Tuesday, March 31, 2020

‘For as long as schools are closed, we’re open’: Audible makes hundreds of titles free as schools close during coronavirus pandemic - Roisin O'Connor, the Independent

Audible is making hundreds of titles available for free to help people cope with self-isolation during the coronavirus pandemic. The audiobook platform announced that anyone can listen to a vast selection of its titles for free, for as long as schools remain closed.

Monday, March 30, 2020

Learning during the quarantine: You can read JSTOR’s Open Access content without an account - IVAN MEHTA, TNW

Yesterday, JSTOR, the famous digital academic library, tweeted that 6,000 of its eBooks and over 150 journals are open for anyone to read. The organization noted it’s bringing out 26 public health journal archives, which you can read until June 30. For folks who previously haven’t had access to JSTOR’s library, you can now rifle through all its open access content without having to create an account.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Readers stuck at home need books — and community. Here’s how to access them. - Angela Haupt, Washington Post

If there’s a silver lining to the sudden need to hunker down as the novel coronavirus upends normal life, it’s that maybe — finally — you’ll have time to read. Provided you have enough books. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to access new reading material without leaving the house, and to stay engaged with the bookish community even as libraries and bookstores shutter their doors. Here’s a guide.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Cambridge gives free access to HE textbooks and coronavirus research - Research Information

Cambridge University Press is offering free online access to higher education textbooks and coronavirus research during the Covid-19 outbreak. In addition, existing customers are being offered free access to key reference works on request to help them overcome the disruption caused by the global response to the pandemic. All 700 textbooks published and currently available in HTML format on Cambridge Core – the online home of the Press’s academic books and journals – are available regardless of whether they were previously purchased.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Help with online learning, free ebooks for students - University of Colorado Boulder

In light of the rapid move to online courses and learning, the CU Book Store has partnered with their digital course materials platform, VitalSource, and leading publishers to launch VitalSource Helps, a program offering free access to ebooks for students who may have lost access to course materials.

Thursday, March 26, 2020


Institutions across the country and currently in the midst of the hard and important work of moving instruction online to protect the health of our communities. Converting an in-person course to online is a challenge in the best of circumstances, but on a short timeline, faculty across the country are setting out into new territory. At the same time that PIRG is connecting students and campus community members with necessary basic needs resources, we are also reaching out to faculty to support educators who are working hard to make sure their materials and classes translate online. Yet not all materials are created equal when it comes to level of access.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

OU promotes lower course material costs for students through Alternative Textbook Grant Abby Tow, OU Daily

The average college student spends about $1,200 per year on textbooks and supplies, according to a national report — an amount that could pay for a student’s groceries for a semester. An OU libraries grant encourages professors to lighten this financial load. The Alternative Textbook Grant from OU libraries awards up to $2,500 to professors who opt for free course materials, rewarding instructors for contributing to OU’s effort to make information less costly and more accessible to everyone.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Managing education with COVID-19 lockdown - Sally Ekanayaka, Omniscience

Founded on the principles of liberating an educational system held hostage by for-profit companies is a new system striving to make higher education an open access option to all. OpenStax textbooks have been used by 9 million students since the project began in 2012, saving an estimated $800 million in textbook costs. Telling us more is MyScienceWork’s contributing member and Astronomy professor, Andrew Fraknoi.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Open Education Week - JAMES F. MCGRATH, Patheos

In recognition of open education week, I want to highlight the way that not only I nor even just my faculty colleagues at Butler University but our institution as a whole is taking steps to address the issue of the rising costs of textbooks.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Make textbooks free already - Farrin Khan, UmassMedia

I have a confession to make: I never buy my textbooks. Put aside the exorbitant cost of textbooks and the occasional futility of purchasing said textbooks in classes, textbooks have always seemed like an unnecessary purchase to me. But I often feel guilty forgoing purchasing any textbooks when I witness my peers dropping between $200 and $500 a semester on them.  Don't get me wrong. I find textbooks extremely important. As a matter of fact, I never pay because I download the textbook online instead of purchasing it. And that's why textbooks need to be free for every student.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

That Digital Textbook? Your College Has Billed You for It - Ann Carrns, NY Times

Colleges are increasingly assigning digital books and study tools instead of paper textbooks. But one electronic option in particular has come under criticism from some student advocates. That model is called inclusive access, in which colleges have contracts with education publishers to provide required digital texts and study tools at a discount. Then, colleges automatically bill students when they enroll, as part of their tuition.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Efforts underway to reduce cost of textbooks for college students - AMANDA LARCH, The Herald-Dispatch

Though college can be expensive for many students, initiatives are in place to lessen the cost of textbooks to students, as well as to provide different options for them. Marshall University’s Student Government Association is one organization working to help students afford their books.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Northwestern Digital Learning Podcast: Episode 14, Open Textbooks

This episode is guest hosted by Chris Diaz, a librarian and member of the Affordable Instructional Resources (AIR) initiative.  This episode focuses on open textbooks, a type of open educational resource (OER) commonly used at colleges and universities as free alternatives to expensive textbooks. Here are some resources to help faculty get started with OER:

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Library lunchtime series shows how Open Resources could make it possible - Aaron Gonzalez, the Student Life

How can students get their textbooks without breaking the bank or breaking the law? From March 2 to March 6, librarians at the Claremont Colleges Library celebrated Open Education Week in order to promote one way to avoid resorting to expensive textbooks or internet piracy: Open Educational Resources.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

16 Best Ways to Get Free Textbooks: Find free textbooks online to help cut college costs, Lifewire

Whether you're studying at a major university, taking online college courses, or just learning on your own, there are tons of ways to find free textbooks online. Some books can be viewed in your browser while other are available for download in PDF format.

Monday, March 16, 2020

9 Fantastic Websites that Offer Free College Textbooks - Career Addict

As any student will tell you, one of the most frustrating aspects of university life is turning up on your first day of the course only to receive a lengthy – and very expensive – list of ‘required’ textbooks that you need to purchase. Yet many students are unaware that, actually, you don't necessarily have to go for the most expensive option; in fact, not only are there many ways to get your hands on alternative textbooks, but they are totally free, too.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

This is not my usual post, but I believe it is more important than anything else I can post today

We are at an inflection point in the US today - if we don't act seriously now, we will be like Italy and Iran within one week!  -ray

Survey Finds Faculty Rate the Quality of Open Educational Resources (OER) as Equal to Commercial Textbooks - Bay View Analytics

A majority of U.S. higher education teaching faculty now report that they are aware of open educational resources (OER) — an increase of 19 percentage points over the past four years. Increasing numbers of faculty are adopting OER and they rate the quality as equal to commercial alternatives.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

University System of Georgia grants allow textbook-free classes - KSU Journal

Kennesaw State professors were awarded grants from the University System of Georgia’s Board of Regents this month to be able to teach classes without making students pay for the textbooks. KSU was awarded the highest amount of grants out of other Georgia colleges and universities, according to KSU News. The grants total $139,400 and are from Affordable Learning Georgia, a USG initiative which has been giving grants to KSU professors for the past four years, Rutherfoord said.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Oregon Tech faculty turn to open source materials to save students more than $400,000 in textbook costs - Ashley VanEssen, Oregon Tech

Faculty at Oregon Institute of Technology, “Oregon Tech,” have been making focused efforts over the last two years to reduce some of the costs associated with textbook materials. Through working with the Open Educational Resources (OER) program, it has saved Oregon Tech students more than $400,000 in textbook costs.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Open Educational Resources Are ‘Moving Up the Adoption Ladder’ Around the World - Rebecca Koenig, EdSurge

Open educational resources have gone global and may help make learning more accessible, equitable and inclusive around the world. So says the new Educause Horizon report, which identifies technologies and trends that are changing higher education. This year’s forecast was created by nearly five dozen higher education experts, a third of them from institutions outside of the U.S. OER was one of six “emerging technologies and practices” the panelists highlighted as most likely to significantly influence postsecondary teaching and learning in the future.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

A Powerful Tool to Author OER for Building Lessons, Modules, and Assignments - IBL

OER Commons, an organization focused on creating open educational resources (OER), has developed a new editing tool named Open Author. This software allows building standalone learning modules, lessons, assignments, assessments, and activities. As a “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” editor, this authoring tool has the option to copy and paste from Word and Excel, include images (with alt text and captions), along with imports from Google and Microsoft OneDrive; and download PDF, SCORM, and other files.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Hundreds of Colleges Automatically Bill Students for Books. Is That Fair? FAMILY FINANCE PAYING FOR COLLEGE Hundreds of Colleges Automatically Bill Students for Books. Is That Fair? - KAITLIN MULHERE, Money.com

Colleges and publishers say a growing model for purchasing textbooks drives down costs and improves access to course materials, yet critics say it reduces student choice and fails to make a meaningful dent in costs. The textbook programs are opaque and include a variety of red flags that limit students’ ability to freely shop for course materials, says U.S. Public Interest Research Group in a report published Thursday. A team at the non-profit U.S. PIRG reviewed contracts between colleges and publishers at more 30 institutions, with a combined 700,000 students.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Breaking down barriers to make college more accessible - LARISSA BAIA, Lakes Region Community College

As more and more individuals consider going to college as adult learners or straight out of high school, they may evaluate the most common barriers, such as tuition costs and time commitment. But on many occasions, it’s the smaller — and possibly unexpected — expenses that challenge some students in continuing their education. At Lakes Region Community College (LRCC), we’re working to reduce these barriers to help more individuals reach their goal of earning a college degree.

Sunday, March 8, 2020


College and university leaders are working across state lines to reduce barriers faced by students and to empower faculty with access to a wide range of instructional materials. WICHE and its sister regional higher education compact organizations (MHEC, NEBHE, SREB) and WCET (WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies) are exploring the development of a national network to support scaling and adoption of Open Educational Resources (OER).

Saturday, March 7, 2020

FLC looks for free online replacements for textbooks - Patrick Armijo, Durango Herald

Students at Fort Lewis College will increasingly benefit from open educational resources offered free online that replace often-costly textbooks with the assistance of a $31,000 grant from the state. “I’m really excited about this. I’m a believer in helping students keep costs down. Textbooks can cost anywhere from $20 to $250. They can be really expensive,” said Astrid Oliver, director of Reed Library. Oliver is coordinating the grant. The funds came from the Colorado Commission on Higher Education and were part of $1 million in grants disbursed to 34 separate higher education and post-secondary universities, colleges, schools and educational groups across the state.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Promising but tough road for OER degree pathways - ELLIE ASHFORD / MATTHEW DEMBICKI, Community College Daily

But an initiative started by Achieving the Dream (ATD) nearly three years ago aimed to help community colleges build a cohesive set of courses that aligned toward a degree. The new study by SRI Education and the rpg Group examined the academic and economic effect of the OER Degree Initiative on the 38 participating community colleges and their students. Overall, the effort did save money for students (about $65 per student, per course), improved their learning experience and was cost-effective for the colleges, the study says. Students who took multiple OER courses, on average earned more college credits over time than similar students who didn’t take OER courses, it says.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Bloomsburg University celebrates Open Education Week, accessibility of educational materials - North Central PA

Founded in 2013 by Open Education Global, Open Education Week is a movement that aims to make education affordable and accessible, and parts of this movement have led to great strides in making materials more affordable for Bloomsburg students specifically. The week runs March 2 - 6 and will be celebrated throughout the Bloomsburg University campus. 

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Free e-books writing new chapter in local college costs - Amy Neff Roth, Utica Observerf-Dispatch

When Jim Fiore wrote an electrical engineering textbook, the first edition sold for about $70 in 1991. The price of the second edition, though, eventually got up to around $220 for a softcover, said Fiore, professor of electrical engineering technology at Mohawk Valley Community College. Fiore didn’t appreciate the price escalation, he said. “They started to go through the roof and, as an author, you really don’t have any control over any of that,” Fiore said. So he found another way, getting his publishing rights back and putting out his third edition as an open educational resource, or OER. That means his students can now get it electronically for free.

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Campus Faculty to Speak About Open Educational Resources - University of Arkansas

Open Education Week is set for March 2-6 this year. The University Libraries and our partners across campus are celebrating with several campus events focused on Open Educational Resources (OER) March 3 and 5 in Mullins Library Room 104.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Largest-ever study of impact of Open Educational Resources in college reveals benefits of introducing OER courses on a broad scale - Achieving the Dream

The study—conducted by SRI Education and rpk GROUP and released at Achieving the Dream’s 2020 DREAM conference here today—found that students enrolled in OER courses earned more credits than non-participating peers and that the effort was cost-effective not just for students but for institutions. Students at the participating colleges saved $10.7 million on the cost of learning materials. As courses became established, institutions were in position to recover their costs or even, in some instances, generate income from the effort as more students signed up for the OER courses.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

ASG passes six bills, resolutions - Margaret Mellott, ESU Bulletin

The resolutions passed were: State funding for higher education, celebration of Emporia State for the upcoming founders day and class resources. “Access to higher education has become less accessible within the last decade for students due to unaffordability,” said Martina Miller, business administration major. “And whereas the majority of the financial burden has been placed on the student with regular tuition and fee increases rather than in increased investment from the state funding and whereas state investment is critical for supporting regent institutions in their effort to provide efficient student based services that meet the needs of students.”