THE OER DIGEST Volume 6 The Year In Review!

WRAPPING UP: It’s December 31st! To commemorate the holiday, we’re adding a special section to today’s digest:The Year In Review; and, in next digest: The Year Ahead. Check it out below, and as always, thanks for your continued interest, your feedback, and all the tips you’ve sent our way. Hope your holidays have been great, and we’ll see you again in 2016.

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By Ethan Senack, Student PIRGs | Volume 6 | December 31, 2015
With help from Cable Green, Nicole Allen, Sarah Cohen, and others
Your tip sheet for U.S. OER updates, opportunities, and reminders

RULEMAKING RESULTS: The comment deadline has passed for the Department of Education’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on openly licensing educational materials funded by their direct competitive grants. In total, 147 comments were submitted (though some represented multiple organizations, like this coalition letter). Comments represented a wide range of opinions, and both ends of the spectrum in terms of support for the proposed rule. OER advocates submitted a variety of straightforward, merit-based arguments, and offered significant technical advice in response to the Department’s implementation questions. As such, we’re confident in the case presented for OER as we look forward to the final rule.

SPECIAL PROPS: to Nicole Allen and Meredith Jacob for their work organizing the community around the rule.

LABOR, TOO: The Department of Labor just announced that intellectual property developed under their competitive grants will be licensed under CC BY. This announcement codifies DOL’s longtime leadership at the program level, where they required open licenses on multiple grants before enacting this agency-wide policy. Hopefully, the policy gives the Department of Education more momentum to finalize their own strong rule.

READ MORE: Labor’s notice in the federal registerabout the change.

REPORT – OER IN K-12: K12 HandHelds just released a report on „adoption and implementation of K-12 core instructional materials, and business models for the successful and sustainable publishing of such open educational resource (OER) materials.“

CHECK IT OUT: it’s an interesting read.

It’s Thursday, December 31st. Ethan Senack here. Happy New Year’s Eve! Here’s to starting 2016 off right. Don’t forget to send tips, updates, opportunities, and feedback to @HigherEdPIRG or with the subject „OER DIGEST“.

Some of the biggest policy steps we took in 2015
LAUNCHING #GoOPEN: The Department of Education announced the launch of #GoOpen, a campaign to encourage states, school districts and educators to use openly licensed educational materials. The campaign includes transitioning 10 „Future Ready“ classrooms to OER, partnerships with major technology companies to develop OER integration tools, and a commitment to pursuing open licensing on grant-funded materials.

STAFFING UP: The Department of Education also announced the creation of a new „Special Advisor on Open Education“ – a role filled by ed tech champion Andy Marcinek. Andy will be working to connect K-12 and higher ed with OER and public domain materials.

TWO DEPARTMENT RULES: As mentioned above, in a final rule this month, the Department of Labor included CC BY licensing on materials produced by their grants, and the Department of Education is in the midst of a Rulemaking cycle to determine their own open licensing policy.

OPEN GOVERNMENT PLAN: The White House released their third Open Government Partnership National Action Plan. The plan, which includes dozens of commitments to transparency and openness by the government, also includes a strong commitment to open education and open access to research. The plan specifies three general activities the government will take to advance open education: openly license more Federal grant-supported education materials, convene stakeholders, and publish best practices for agencies.

AFFORDABLE TEXTBOOK ACT: Senators Durbin (D-IL), Franken (D-MN) and King (I-ME), along withCongressmen Hinojosa (D-TX) and Polis (D-CO) introduced federal legislation to support OER adoption and development on college campuses. The Affordable College Textbook Act would establish a federal grant program to fund OER development, adaption, and professional development. To highlight the bill, Senators Durbin and Franken joined advocates on a press call for campus journalists and national reporters. The press call generated almost 100 media hits discussing the bill and OER.

ELEMENTARY AND OER: Congress passed a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Besides significant changes to the No Child Left Behind policy era, the bill also includes a new OER provision in the multi-billion dollar State Support and Academic Enrichment Grant program. Looking forward, states may use that funding to support districts in making instructional content available as OER.

STATE CHAMPIONS: The states of Oregon, Connecticut, and California all passed legislation regarding OER this year. Between them, these three states are putting over a million dollars behind OER, supporting adaptation, creation, professional development, and training. Massachusetts and Texas, among others, have pending OER legislation as well.

OPEN POLICY MEETING: The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy co-hosted an „Inter-Agency Open Policy Workshop“ with the Department of Education. Dozens of agencies were represented, and staff heard from OER advocates on the impact of open licensing, how the federal government can benefit, and what can be done.

OER-USA UP AND RUNNING: It’s been a banner year for OER policy, and we’ve got plenty to look forward to next year. A new home for organizing around US OER policy came online this year with the launch of the OER USA coalition. Their first action? Organizing more than 100 organizations to submit a letter to President Obama calling for a commitment to open licensing. See it here>
A brief snapshot of those making change on the ground level, and those most impacted

THEY GROW UP FAST: At the close of 2015, the Open Textbook Network is celebrating membership that extends across a 100 campuses nationwide. They’ll be holding workshops this Spring at campuses in Washington, Ohio, Kansas, Oregon, and Pennsylvania, and more.  They also recently added the 200th book to the Open Textbook Library, with new additions from Open SUNY, University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing, University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, and Portland State University in foreign languages, math, science, and business. The faculty reviews they generated from their fall campus visits will be added in the new year. It’s been a tremendous year of growth for the OTN and they appreciate the leadership and hard work of their members in bringing open textbooks to campus.

THE PRICE TO PAY: „…If you aren’t financially able to buy the access code, you can’t do your homework and that’s a bunch of your grade that you’re losing. I think it’s a terrible idea because you’re pretty much paying for your grade,“ from a student at Drexel University. Read More>

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Quick, Interesting Reads
California-based University of the People planning collaboration with India | The Economic Times

(This dialogue) Open Access and Academic Freedom | Inside Higher Ed

Student presents legislation designed to help others | York Dispatch

Law schools lag behind on open source law |

State Lawmakers Pledge to Continue Support for Affordable College Education | Suburban Times

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