source-textbooks-lighten-students-financial-load/

Friday, April 19, 2019

FlatWorld Studies Student Attitudes Toward College Textbook Costs - Flatworld

FlatWorld published a new study on college textbook costs and students’ purchasing habits. It is based on a survey of 368 undergraduate students who are enrolled in college for the spring 2019 semester and “reveals persistent negative attitudes towards textbook prices, a preference for used print over digital formats, and Amazon’s dominance of the market.” http://newsbreaks.infotoday.com/Digest/FlatWorld-Studies-Student-Attitudes-Toward-College-Textbook-Costs-130970.asp

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Is Anyone Happy about the College Textbook Market? - Dee Gill, UCLA Anderson

Buyers find the tomes heavy, costly and too frequently revised, while sellers might like to kill the used book market entirely. A working paper by UCLA Anderson’s Matt Schmitt and Tongtong Shi of Analysis Group, an economic consulting firm, suggests that college textbook publishers, if only they could drive a stake through the heart of the used book market, might enjoy profits 42.6 percent higher than under current conditions. Driving a stake through something, of course, is a widely felt sentiment when it comes to college textbooks. If you’re a student, or parent of a student, you’ve grown accustomed to paying $120 a pop for new print texts. There are potentially less costly or more convenient options to buying a new print volume and later selling it into the used book market: digital copies with no used-sale value; loose leaf format, also intended to discourage repeat use; rental copies (which help keep used copies off the sale market); and used printed volumes. https://www.anderson.ucla.edu/faculty-and-research/anderson-review/college-textbooks

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Get a degree without paying for textbooks? ACC says it's possible - Alyssa Goard, KXAN

Can you earn a degree without purchasing a single textbook? Austin Community College says with careful planning and their new Z-degree program, it's possible. The Z-degree program, launched in the spring of 2017 at ACC, offers classes that use free materials and open educational resources (or OERs) to save money. There are more than 400 classes at ACC now available with this option, so many in fact, that students pursuing an Associate of Science in General Studies or an Associate of Arts in General Studies can complete an entire degree without paying for a textbook. https://www.kxan.com/news/local/austin/get-a-degree-without-paying-for-textbooks-acc-says-it-s-possible/1917735278

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

New UT System task force tackles college affordability - Savana Dunning, Daily Texan

A recently formed UT System Task Force met for the first time last week, brainstorming ways to make learning materials such as textbooks more affordable. “We want to speed up, accelerate, build up the momentum we have to really lower the cost of higher (education) for students to make learning more affordable,” said Rebecca Karoff, co-chair of the Affordable Learning Accelerator Task Force and UT System associate vice chancellor for academic affairs. Although in its preliminary phase, the Task Force’s duties include a systemwide environmental scan to evaluate existing affordable learning resources and to develop a report with recommendations that increase the amount of open educational resources, or free faculty-licensed learning materials to be used instead of traditional textbooks. https://www.dailytexanonline.com/2019/04/10/new-ut-system-task-force-tackles-college-affordability

Monday, April 15, 2019

Sinema gets $2.5M textbook grant for ASU to help cut college costs - Kyrsten Sinema

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded a $2.5 million grant to Arizona State University to promote open educational resources (OER) that reduce textbook costs for Arizona students and their families. Arizona senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema secured $5 million in OER grant funding in last year’s budget agreement. Sinema also reintroduced the Affordable College Textbook Act—legislation that formally authorizes the grant program. According to the College Board, students at four-year public colleges spend on average more than $1,200 on textbooks and course materials each year. https://azbigmedia.com/sinema-gets-2-5m-textbook-grant-for-asu-to-help-cut-college-costs/

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Alamo Colleges looks to expand free textbook courses - Janie Medelez, THE RANGER

Alamo Colleges was one of the recipients for Achieving The Dream grant in developing faculty adoption of open educational resources. OERs are free educational materials in the public domain and copyright-free. The materials range from textbooks to full course modules, syllabi, lectures and classroom activities designed for teaching and learning. OERs are created and then housed in their own repositories in which materials can be accessed; Corsera, Khan Academy, Merlot, Wikibooks, and OpenStax are some examples of unlimited resources available. http://theranger.org/2019/04/05/alamo-colleges-looks-to-expand-free-textbook-courses/

Saturday, April 13, 2019


Today, congressional leaders from both parties introduced legislation that could save American college students nearly a billion dollars on textbooks. U.S. Senators Dick Durbin of Illinois, Tina Smith of Minnesota, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, and Angus King of Maine, along with U.S. Representative Joe Neguse of Colorado unveiled the Affordable College Textbook Act to support the creation and expanded use of open educational resources (OER). These textbooks are free to download, peer reviewed and easily adapted by faculty. https://uspirg.org/news/usp/affordable-college-textbook-act-could-save-students-millions-pricey-books

Friday, April 12, 2019

Arizona State Working with Community Colleges in Interactive OER Pilot - Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

Arizona State University's Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College is working with three of the largest community college systems in the country to adopt the use of interactive open educational resources. The Consortium for Open Active Pathways, as it's called, will use technology to increase the availability of college-level educational materials, particularly in healthcare studies, a big component of community college education. The work is being funded by a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The other institutions involved are Maricopa Community Colleges in Phoenix, Florida's Miami Dade College and Indiana's Ivy Tech Community College. https://campustechnology.com/articles/2019/04/04/arizona-state-working-with-community-colleges-in-interactive-oer-pilot.aspx

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Psychology Prof. Tom Link named Pierce College’s 2019 Distinguished Faculty award winner

Pierce College One of the biggest ways Link ensures his material stays relevant to students is by using open educational resources in his classes. These freely available learning materials can be edited to fit the needs of each of his classes, while eliminating students’ financial burden of purchasing expensive textbooks. By using open educational resources, he is able to continually update content, adding new and relevant examples of core concepts as often as necessary. https://thesubtimes.com/2019/04/01/psychology-prof-tom-link-named-pierce-colleges-2019-distinguished-faculty-award-winner/

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

“Best professor” as voted by students addresses financial struggles - STEPHEN MURNANE, THE DAILY EVERGREEN

Carrie Cuttler, assistant professor of psychology, shares her care for reducing the cost of her classes through the use of cheap or free materials on March 21 at Johnson Tower. WSU psychology professor Carrie Cuttler has a passion for lecturing and supportive teaching philosophy. Cuttler was voted best professor for the 2019 Student Choice Awards by students. “My teaching philosophy is to try and be really compassionate and understanding of my students’ struggles,” Cuttler said. “Particularly their financial struggles and the high levels of stress that many of them face.” She offers Open Educational Resources (OER) in her course. Psych 333 is zero cost through the help from learning grants that gave Cuttler the ability to create and edit open textbooks for her students. https://dailyevergreen.com/52367/showcase/best-professor-as-voted-by-students-addresses-financial-struggles/

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Counselor’s Free-Textbook Drive Saving Grossmont College Students $1.3M - KEN STONE, Times of San Diego

This academic year, students at the El Cajon campus are saving nearly $1.3 million, thanks to the efforts of Dillon and other faculty members supporting the college’s push to sharply reduce textbook costs. A full-time faculty member since 2007, Dillon began exploring textbook alternatives after hearing repeated student complaints about escalating prices for books. When he noticed that students were taking fewer classes or even resorting to taking cellphone photos of pages from classmates’ books, he decided it was time to confront the issue. https://timesofsandiego.com/education/2019/03/28/counselors-free-textbook-drive-saving-grossmont-college-students-1-3m/

Monday, April 8, 2019

The future is open - SABRINA MACKLAI, the Sil (McMaster U)

With tuition and living costs on the rise, obtaining a post-secondary education can be extremely costly. One of the higher costs of education are textbook fees; a first year life sciences student can expect to pay $825.15 in new textbooks. To reduce the overall cost and increase the accessibility of post-secondary education, open educational resources were created. https://www.thesil.ca/the-future-is-open

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Colorado Community College System to Launch, Enhance OER Courses - Tiffany Pennamon, Diverse Education

Students enrolled at the thirteen institutions within Colorado’s Community College System (CCCS) will save millions annually as the colleges continue to invest in open educational resources (OER) that spare students the burden of purchasing expensive textbooks or course materials. Due to a recent $163,000 grant from the Colorado Commission on Higher Education, several CCCS colleges will begin expanding and implementing OER projects that aim to foster educational equity, improve student retention, completion and success and make students’ education affordable. CCCS’ grant from the commission is part of a wider $550,000 investment in OER throughout the state. https://diverseeducation.com/article/142130/

Saturday, April 6, 2019

What Are the Impacts of Adopting OER? - LumenLearning

The OER Adoption Impact Calculator helps you understand many of the potential impacts of adopting OER instead of traditionally copyrighted learning materials. The values in the Settings on the left are set to defaults based on the published research referenced below. Change the Settings on the left so that they match the situation at your institution in order to see how replacing traditionally copyrighted materials with OER might benefit your students and institution. The information below will update in real time as you make changes. https://analytics.lumenlearning.com/impact/

Friday, April 5, 2019

COCC saved students nearly $1M in textbook costs last school year - Jackson Hogan, the Bend Bulletin

The high price of textbooks can be troublesome for college students, but some classes at Central Oregon Community College have begun using free or inexpensive online resources to ease the burden on student wallets. The practice saved COCC students an estimated $964,360 in the 2017-18 school year, according to Open Oregon Educational Resources, an organization that helps community colleges and four-year universities adopt affordable or free online textbooks. The group said 773 courses that year used the online resources. https://www.bendbulletin.com/localstate/7025603-151/cocc-saved-students-nearly-1m-in-textbook-costs

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Best Sources for Free Digital Textbooks and More - Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

"Open" has become a definite thing. According to the latest public accounting, there were nearly 1.5 billion Creative Commons-licensed works in the world available for use in teaching and learning, including whole courses, textbooks, images, videos, quizzes, syllabi, lectures, homework assignments, labs, games and simulations. Given that abundance of materials, it would be no surprise if you were to feel overwhelmed and unsure about where to start your search for free curriculum to use in the courses under your care. To help out, Campus Technology has developed this list of the best sites for obtaining free (and low-cost) digital textbooks. https://campustechnology.com/articles/2019/03/25/best-sources-for-free-digital-textbooks-and-more.aspx

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Open-access chemistry textbooks gain popularity - Celia Henry Arnaud, C&EN

OERs of various sorts have been around for more than 20 years. For example, the American Chemical Society’s Division of Chemical Education’s Committee on Computers in Chemical Education has been running intercollegiate online chemistry courses containing open-access content since 1996. (ACS also publishes C&EN.) And the Massachusetts Institute of Technology launched its OpenCourseWare initiative in 2000, which made materials from all of the university’s courses freely available on the internet. The number and quality of the materials continue to improve. For professors concerned about affordability for their students, making the leap to OERs is something that more of them are increasingly willing to do. https://cen.acs.org/education/undergraduate-education/Open-access-chemistry-textbooks-gain/97/i11

Monday, April 1, 2019

Zero Textbook Classes Open Educational Doors - I-Wei Chang, Skyline View

Skyline Community College established a program that began during the fall semester of 2016 known as Zero Textbook Cost & Open Educational Resources. Through the ZTC & OER Program, it helps students reduce educational costs by providing free or low-cost learning materials. This program started because the high costs of textbooks create a barrier that impacts student success. The ZTC & OER Program started in 2016 when Skyline librarians created a presentation to bring to the attention of instructors and community members that students are spending a lot of money on textbooks that they have to purchase to graduate with an associate degree. https://www.theskylineview.com/news/2019/03/22/zero-textbook-classes-open-educational-doors/