Category Archives: Open educational resources

OA Week 2018: Bringing It All Together

Open educational resources (OER) – instructional resources made from open materials – are a logical endpoint when discussing open access initiatives.

At UT Libraries, we’re committed to promoting the adoption and creation of OER across campus. Our OER Working Group’s efforts were recently discussed on Tex Libris, and they have included revamping the OER LibGuide and creating a helpful guide for discussing OER with different audiences, among other outreach efforts to raise campus OER awareness.

As we continue to encourage the development and use of OER, we also have to acknowledge associated difficulties, chief among those being lack of funds and lack of time.

These are serious impediments to widespread OER adoption. However, progress is being made to address them. Following the Texas Legislature’s passage of SB 810, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board is in the process of awarding its first round of grants to instructors who will be (re)creating courses using only OER.

At a federal level, the U.S. Department of Education announced that its inaugural $5 million Open Textbooks grant award will go to LibreTexts, a UC Davis effort “to develop an easy-to-use online platform for the construction, customization, and dissemination of open educational resources (OER) to reduce the burdens of unreasonable textbook costs to our students and society”.

At Ohio University, a partnership between Ohio University Libraries and the Office of Instructional Innovation, paired subject liaison librarians with OER-interested faculty members to redesign courses to use only OER as part of the Alt-Textbook Initiative. Through a combination of faculty release time and librarian staff time, the Initiative was able to redesign 24 courses for projected student cost savings of roughly $200,000.

By identifying new and creative partnerships and advocating for legislative funding for OER efforts, the open community is working toward sustainable and scalable OER solutions.


Browse existing OER on OER Commons, OpenStax, and the BC Campus Open Textbook/OER Directory.

Share and discover information about OER activities at campuses across North America on SPARC’s Connect OER platform.

 

Open Textbook Pilot applications open

The Department of Education has announced that proposals are now being accepted for an Open Textbooks Pilot program. They will be awarding between one and three grants up to a total of $5 million dollars.

The priorities for this pilot include:

  • Improve collaboration and dissemination through consortial arrangements
  • Address gaps in the open textbook market and develop solutions that scale
  • Promote degree completion

Inside Higher Ed has an article about the proposal process.

The scope of this program is quite large, and the deadline for submission is August 29th, so interested parties should start working on this right away.

Travel scholarship from UT Libraries

The University of Texas Libraries wants to send you to OpenCon 2018 in Toronto, Canada!

If you are a UT Austin graduate student or postdoctoral researcher with an interest in open access (OA), open educational resources (OER) or open data who wants to help shape the future of research and education at UT, consider applying for a travel scholarship being provided by the Libraries to attend this year’s OpenCon. OpenCon is an academic conference for early career researchers taking place November 2nd-4th, 2018 in Toronto. OpenCon is an excellent opportunity to learn more about open access, open education and open data, to learn how to advocate for these issues, and to network with people from across the globe. It truly is an international conference – since 2014, people from 176 countries have applied to attend! The program includes keynote talks, panel discussions, workshops, hackathons, and there is usually an opportunity to lobby government officials. The UT Austin scholarship winner will be fully funded to attend the conference.

The scholarship winner will be expected to share what they’ve learned once they return to Austin. We are open to what that engagement may look like – for instance, the attendee may choose to host a presentation upon their return or they may decide to push for more open access in a particular area on campus. Library staff will be available to help coordinate events and meetings, but the attendee is expected to do most of the content planning.

To apply:

Please send a statement (no longer than 500 words) discussing how you might like to engage our campus in open agenda discussions. This statement is not binding, but it is an opportunity to brainstorm ideas that can be further refined later. Submit your statement and resume/CV to Scholarly Communications Librarian, Colleen Lyon, c.lyon at austin.utexas.edu, by midnight on Monday, July 16th. Applicants will be notified with a decision by Friday, August 17th. If you have questions about the conference or about the application process, please contact Colleen Lyon.

Funding for open textbooks

The omnibus bill that passed both the House & Senate last week and was signed into law included a $5 million provision for an open textbook grant program. This money will be awarded to higher education institutions as part of a competitive grant process. The call for proposals will likely go out soon as the funds for the awards need to be allocated by September 30th. SPARC has a useful page for finding out more information about this exciting news.

This funding was the result of many years of effort from SPARC, U.S. PIRG, and many others. Thank you to them for their efforts on everyone’s behalf.

OK Go and OER

If you’ve enjoyed the very creative OK Go videos, you’ll probably love this new resource they’ve put together in cooperation with the Playful Learning Lab at the University of St. Thomas: The OK Go Sandbox. The sandbox is designed to walk educators through the thought processes behind the OK Go videos and provide resources for incorporating some of those techniques in the classroom. From Damian Kulash:

“We want to give teachers whatever tools they need to connect the joy, wonder, and fun in our videos to the underlying concepts that their students are learning.”

The materials have a CC-BY-NC license so they are available for educators to remix and reuse. This is such a cool example of how learning can be fun and entertaining.

“Yes, We’re Celebrating Open Education!” Exhibit

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In recognition of Open Education week (March 5-9), the Libraries have created a display to highlight the value of open educational resources at a time when the cost of a college education is at a premium.
“Yes, We’re Celebrating Open Education!” will be hosted at the Scholars Commons in the Perry-Castañeda Library, on view throughout the entire month of March.
Since 1977, the cost of required materials such as textbooks has increased over 1000%, more than 3 time the rate of inflation, and the average student cost of textbooks is $900 a year.
The Open Education movement seeks to reduce or eliminate escalating costs by providing access to free, quality educational materials, so that students and educators can focus on teaching and learning instead of financial impediments.
The exhibit intends to increase awareness about Open Education, Open Educational Resources and how these resources can be adopted and used in our modern and ever-changing educational system.

Travel scholarship available

The University of Texas Libraries wants to send you to OpenCon 2017 in Berlin, Germany!

If you are a graduate student or postdoctoral researcher with an interest in open access (OA), open educational resources (OER) or open data who wants to help shape the future of research and education at UT, consider applying for a travel scholarship being provided by the Libraries to attend this year’s OpenCon. OpenCon is an academic conference for early career researchers taking place November 11th-13th, 2017 in Berlin. OpenCon is an excellent opportunity to learn more about open access, open education and open data, to learn how to advocate for these issues, and to network with people from across the globe. It truly is an international conference – since 2014, people from 176 countries have applied to attend! The program includes keynote talks, panel discussions, workshops, hackathons, and there is usually an opportunity to lobby government officials. The UT Austin scholarship winner will be fully funded to attend the conference.

The scholarship winner will be expected to share what they’ve learned once they return to Austin. We are open to what that engagement may look like – for instance, the attendee may choose to host a presentation upon their return or they may decide to push for more open access in a particular area on campus. Library staff will be available to help coordinate events and meetings, but the attendee is expected to do most of the content planning.

To apply:

Please send a statement (no longer than 500 words) discussing how you might like to engage our campus in open agenda discussions. This statement is not binding, but it is an opportunity to brainstorm ideas that can be further refined later. Submit your statement and resume/CV to Scholarly Communications Librarian, Colleen Lyon, c.lyon@austin.utexas.edu, by Friday, July 7th, 2017. Applicants will be notified with a decision by July 21st, 2017. If you have questions about the conference or about the application process, please contact Colleen Lyon.

Professional development opportunity and stipend from COERLL

The Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning (COERLL) is offering a $500 stipend and professional guidance to graduate student language teachers who are interesting in learning how to create open language learning materials.

Students can apply by filling out a project proposal form and submitting it to info@coerll.utexas.edu by May 31st, 2017. The graduate students who are chosen are required to attend a summer workshop at UT Austin, lodging and transportation paid, to develop their lessons.

More information available here.