THE OER DIGEST, Volume 9 | March 17th, 2016

By Ethan Senack, Student PIRGs | Volume 9 | March 17th, 2016

With the help of Nicole Allen, Doug Levin, Cable Green, and Nicole Finkbeiner

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Your tip sheet for U.S. OER updates, opportunities, and reminders

STATE GOES OPEN: As part of Open Education Week, the U.S. State Department posted a blog on OER by Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs Evan Ryan, a high ranking official. The post includes a clear affirmation that “open” is more than just “free,” discusses the steps that the administration has taken to support OER, and what’s coming up next.

SOURCING SOFTWARE: White House Chief Information Office Tony Scott published a blog last week on open source software, announcing a Federal Source Code Policy that they’re opening for public comment. As part of the Second Open Government Partnership National Action Plan, the WH policy would „require new software developed specifically for or by the Federal Government to be made available for sharing and re-use across Federal agencies.“

TO BE CLEAR: From Doug Levin at EdTech Strategies, „Many of us have observed that recent media coverage of the U.S. Department of Education’s GoOpen initiative has included some unfortunate inaccuracies in characterizing what it means for a resource to be ‚open‘ as opposed to being free or digital.“ In response, a group of organizations have developed a basic fact sheet/FAQ on OER for K-12 educators. The FAQ (licensed CC BY) can be re-distributed to help clarify OER for educators, policymakers, members of the media, and other stakeholders. See it here.

OpenStax, the open textbook publisher, announced a partnership with NACSCORP and Dover Publications to allow faculty members to customize OpenStax books. The platform will show faculty the print cost of the book in real-time as they add or remove pages and make additional changes. Students will then be able to purchase print versions of the book their their campus store. Read the press release. And, if that weren’t enough, OpenStax also just released a new Calculus textbook and a host of supplementary materials.

SHARING IS CARING: The American Federation of Teachers just relauched their lesson plan and teaching material sharing site The site has more than 900,000 registered users, and all submissions are either licensed as CC BY-NC-SA or CC BY-NC-ND. Originally launched by AFT and TES Global back in 2012, the site just got a big, shiny, new update.

SPEAKING OF: TES Global, the UK-based education company recently released a report saying that 3 in 4 faculty report using OER more than textbooks in their classrooms. Without seeing the questions or the methodology, it’s tough to interpret the extent to which ‚open‘ was differentiated with ‚free and online,‘ but in any case, the report shows significant growth of technology use in the classroom.

The Open Policy Network’s newest class of fellows in the Institute for Open Leadership are meeting in South Africa right now. For severe scenic jealousy, check out some of the photos with #IOL2.

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It’s Thursday, March 17th. It’s officially March Madness, and as a UConn alum, I’m contractually obligated to mention that we’ve won 2 Men’s and 3 Women’s tournaments in the past 5 years. Tweet me any bracket tips @HigherEdPIRG. Don’t forget to send tips, updates, opportunities, and feedback to ese…

Conference, job, and other OER-related opportunities

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: BCCAMPUS is hosting The Festival of Learning in the Vancouver area this coming June, and is looking for workshop proposals on open education and other edtech subjects. Proposals are due March 21st. See the call>

CALL FOR PROPOSALS: iNACOL is hosting their Blended and Online Learning Symposium in San Antonio, Texas, this October. Proposals are due March 23rd. See the call>

FELLOWSHIP: CCSSO is looking for an OER Fellow to conduct research, identify resources, and write original content for CCSSO’s OER Portal website. See the job description>

JOBS: CREATIVE COMMONS is looking to fill three positions; Director of Engineering, Communications Manager, and Development Manager. See the job descriptions>

Have an opportunity you want featured? Email it to ese…

Brief snapshots from the ground level

VIDEO BREAK: Affordable Learning Georgia is out with a new video, called I Am Affordable Learning Georgia. The 2-minute video features interviews with grantees about their work with OER. Here’s a great quote: „They do contribute to building a greater sense of community between students and each other, as well as students and the professor, by showing students that professors actually care about them.“ Watch the video>

FROM ACROSS THE POND: From the Open Scotland blog – „As part of its ongoing commitment to open education, the University of Edinburgh has recently approved a new Open Educational Resources Policy, that encourages staff and students to use, create and publish OERs to enhance the quality of the student experience. The University is committed to supporting open and sustainable learning and teaching practices by encouraging engagement with OER within the curriculum, and supporting the development of digital literacies for both staff and students in their use of OERs. Read the Policy>

Interesting Reads on Education and Open

Who Owns Digital Learning Resources Funded by Taxpayers? | Hal Plotkin

How to Go Textbook Free (the UMUC story) | Campus Technology

The Textbook Challenge: Two Sides of the Debate | The Pierce Pioneer

Print is NOT dead | The Fullerton College Hornet

Find archived volumes at
Ethan Senack
Higher Education Advocate
U.S. Public Interest Research Group
(202) 546-9707 x321

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