Open Community: OER Collaboration and Support

short link to this blog entry:

Open Community: OER Collaboration and Support, 8/1/19, MN Summit on Learning and Technology

Thursday, August 1, 11:30 AM Central Time. We stream our discussion live on Facebook:

Rachel Wexelbaum, Assoc Prof, University Library, St Cloud State University
Plamen Miltenoff, Professor, InforMedia Services, St Cloud State University
Aura Lippincott, Instructional Designer, Western Connecticut State University

Zoom Link:

Tweet about our session with the hashtag: #oercollab. Please backchannel with us on Twitter: #mnsummit2019

Discussion / activity topics:

Define open pedagogy and  apply its principles to a classroom scenario in one’s discipline Discuss communication
or project management  strategies to make OER
(Z-degree) possible
Identify communities that support OER discovery, development and dissemination on local, state, national or international levels

Course Materials for Free

More College Students Are Downloading Course Materials for Free—Or Skipping Them Entirely

Rebecca Koenig     Jul 25, 2019

a big increase since the fall of 2015, when only 3 percent of students reported downloading free course materials.

That figure includes texts procured legally, like open educational resources (known as OER), and illegally, such as pirated files shared through torrent websites. The most recent data NACS has on the latter behavior is from the fall of 2017, when 4 percent of respondents reported obtaining materials through illegal downloads.

The survey includes responses from nearly 20,000 college students at 41 four-year and two-year institutions across 20 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces.

Pearson announced it will adopt a “digital first” strategy for updating college course materials. And earlier this year, two of the world’s largest publishers of textbooks, Cengage and McGraw-Hill, announced plans to merge, and plan to offer a subscription-based service that combines their digital libraries in one package. (“oligopoly” – see slide 12 of this presentation to the Bulgarian Library and Information Association,

several possible factors influencing falling spending
A third may be the growth of so-called inclusive-access programs. In these deals, colleges order published materials in bulk, then charge students a per-course fee that grants them access to all of the required texts and tools. This approach typically offers students lower prices than they can get at retail stores on new books, but some students complain that it stops them from finding lower prices on their own.

The high price of books was the top reason given by students who decided not to obtain the required texts, but 38 percent said they didn’t want them or didn’t think they’d need them.

“Students want to wait to see if the professor is really going to use it and if it’s really going to be necessary for class,” says Lisa Malat, COO of Barnes & Noble College.

Textbook Spending

Textbook Spending Continues Slow Decline
Nick Hazelrigg July 25, 2019

According to the survey of more than 20,000 students across 41 institutions conducted by the National Association of College Stores, students on average spent $415 on course materials in the 2018-19 academic year, down from $484 last year. Student spending has declined almost every year in the last decade — in 2008 students spent an average of $700 on course materials.

An internal survey conducted by the textbook retailer found the company’s average textbook prices had fallen 26 percent in the last two years.

Nicole Allen, director of open education at the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, said the results are consistent with recent trends in the pricing of course materials.

Pearson and textbooks

textbook companies new options

Some publishers have recently started offering subscription options for textbooks. Take Perlego, a UK-based company which gives users access to a library of content, including digital textbooks. And starting in August 2018, textbook publisher Cengage will let students access all of the company’s digital higher education materials for $119.99 a semester.

Of the six students we talked to, only one had taken a class that used an Open Educational Resource, or OER in place of a commercial textbook.

Morris had never even heard of OERs, but after she was given a quick definition, she said she wishes she’d known about them and they seem like they could be beneficial for students if they can find what they need on them.

Abdala said she had never encountered OER in her courses, but she trusts that her professors would vett any materials carefully before assigning them. “Before I take a class I do research on the faculty,” she says. “And if it’s somebody that’s a good professor, I’m sure that they would not settle for something that is not good material.”