Subject matter related to events related to open textbooks.
It is with great pleasure that I announce the 8 winners of our Adopter Communities’ Small Grant program. Each community proposed an outstanding project that uses open textbooks or open educational resources to improve teaching and learning for their students. Disciplines ranged from the highly enrolled general education subjects of Chemistry, Physics, and Math to American Government and Developmental Reading & Composition. Professional and career disciplines were also represented with Business Communications, Advanced Water Mathematics, and pre-teacher Educational Psychology. Overall 27 faculty members are participating from 17 colleges and 4 universities with approximately 3200 students anticipated to be positively impacted during the grant period alone.
For the purpose of this program, an adopter community had to contain at least two college or university instructors who have adopted or commit to adopting an open textbook(s) or open educational resources as the primary text for a course they teach or plan to teach in the 2011-2012 timeframe. Collaboration between multiple colleges and inclusion of peer reviewers, staff, and students as community members was highly encouraged. In addition, all enhancements, new materials, and ancillaries produced by the community in the grant period (2011-2012) must be made available to other educators using a Creative Commons license that allows further modifications such as CC-BY.
A huge thanks goes to our panel of judges who read all 17 grant application and finalized their results with conference call on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Using a rubric to help ensure inter-rater reliability, the panel included a community college dean, a higher education program manager, and the technology director for a large OER project.
Finally, I want to commend all the adopter communities who applied for their thoughtful projects that used open textbooks and open educational resources to improve teaching and student learning at their colleges. In the end, we were limited by our overall budget and not the inspiring visions of all of the applicants.
Please check out our College Open Textbooks community site for more details on these amazing Adopter Communities and to watch their progress over the next year. Webinar with grantees scheduled for November 17 at 1:00 PM (Pacific).
Image:Some rights reserved (CC-BY-NC) by EpicFireworks
BC Campus and WikiEducator invite learners and educators to provide input input about credentials for the OER University. This exciting initiative was launched in early 2011 and is now backed by 7 institutions in 4 countries:
Scholars can join the discussions on a SCoPE seminar between August 29 and September 13, 2011. Results will feed to the planning meeting scheduled for November, 2011. OER University seeks to create pathways for learners who use OER materials to gain academic credentials from established educational institutions.
At the launch of OER University in February 2011, Anil Prasad commented: “I support Open Educational Resources movement. I firmly believe that Open Distance Learning (ODL) supported by Open Educational Resources (OER) would build the Inclusive Mainstream Education System in the immediate future.” Mr. Prasad is Nodal Officer (T&D), Finance Department, Govt. of Kerala, India. The two-day launch meeting in New Zealand featured lively theoretical and practical discussions. Professor Jim Taylor, from the University of Southern Queensland led discussions on the OER university concept and introduced the logic model shown above. He listed some of the factors driving new education models:
Professor Taylor summarized: “This is not theoretical speculation, it is entirely viable.”
With their students facing the same pressures from the economy and rising textbook prices as everywhere else in the country, the staff and faculty at the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) have stretched to find solutions. Comprising 25 community and technical colleges and seven state universities, MnSCU is administered by the Office of the Chancellor in St. Paul.
It has been to this office and to Todd Digby, System Director of Libraries, that the leadership role has fallen. Digby explains that there was a legislative push in the state to reduce textbook costs for students, and because he was involved in both online education and library resources, he was recruited to look into possible alternatives, including the development and adoption of open textbooks and educational materials.
While meeting a favorable response to the concept among many faculty members, Digby found that he needed to put practical tools in the hands of instructors if they were to actually go forward, develop, and use open resources. Aware, too, that individuals and institutions around the country were engaged in efforts to create materials and make them available, he has put his energy into providing what he sees as the critical “wraparound services” that can contribute to success. From the outset two needs were identified: first, creating an online repository for Minnesota schools, and second, providing adequate development tools to faculty so they could create teaching materials in useable formats.
The first of these, building and maintaining a repository, is now being implemented through the Minnesota Learning Commons (MNLC), a partnership of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, the University of Minnesota, and the Minnesota Department of Education along with public K-12 schools. Not just a home for online textbooks, MNLC hosts a wide range of learning resources, including introductory learning materials and course parts. The MNLC site also provides a gateway link to the National Repository of Online Courses (NROC), which is hosted by the Monterey Institute for Technology and Education.
To be continued.