Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Freedom Learning Group and Instructure Partner on Course Catalog and OER Developed by Military Spouses - Cision

Freedom Learning Group has partnered with Instructure to launch "Mission: OER," an innovative program that deploys U.S. military spouses to scale development of high quality digital OER courseware, based on industry best practices, published under an open license, and available for educators to use, repurpose, and share directly from Instructure's Canvas Learning Management Platform. In 2020, FLG will launch OER development efforts in high demand and job growth disciplines in STEM, Computer Science, Business, Accounting, and Finance through several instructional design internship cohorts.

Monday, December 30, 2019

By encouraging homegrown textbooks, HVCC saves its students a quarter mil - Hudson Valley Community College

Spurred on by the possibility of making college even more affordable for its students, Hudson Valley Community College is now in its third year of adopting open educational resources. Also known as OER, open educational resources are open source instructional materials, written by experts, that faculty can adopt and adapt based upon their curriculum, often negating the need for students to purchase a textbook. The use of OER not only saves money for students but also allows faculty members to provide customizable content for their classes.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

OER, Rental and Subscriptions Push College Textbooks’ Business to a Further Decline - IBL News

The average learner spent $205 to buy or rent course materials during the fall term, a decrease from $265 for the previous fall term in 2018. Spending on learning materials has consistently declined over the past five years. A recent report from Student Watch (funded by the National Association of College Stores) showed a drop of 35 percent. The new data is part of a multi-year trend.


Saturday, December 28, 2019

UH students save money with online textbooks - KHON2

University of Hawaii Community College students statewide have saved almost $5.6 million in textbook costs since 2015. The University of Hawaii created free or cheap online learning materials which has saved students lots of money in textbook costs.  The program started in 2015 by the UH Open Educational Resources division.


Friday, December 27, 2019

Is there a way to make learning materials, textbooks more affordable for students? - James M. Skidmore, the Conversation

Some student organizations have endorsed the social media campaign #textbookbroke to draw attention to the burdens placed on students by the high cost of learning materials. A solution to this problem exists: open educational resources. These are textbooks and other teaching materials produced by academics or instructors and distributed free of charge. Such resources could be a greater part of higher education. Why aren’t they?


Thursday, December 26, 2019

College Of The Canyons Dean Receives Excellence Award For Reducing Textbook Cost - KHTS

A College of the Canyons dean has received an excellence award for his work on open educational resources (OER) which provide free or reduced cost textbooks, officials said.
For his exceptional contributions to advancing open education around the world, James Glapa-Grossklag, Dean of Learning Resources at College of the Canyons, received the President’s Award for Excellence at the 2019 Open Education Global Conference, according to COC officials.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Open educational resources lower costs for students at Boise State - Jessica Taylor, KIVI

Sixteen groups from across campus received funding to develop open educational projects for their classrooms. “Some of them just took an existing textbook and put it into their class and just made changes to it, and other faculty are building textbooks from scratch," said Rob Nyland, research and innovation team manager at Boise State.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

How Professors Help Rip Off Students - Tim Wu, NY Times

As the semester ends, instructors at universities and community colleges around the country will begin placing their orders for next year’s textbooks. But not all professors will pay enough attention to something that students complain about: the outlandish prices of the books we assign. Having grown at many times the rate of inflation, the cost of a leading economics book can be over $250; a law school casebook plus supplement can cost $277. Adding to such prices is the dubious trend of requiring students to obtain digital access codes, averaging $100, to complete homework assignments.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Seven Ways Economics Can Heal Itself - Noah Smith, Bloomberg

Economics publishing is dominated by a handful of journals that can play an outsize role in determining an academic economist’s career. This allows a small group of editors to control the direction of the profession, creating a hierarchical, personalistic system where knowing the right people can be as important as having good ideas and important results. These journals also tend to limit the number of articles they publish, in order to maintain their prestige, consigning lots of good research to obscurity and making the publication process drag on too long. Economics departments need to focus less on the top five journals and use more holistic methods for determining promotion and tenure.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Book Review: Open Educational Resources: Policy, Costs, and Transformation - Yoram M Kalman, Erudit

The book includes 15 chapters, organized alphabetically from Australia to Washington State Community and Technical Colleges System, preceded by an Introduction chapter and followed by a Conclusions chapter, written by the editors. Given the somewhat eclectic nature of 15 chapters organized by alphabetical order, I strongly recommend that readers begin by reading the Introduction and the Conclusions chapters, as the latter effectively highlights the three main questions discussed in the various chapters:

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Benefits of Using OER - Penn State

OER has been shown to increase student learning while breaking down barriers of affordability and accessibility. Feldstein et al. (2012) conducted a research study at Virginia State University, where OER were implemented across nine different courses in the business department. Researchers found that students in courses that used OER more frequently had better grades and lower failure and withdrawal rates than their counterparts in courses that did not use OER.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Major Study Finds OER Students Do Just as Well — or Better - Dian Schaffhauser, Campus Technology

In the largest study of its kind, a group of researchers has examined the use of open educational resources (OER) and found that students who used OER in their undergraduate courses performed as well or better than those assigned commercial textbooks.  The project was undertaken by researchers from Brigham Young University, the Michigan State Department of Education and Lumen Learning, a not-for-profit focused on the use of open courseware. The study involved 5,000 students using OER and more than 11,000 "control" students using standard textbooks in courses at 10 different institutions around the country enrolled in 15 different undergraduate courses.


Thursday, December 19, 2019

Study reveals that OER courses and degrees benefit student retention and completion, improve faculty engagement, and result in cost savings for students - Achieving the Dream

“The study indicates that, based on two years of implementation across scores of colleges, OER can be an important tool in helping more students—and particularly low-income and underrepresented students---afford college, engage actively in their learning, persist in their studies, and ultimately complete,” said Dr. Karen A Stout, president of the national community college reform network Achieving the Dream (ATD), which released the  study. “Data show that even using the most conservative estimates, cost savings are significant and that OER content plays a role in helping strengthen instruction and learning across not just a few courses but entire degree pathways.”

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Website for free textbooks at UMN gains attention - NIAMH COOMEY, Minnesota Daily

From biology to design, faculty members in departments across the University of Minnesota are using a website to publish textbooks. Use of the Pressbooks website has spread among faculty in recent years, many of whom say they want to provide affordable textbook options for their students. A new, unmediated version of the site will allow faculty and students to publish content without the supervision of the University Libraries, making the platform more accessible. The more direct site was launched this summer and has been slowly rolled out over the course of this semester, with guidebooks for users completed in recent weeks.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

OER Information Session for Student Leaders - Washington University in St. Louis

Student leaders from across the Danforth Campus are invited to this information session to learn more about Open Educational Resources (OER). We will discuss what OER is and its potential benefits, as well as the future of OER, and how students can be a part of the OER movement. Refreshments

Monday, December 16, 2019

OER grant program saves students money - Allison Downs, Slippery Rock Online Rocket

Six university faculty members received Open Educational Resources (OER) grants to revise their courses by using low-cost or free educational materials instead of traditional textbooks. According to SRU’s OER Initiative page, OER are generally written or created by an individual or organization that chooses to keep or retain very few, if any, ownership rights and are largely part of the public domain. Because of this, OER can save students from hefty educational material costs without any negative impact.

Sunday, December 15, 2019

New program helps students cut back on textbook expenses Sarah Rowe, the Parthenon

A new Marshall program is using works published under public domain to save students hundreds of dollars by reducing the price of textbooks by as much as 90%. “Students don’t realize how much influence they have in a university,” said Larry Sheret, open educational resources librarian. “When they advocate for something like free textbooks, other students and faculty listen. The student government can accomplish something reasonable like this if more word gets out.”

Saturday, December 14, 2019

UH Libraries Receives $100,000 Gift for OER

University of Houston Libraries has received an anonymous gift of $100,000 to support the expansion of open educational resources (OER). OER are teaching and learning tools, either in the public domain or released with an open license, that anyone can freely use and re-purpose. As universities across the U.S. have embraced OER, academic libraries have become central to the adoption of open educational materials in the classroom.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Examining Trades and Technical education learning and teaching in a digital age. - VIU

“Education changes lives,” says Sally Vinden Instructor in the Faculty of Trades and Applied Technology at Vancouver Island University (VIU). “As educators, we are the gatekeepers. We need to make sure the pathways are there, and the technology is available to us today that makes learning a lot more accessible to a diverse group of students.”  BCcampus defines OER as teaching, learning and research resources that have an open-copyright licence and, through permissions granted by their creator, allow others to use, distribute, keep or make changes to them. “We know books are a huge financial burden for a lot of students and many suffer academically because they don’t have access to a required textbook,” says Vinden.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Pierce College program saves students $2 million in textbook costs - PIERCE COLLEGE

Thanks to the Pierce Open Pathways (POP) program offered at Pierce College at JBLM, students have saved more than $2 million in textbook costs since 2015. Courses in the program use open educational resources, which are high-quality, openly licensed learning resources used in lieu of traditional textbooks. Students in the program can earn an entire university transfer degree without ever paying for a traditional textbook. Each of these online learning resources are thoroughly vetted by Pierce College officials to ensure high quality material available for each course.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board announces 2019 Star Awards - Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

“The Coordinating Board is proud to recognize three Texas public higher education institutions for innovative programs that support student success and the state’s 60x30TX plan,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Harrison Keller. The Austin Community College Z-Degrees (Zero Cost Textbooks) at ACC initiative incorporates free Open Educational Resources (OER) into the college's highest enrolling courses. ACC’s new Z­Degree plans reduce student debt by enabling students to complete an entire course of study without having to purchase a single textbook. From fall 2016 through summer 2019, ACC classes using OER materials saved students an estimated $3.5 million.


Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Bethel Launches Initiative to Eliminate Textbook Costs - Jenny Hudalla, Bethel University

A new initiative to reduce or eliminate textbook costs has quickly taken off in Bethel’s College of Adult & Professional Studies, improving educational accessibility and affordability for hundreds of students. Initially a collaboration between the Bethel University Library and the Office of Academic Affairs, the Zero Cost Course Resources Initiative aligns with a national trend in higher education to help make courses more affordable. 

Monday, December 9, 2019

Sam Houston State leading the way in free textbook adoption - Huntsville Item

For more than a decade, the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Sam Houston State University has championed the usage of Open Education Resources (OER) or free open textbooks in their courses. Open textbooks are textbooks that have been published, and licensed to be freely used, adapted and distributed. A large number of these books have been reviewed by faculty from a variety of colleges and universities to assess their quality. In particular, the NSF-funded American Institute of Mathematics maintains a list of open textbooks suitable for use in traditional university courses. These books can be downloaded for no cost, or printed at low cost.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Massachusetts Is an OER Exemplar - Patricia A. Marshall, Robert J. Awkward and Stephanie Teixeira, New England Board of Higher Education

In just over a year, Massachusetts public colleges and universities have galvanized a statewide movement to adopt more comprehensive use of Open Educational Resources (OER). How did state and campus leaders achieve such momentum?


Saturday, December 7, 2019

Piedmont Tech faculty gets creative to save students money on textbooks - Kristine Hartvigsen, Index Journal

“OER saved our students up to $500,000 in textbook and materials costs this fall,” said Jack Bagwell, vice president for academic affairs at Piedmont Technical College (PTC). “It also accommodates for different learning styles. … We look for the best bang for the buck, but we are also coming to it organically and trying not to force it.”

Friday, December 6, 2019

Open educational resources save students $2.8 million - Lilly Kujawski, Washtenaw Voice

WCC met its “20 by 2020” goal to develop and provide open educational resources, or OERs, in place of textbooks for 20 courses. OERs are free, publicly accessible and openly licensed media—including print and digital materials—that can serve as an alternate or enhancement to traditional, usually commercially produced, media.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Why We Should Expand Our OER Advocacy to Commercial Publishers - David Wiley, Iterating toward Openness

From the very beginning, advocates of open source understood that businesses would be key to the success of their model. They understood the outsized influence that billion dollar behemoths like Microsoft would continue to have, and knew that the only way the open source model could “win” would be if proprietary software companies adopted it.


Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Open educational resources for research training: quality assurance through a collaborative evaluation - Victoria I. MarĂ­n, et.al.; Research in Learning Technology

Although it is considered that open educational resources offer vast pedagogical opportunities for any educational context, there have been only few studies so far that have linked their use or application in the field of research training, and even less works that have addressed their quality assurance for that context. As part of an inter-institutional project, the main aim of this article is the collaborative selection and evaluation of appropriate educational resources for research training.


Tuesday, December 3, 2019

KPU’s General Studies Degree Is Now Completely Textbook Cost-Free - KPU Runner

KPU’s Zero Textbook Cost programs now include an entire arts degree in which students won’t have to pay a single penny for their textbooks — ever. The Bachelor of Arts Degree in General Studies program at KPU is the first four-year program to introduce the new ZTC framework, thanks to its utilisation of Open Educational Resources. The degree accreditation is based on the completion of 120 credits of coursework, or approximately 40 courses, completely free of textbook costs.


Monday, December 2, 2019

Textbook savings - Nicholas Magnuson, ND Spectrum

This semester, it is estimated that $1.78 million has been saved by students on purchases of textbooks after the North Dakota State University Bookstore calculated the costs students saved in four categories. The Inclusive Access program accounts for most of the savings, making up $1.49 million of the total sum. Used textbooks take silver making up $131,575 of the total sum and textbook rental chipped in $84,083 to the pot. The Inclusive Access program at NDSU began in 2017 with around 1,000 students involved. This fall, 11,000 students were able to reap the benefits of the program which aims to provide digital textbooks for a much smaller price than that of their physical counterparts.


Sunday, December 1, 2019


Metropolitan State University of Denver partnered with TEDx Cherry Creek to present TEDx MSU Denver 2019 on Sept. 12. In the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading,” RED is broadcasting the big ideas MSU Denver thought leaders shared. Here, open educational resources (OER) champion and MSU Denver Chemistry ProfessorEmilyRagan, Ph.D.,reimagines learning so that time-honored strategies of teaching, testing and small-group learning integrate new ideas into our lives as we navigate the rapidly expandingcollection of information available via OER.