Monday, February 28, 2022

MERLOT’s Best Kept Secret

About 10 years ago MERLOT acquired the KEEP Toolkit from the Carnegie Foundation.  KEEP was a rudimentary web development application used by thousands of educators to create web-based teaching and learning materials. Over time, MERLOT refined the Content Builder with a better “MERLOT-looking” user interface as well as improved user functionality.  One of the early additions to the CB was the requirement that all CB-developed assets that “go public” must have a Creative Commons (CC) license.  (MERLOT does not dictate which license a user must declare.)  Any user can create a web page or site in Content Builder but until they make it public with a unique URL (and CC license), it is “private.”

Sunday, February 27, 2022

University Of Tulsa To Cover Textbook, Class Material Costs For Incoming Undergraduate Students - Brooke Griffin,

The University of Tulsa announced that all books and class materials will be free to incoming students starting this fall. University officials say this is just one push in doing everything they can to set students up for success both during and after college. The textbooks and course materials will be free for freshman students, all other current students will have to pay $600. This initiative does not apply to graduate students.  [ed note: though not OER, this may have an impact at this university]

Saturday, February 26, 2022

Empowering College Students to be OER Creators and Curators - Robert Maloy and Torrey Trust, Faculty Focus

Imagine the possibilities if students learn not only how to use open educational resources (OER), but also how to curate and design OER in their college courses. This action of shifting college students from consumers to creators of OER can have positive impacts on their learning and it can break down the walls of the classroom by making the knowledge students construct publicly available online (Trust & Maloy, 2022).

Friday, February 25, 2022

Program pioneered by South Coast university saving students millions in textbook costs - Lance Orozco, KCLU

Latest survey shows four year public college students spend nearly $1300 on textbooks annually, adding to financial woes of low income students. But, Cal State Channel Islands is one of the pioneers of a program to help deal with that cost issue. "The program is called Open CI," said Jacob Jenkins, an Associate Communications Professor at Cal State Channel Islands. "It's a campus-wide effort to reduce the soaring costs of college textbooks. He and Associate Nursing Professor Jamie Hannans are coordinators of Open CI.

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Already Expensive Textbook Prices Are Rising - Brian Green, et al; Southern (CT) News

 Textbook prices are on the rise. Nationally, the average a full-time undergraduate student can expect to pay on textbooks is roughly $620 per semester.  The University is not immune to price increases; however, initiatives like bookstore rentals, textbook assistance programs, and library-assisted textbook rentals provide current and future students with cheaper alternatives.  “Access to textbooks is not only a matter of equity; it improves student success and retention,” explained Clara Ogbaa, director of the Hilton C. Buley Library since 2018. “Our research has revealed the high cost of textbooks and student dissatisfaction with the price of textbooks [at Southern].”

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

MTSU University College Staffer Earns Certification to Help Lower Student Textbook and Course Costs - MTSU

Middle Tennessee State University is on the leading edge when it comes to making classes and textbooks more affordable for students. Because of a new certification in University College, even more courses could soon be offered with little to no textbook cost.Kim Godwin, an instructional designer for MTSU Online and an instructor in the College of Graduate Studies, recently earned the Creative Commons Certificate from This certificate signifies Godwin has a comprehensive knowledge of open education including Open Educational Resources, or OER, and open pedagogy.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Temple Libraries aid in efforts to provide affordable course materials - Temple News

The average price of books and supplies for Temple students has increased from $800 during the 2002-03 academic year to $1,510 during the 2020-21 academic year.  After attending a 2009 presentation from a student advocacy group about the negative impact of high textbook prices on college students, Steven Bell grew motivated to make educational resources more affordable at Temple University.  Bell, associate university librarian for research and instructional services, and Temple University Teaching, Learning & Technology Roundtable, a group that aims to improve educational resources,  established the Textbook Affordability Project in 2011 to support Temple Libraries’ efforts to encourage faculty to publish their research in open journals and use alternatives for expensive textbooks, reducing the financial burden on students.

Monday, February 21, 2022

‘UCT Open Textbook Journeys’ provides access to locally relevant learning materials - University of Cape Town

The “UCT Open Textbook Journeys” monograph tells the stories of 11 open textbook development initiatives. Lecturers at the University of Cape Town (UCT) are adopting innovative pedagogical and content production approaches to provide students with more accessible and locally relevant learning materials. The UCT Open Textbook Journeys monograph tells the stories of 11 open textbook development initiatives engaging with curriculum transformation, open pedagogy, multilingualism and accessibility in order to address social injustice in the classroom.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Opinions: Administrators and faculty should embrace open-source textbooks - Evan Wolf, GW Hatchet

The second semester is well underway, bringing with it the semesterly ritual of buying exorbitantly priced textbooks. The national average price for course materials is $153 per course, which can mean students may be forced to pay in the area of $1,000 a semester just to obtain the reading materials they need. This puts a further financial strain on students and their families for a higher education institution that is already expensive enough. GW and other institutions must turn to more affordable and accessible textbook options rather than letting a few textbook publishers place further financial burdens on students. They should use open educational resources, which are educational sites and materials that are free, accessible online and available for use and sharing.

Saturday, February 19, 2022

WVU Libraries to host workshop focused on lowering textbook costs - Mountaineer News

WVU Libraries will host an Open Textbook Workshop and Textbook Review March 10 at 10 a.m. that will help instructors explore possible open textbook solutions to address  the growing cost of textbooks. Over the past few years, 60% of students surveyed said they delayed purchasing textbooks until they received their financial aid and 70% chose not to purchase a required textbook because of cost, according to the Open Education Network, a group that studies how the high cost of course materials impede students’ academic success.

Friday, February 18, 2022

Nearpod Expands Content into Higher Education, Bringing More than 500 Learning Materials to its Library in Partnership with OpenStax and Stemify

Nearpod, an interactive instructional platform that gives educators real-time insights into student learning, today announces it’s expanding its content offering to include higher education, launching more than 500 new ancillary learning materials and videos on a rolling basis over the coming months. Starting with learning materials that help higher education institutions meet immediate needs, this content is in partnership with both OpenStax and Stemify, respectively.The company now works with institutions such as the Tarleton State University, University of Missouri, Penn State and Bellarmine as it continues to expand its footprint and offering for higher education.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Register to attend Virtual Conference: “E”ffordability+ Summit (February 22-24) - SUE BODILLY, UW Green Bay

Minnesota and Wisconsin are collaborating on a regional statewide virtual Open Education Resources (OER) Summit Feb. 22-24, 2022, which emphasizes how OER increases equity, accessibility, diversity, and inclusion within courses and curricula. The planning team invites educators across both states to share their hard work in adopting and advancing OER and education, lowering costs, making resources available and inclusive for our students. UWGB’s OER Pilot team is leading two virtual presentations, one on Feb. 22 from 11:30-noon CST and the other on Feb. 24 from 10-10:30 CST  Register for the conference.

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

OpenStax, state set resource creation event for educators - Rice University

OpenStax, Rice University’s educational technology initiative, and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) will host a free, virtual event for Texas educators to create and revise open educational resources (OER) Feb. 17 and 18. OpenStax has hosted Creator Fest, a conference for college and university educators, staff and administrators from around the world to collaboratively build such OER as syllabi, lesson plans and quizzes, since 2018. This year, it’s partnered with the THECB to host a regional version.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Government website calls out CVTC efforts - ALYSSA VAN DUYSE, Chippewa Valley Technical College

Imagine Kim Ernstmeyer’s surprise when she saw Chippewa Valley Technical College had been used as a five-star example to other colleges and universities on how best to use Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund money to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. On Jan. 20, the U.S. Department of Education released new guidance for the use of COVID-19 emergency funds allocated to colleges and universities under HEERF. Open Education Resources, known as OER, was mentioned as one of the strategies to meet students’ needs during the pandemic. Ernstmeyer, CVTC’s open RN project director, was thrilled to see the college’s hard work recognized with a mention on the government website.

Monday, February 14, 2022

Excellence in Open Education Award - Montana State

Kyndra Campbell, head of the Writing and Developmental Humanities program at Gallatin College, has won this year’s Excellence in Open Education Award. The award recognizes a faculty member who reduces barriers to education by using open information and resources in the classroom. It is sponsored by the MSU Library and comes with a $2,000 honorarium. In her role as department head, Campbell develops all curricula for the program and ensures all non-tenure-track faculty hired understand not only the student population but also the importance of pedagogy and delivery design to support engagement and learning.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Fostering Equity-Based Learning through Community - CSU

Affordable Learning Solutions - AL$ is lending a hand to empower students to continue their education through the use of low/no-cost learning resources to bridge some of the material that is not covered in their courses. Explore OERs, low-cost, and library resources below to learn about the immense collection available to you! #ALSLendsaHand This year's AL$ Annual conference will be held virtually on Thursday, February 17th, and Friday, February 18th. 2022 Conference site:

Saturday, February 12, 2022

How to save money on buying books – or get them for free - Donna Ferguson, the Guardian

Many websites offer ebooks and audiobooks at no cost. Project Gutenberg lists more than 67,000 out-of-copyright titles which can be read online or downloaded in a wide range of formats. Similarly, Librivox offers more than 16,000 audiobooks of old titles, read and recorded by volunteers all over the world. Your local library may also lend copies of ebooks, comics and audiobooks via your library card and an app, such as OverDrive, Libby or BorrowBox. You can then read your choice on a smartphone, tablet or a compatible e-reader like a Kobo, Nook, PocketBook or Tolino – Kindles are not supported. The books will disappear from your “shelf” in the app on the day they are due back, so you don’t have to worry about late fees.

Friday, February 11, 2022

Course Materials Conversion Program Call for Proposals Open - University of Arkansas

Each semester, the U of A Libraries and Global Campus offer incentives for faculty to reduce the cost of textbooks for their students by using Open Educational Resources.   The Course Materials Conversion Program provides faculty with extra compensation. Successful applicants can receive $3,000 for adopting open educational resources, $4,500 for adapting existing open educational resources to meet their needs or $7,500 for creating their own. Visit the OER Course Materials Conversion program website to learn more about the program and the difference between these three options.

Thursday, February 10, 2022

OER: more accessible knowledge for all Next-generation open-source textbooks brighten the future of education - Marianne Liendo-Dufort, the LINK

Concordia University’s new website promoting Open Educational Resources launched on Jan. 27. OER aims to provide students easy access to cost-free educational resources like textbooks by democratizing education. According to the Government of Canada, students spend up to $1,000 per school year on textbooks and latest editions. While it is possible to save money by purchasing used copies or the eBook version of the textbooks, these expenses remain a burden on many students’ budgets. The main goal of OER is to provide teaching and learning materials on a public domain or under an open licence. Simply put, an open license allows for a no-cost access, use, and adaptation—such as translation of a text—of the material. It confers the redistribution right of the material to the public with limited restrictions or none at all.

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Affordable Content Grants: OER@UNO | UNO Libraries – Omaha, Nebraska

UNO Libraries is pleased to announce the next affordable content grant @UNO. This is a great opportunity to embark on a project that can help students and at the same time enhance the customization of materials for one or more courses. Over the last three years, dozens of UNO faculty members have used this program. Through the 2020 textbook Mavericks winners, you can read about the faculty’s experience with these grants. Steffi Jesseau and Zac Suriano, And 2021 Winners, Cameron Logsdon, Stephanie Larsen, and Abbie Syrek.

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

How college students can combat the pricey foe of textbook affordability - Nick Lundberg, The State News

Examples of OER include open textbooks, images, course modules, videos, homework assignments, quizzes, lectures, lab and classroom activities, games, simulations and other resources contained in digital media collections from around the world. Millions of dollars have been saved in OER's effort to support students. “We have saved students since we started in the Fall 2019 semester around $4 million” Gong said.

Monday, February 7, 2022

Immaculata University Continues its Energy Saving Initiatives - Lydia Szyjka,

Also, this past year, Immaculata launched a zero-cost textbook program using Open Educational Resources (OER). The ten OER-based courses replaced traditional printed textbooks with a variety of online resources, including online texts from open-source sites, web-based articles and audio-visual resources in the public domain. The University plans to increase the number of OER-based courses available to students.

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Developing a Sustainable Financial Model in Higher Education for Open Educational Resources - David Annand, Érudit

Financial issues regarding the sustainable production, dissemination, and use of Open Educational Resources (OER) in higher education are reviewed and proposed solutions critiqued. Use of OER produce demonstrable cost savings for students. Yet OER development continues to rely almost completely on government and philanthropic funding. This indicates that a mismatch exists between the financial interests of students and those of higher education institutions. Before OER will be broadly adopted, changes to government policy are required to align institutional objectives with faculty motivations and student needs. 

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Open educational resources: removing barriers from within - Sanjaya Mishra, Distance Education

Enthusiasts and evangelists of open educational resources (OER) see these resources as a panacea for all of the problems of education. However, despite its promises, their adoption in educational institutions is slow. There are many barriers to the adoption of OER, and many are from within the community of OER advocates. This commentary calls for a wider discussion to remove these barriers to mainstreaming OER in teaching and learning and argues for a rethinking of the idea of ‘open’ to make it more inclusive by redefining the concept. It reminds us of the original thinking behind OER – which was to create universally available educational resources that can improve the quality of teaching and learning. This commentary posits arguments against conflating OER and open education, questions the narrow definitions of OER, and raises issues around how to be more flexible and open to mainstreaming OER and removing barriers from within the OER movement.

Friday, February 4, 2022

Issues of context and design in OER (open educational resources) - Ferit Kılıçkaya & Joanna Kic-Drgas, Educational Technology Research and Development

The study conducted by Hilton (2016) focused on open educational resources (OER) by analyzing the findings of 16 studies that investigated (a) the influence of OER on academic learning outcomes at the tertiary context, and (b) students’ and instructors’ perceptions of OER in their teaching and learning contexts. Hilton’s analysis of the findings of these studies indicated two major findings: (1) when students use OER, they obtain the same learning outcomes as with traditional textbooks while saving money; and (2) both students and teachers find OER comparable to traditional learning resources in terms of quality. Several advantages of OER were also revealed.

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Colleges can spend $198M in new relief funding on basic needs - Emily Bamforth, EdSurge

Digital therapy and open educational resources are among the examples included in U.S. Department of Education guidance released Thursday showing how institutions can use federal higher education relief money to address students’ basic needs. The guidance was part of the agency’s announcement that higher education institutions can apply for an additional $198 million in American Rescue Plan funds through a grant program beginning

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

Penn State Libraries launches ROAM, an expanded open educational resources repository

Penn State University Libraries’ Open Publishing unit recently launched ROAM, a newly expanded online publication service for openly licensed educational materials authored by Penn State faculty. Short for “Repository of Open and Affordable Materials,” the platform builds on a service created and previously hosted by the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences (EMS) that published most of the college’s courseware free of charge for anyone to access. ROAM will extend EMS’ vision to include content from all disciplines and campuses across the University.

Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Auburn's University Writing Department Launches Open Educational Resource - Heesun Yoon, Auburn

"We have long been known locally and nationally for our high-quality ePortfolio resources," says Christopher Basgier, director of University Writing. "I am excited that our OER includes an expanded menu of materials, and that these materials are accessible for different users." As well as resources on ePortfolios, the OER contains resources to help anyone with topics such as editing, proofreading, literature reviews, and more.