The U.S. Department of Education has finally made a move on its efforts to fund development of open educational resources. The agency issued a notice this week inviting proposals for an “open textbooks pilot program” with an Aug. 29, 2018 deadline. The program was mandated in an omnibus spending law, H.R. 1625, approved by Congress earlier this year. ED expected to issue between one and three awards.
The winning proposals will be eligible for between $1.5 million and $4.95 million. The latter amount is nearly the entire fund of $5 million stipulated for the pilot in an explanatory document that accompanied the spending bill.
The application has three “absolute priorities” and one “competitive preference” priority. The absolutes are these:
The project must involve consortium with at least three institutions participating, along with representation from industry or workforce groups and nonprofit or community organizations;
The proposal needs to fill current gaps in the OER “marketplace” and be able to scale beyond the consortium members; and
The plan needs to address how the OER will promote degree completion.
1. Using a blockchain for automatic recognition and transfer of credits
The decline in first-time, first-year student enrollments is having a real financial impact on a number of institutions across the United States and focusing on transfer students (a pool of prospects twice as large) has become an important strategy for many. But credit articulation presents a real challenge for institutions bringing in students from community colleges. While setting standardized articulation requirements across the nation presents a high hurdle, blockchain-supported initiatives may hold great promise for university and city education systems looking to streamline educational mobility in their communities.
2. Blockchains for tracking intellectual property and rewarding use and re-use of that property
If researchers were able to publish openly and accurately assess the use of their resources, the access-prohibitive costs of academic book and journal publications could be circumvented, whether for research- or teaching-oriented outputs. Accurately tracking the sharing of knowledge without restrictions has transformative potential for open-education models.
3. Using verified sovereign identities for student identification within educational organizations
The data footprint of higher education institutions is enormous. With FERPA regulations as well as local and international requirements for the storage and distribution of Personally Identifiable Information (PII), maintaining this data in various institutional silos magnifies the risk associated with a data breach. Using sovereign identities to limit the proliferation of personal data promotes better data hygiene and data lifecycle management and could realize significant efficiency gains at the institutional level.
4. Using a blockchain as a lifelong learning passport
Educational institutions and private businesses partner with online course delivery giants to extend the reach of their educational services and priorities. Traditional educational routes are increasingly less normal and in this expanding world of providers, the need for verifiable credentials from a number of sources is growing. Producing a form of digitally “verifiable CVs” would limit credential fraud, and significantly reduce organizational workload in credential verification.
5. Using blockchains to permanently secure certificates
The open source solution Blockcerts already enables signed certificates to be posted to a blockchain and supports the verification of those certificates by third parties.
When an institution issues official transcripts, obtaining copies can be expensive and burdensome for graduates. But student-owned digital transcripts put the power of secure verification in the hands of learners, eliminating the need for lengthy and costly transcripts to further their professional or educational pursuits. An early mover, Central New Mexico Community College, debuted digital diplomas on the blockchain in December of 2017.
6. Using blockchains to verify multi-step accreditation
As different accreditors recognize different forms of credentials and a growing diversity of educational providers issue credentials, checking the ‘pedigree’ of a qualification can be laborious. Turning a certification verification process from a multi-stage research effort into a single-click process will automate many thousands of labor hours for organizations and institutions
Pearson’s digital textbook transformation will likely face stiff competition. Earlier this month, McGraw-Hill, Barnes & Noble Education and Chegg teamed up for a new digital textbook rental program that the trio claims can help students save as much as 70 percent from buying print copies. In August, Cengage will launch a buffet-style offering where students pay $119.99 a semester to access all of the company’s digital higher-ed materials.
more on OER in this IMS blog http://blog.stcloudstate.edu/ims?s=oer
Opening Education: Using Open Education & Open Pedagogy to Transform Learning and the Educational Experience
The Open Education Southern Symposium at the University of Arkansas is accepting proposals for its day and a half conference on Monday, Oct. 1 and Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018. Proposals should fall into one of three categories:
o Presentations: 15-20 minutes (Please allow 10 to 15 minutes for Q&A after presentations.)
o Panel Discussions: 45 minutes (Please allow 10 to 15 minutes for Q&A after panel discussions.)
o Lightning Talks: 7 minutes (A short 5 to 10 minute Q&A will follow all lightning presentations.)
We welcome proposals from organizations, including colleges and universities of all sizes, community colleges, special libraries, and any others involved in open education and open pedagogy. We’re particularly interested in proposals with topics centering around:
o Adoption and creation of resources
o Publishing platforms
o Best practices and the impact of Open Education
o Creative Commons, copyright, and other licensing
o Marketing and advocacy
o Pedagogy and student success, including K-12 highlights
o Instructional design strategies for OER
o Trends and innovation
o OER in community colleges
o Tenure, promotion, and OER
o OER community building
o Inclusion and diversity in Open Education
The deadline for submissions is May 31, 2018 at 11:59 p.m. Central Time. The submission form can be found on our eventwebsite under the Call for Proposals page.
Proposal social media summaries should not exceed 240 characters (spaces included).
Proposal abstracts should not exceed 2000 characters or approximately 500 words.
All submissions will be evaluated based on the relevance of the topic and potential to advance the thinking or practice of Open Education and Open Pedagogy. Proposal reviewers will use similar proposal criteria to those being used by the Open Education Conference and OER18.
The planning committee will deliver decisions by June 29, 2018.
Presenters will be asked to accept or decline invitation to present by July 13, 2018.
All presenters will be required to register for the symposium.
Registration is $99 for our day and a half event on October 1 & 2, 2018 at the University of Arkansas. Registration covers full participation for both days, shuttle service between the hotel and event location, lunch on the first day, snacks and beverages, and event goodies.
Additional question related: why not use already existing solutions, as used across the world. Alex response: open source. Tim: content available across institutions. text banks and other data can be grouped by disciplines. Follow up q/n: MLNC, OER Commons. Solution already exists and why don’t we use existing accumulated work. Answer by Karen: pulling many resources, promoting collaboration btw 2 and 4 year institutions. Bigger then just having a repository, collaborative effort on different levels
Access to a “sandbox” to test Islandora: who to contact when and how.
Alex response to “estimated date for faculty upload” – August 2018 approximately
Transferability/ compatible: how east it is to migrate Islandora content to a different platform (e.g. the Minnesota Library Publishing Project) shall other platform is chosen as MN OER platform?
How will this structure ensure that the OER initiative (Islandora in particular) is not “owned” by one branch on campus (e.g. librarians) but it is a mutual effort by faculty and staff (e.g. ATT) in terms of access, e.g. access to different admin levels in Islandora?
From the Adobe COnnect online attendees:
Barbara Sandarin: Regarding “Admin. Rights,” does this restrict who may upload items?
Maintenance: weeding out old materials
the history of Islandora: who when developed. 2009, U of Rhode Island
Stephen Kelly: how does Inslandora integrate video. microsite solutions
structure of repository:
Islandora only stores, but the actual creation is outside of Islandora adoption scope
how do the individual teams are built, communicate with
open pedagogy: students creating open textbooks. creating of D2L courseroom. Karen: learning circles. Gary Hunter’s form regarding copyright issues etc.
storage: unlimited yet, but might be if file size are big.
Robert Bilyk: Look at OpenStax on how they handle derivative content
Tim: what do we want to be able to search for: 1. Title 2. subject 3. Format 4. type 5. permission to modify or not 6. keywords 7. author 8. home institution of author 9. peer revieewd 10. author info (advanced feature) 11. Robert Bilyk: Assurance of accessibility — tables, images, etc. 12. course 13. hashtags
Robert Bilyk: Curriki allows any submission — but their editorial board eventually gets around to review — and then this is indicated