If you have any doubts over whether OER (Open Educational Resources) are here to stay, you might want to catch up with the players’ moves in the past year. Here is a quick look at what the past twelve months have been in OER repositories (in bold throughout this article), funders and advocates, and of course, the adopting institutions.
Did we miss a glaring development? Be sure to let us know in the comments!
- During the 2016 National Teacher Appreciation Week, OER Commons launches #GoOpen, a teacher empowerment campaign. Created in 2007, OER Commons is an initiative coordinated by the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education (ISKME), with funds from the Hewlett Foundation.
- In response to funding for textbooks slashed, the Sunnyside Unified School District in Arizona announces the introduction of an OER program for K-12. An investment of $30-40,000 USD will create Open content, starting with English and math, the development of which will be led by Open Up Resources (previously known as the K-12 OER Collaborative), an initiative with support from Hewlett, Gates, and other foundations.
- The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) reports outcomes of its Primary Source Sets project. With over 100 sets across humanities subjects, the Primary Source Sets provide raw historical evidence that is still ensured to be compatible with Common Core standards.
- Amazon launches Amazon Inspire, featuring lesson plans, worksheets, and other content. Industry analysts suggest the launch was as expected given that some forecasts predict the market for digital educational materials will become “much more valuable” than the school computer market. Soon after its launch, the marketplace had to deal with some licensing issues. Read our coverage here. (At writing, Amazon Inspire was still in “early access” status.)
- Lumen Learning secures development partnerships to develop content for degree programs in 38 community colleges in 13 states, guilded under the Achieving the Dream network. Oregon-based and women-led, the Lumen OER has received more than $2 million USD in funding from state donors alone since its launch in 2014.
- Babson College’s Babson Survey Research Group releases its “Opening the Textbook: Educational Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2015-16” National Report. It presents an optimistic landscape of OER, but with challenging barriers in the path towards widespread adoption. See our detailed review of the report here.
- Curriki and Oracle partner to develop a High School Physics Collection, aligned with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Launched in 2015, Curriki’s OER approach involves content development as well as technologies that expand and simplify its adoption.
- OpenStax, OER’s Rice University grant-based initiative, announces its academic year savings report, ranking the schools who saved the most money by adopting their open textbooks. It is estimated than students saved $42 million USD in textbooks in the 2015-6 academic year, pacing OpenStax to account for $500 USD million by 2020.
- ISKME announces a partnership with Clever, an application manager for institutions and districts. This will allow students and teachers of Clever customers to access OER Commons through seamless login.
- Education gaming startup Duck Duck Moose “donates itself” to Khan Academy. Intellectual Property, including 21 “top-selling apps” and an 8-person team, is transferred to Khan for a symbolic price of $1 USD. Duck’s games become free.
- After being in development for over a year, even building some partnerships, Open Up Resources makes its official launch, with the goal to “address quality gaps in the K-12 curriculum.” To date, it has raised $10 million USD for the upcoming development, scheduled to be available for the 2017-8 academic year.
- Open Up Resources announces 30 schools in California to join a K-5 English OER pilot.
- CK-12 announces a content integration partnership with the Schoology LMS. It follows on similar alliances made by the OER nonprofit with Canvas and Google Classroom.
- Curriki launches personalized services including “Customized OER Collections” and a Search Widget and API.
- Knovation earns the “Learning Magazine’s Teacher Choice Award.“ Founded in 1999, the OER solutions company helps in the search for and deployment of OER, maintaining a collection of over 360,000 digital resources. Content partners for Knovation include McGraw-Hill.
- OpenStax and OER Commons announce a “community hubs” partnership that will allow instructors to develop and modify syllabi, study guides, and other materials. Together they amount to 100,000 resources and more than 1.5 million users.
- The Vancouver Public Schools district in Washington announces the launch of an OER initiative focusing on math content that will also benefit districts in California, North Carolina, and Arizona.
- The philanthropic branch of the biotech company, the Amgen Foundation donates $25,000 USD to Curriki. The OER company announces a Spanish content section.
- Citing low usage, Khan Academy stops supporting its app for the Windows Store.
- #OpenEd, the 13th Annual Open Education Conference, takes place in Richmond, Virginia. Designed as a venue to promote, debate, and share insight and research about OER practices, the event features keynotes speakers such as TJ Bliss, Program Officer in Education at the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. See a detailed agenda of the event here.
- Coinciding with #OpenEd, the FutuOER portal launches. It features points of view by leading OER thinkers from the United States.
- OER Commons offers Google Classroom integration. A simple course of action quickly adds OER Commons content into any section of a Classroom course.
- The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) declares OER the most important priority in their education agenda, as it touches on issues of opportunity, inequality, social justice, and segregation.
- The Office of EdTech at the US Education Department announces updates to the National Education Technology Plan. For years, the Office has helped districts and states embrace OER, through guides, “launch packets,” and policy. New grant guidelines, for example, will ensure educational outcomes are open-licensed.
- A bill to fund an OER pilot in Washington is introduced in the Higher Education Committee of the state’s House of Representatives. It seeks to benefit state universities, regional universities, and the Evergreen State College.
- The Maryland Open Source Textbook (MOST) initiative launches its first Mini-Grant Program, offering grants of up to $2,500 USD to faculty to develop, “adopt/adapt,” or scale OER adoption in universities and colleges in the state.
- Virginia’s Tidewater Community College reports on outcomes of its “Z-Degree,” the first of its kind in the United States. Launched in 2013 in partnership with Lumen Learning, Z-Degrees entail no payment for textbooks. This saves each student about $1,200 USD per year on average and up to $3,000 USD over the course of their program. By spring 2017, approximately 10,200 student beneficiaries will have saved over $1 million USD. The savings across all of Lumen’s partnerships will amount to about $10 million USD. A similar success story where Lumen was involved is reported in Salt Lake City Community College. Preliminary findings suggest the use of OER has positive impacts on student performance metrics, as well as tuition revenues.
- The Open Education Consortium presents the 2017 winners of the “OER & Project Awards for Open Education Excellence.” Norway’s NDLA and Curriki feature among the honorees.
- Australia’s Kilbaha Multimedia Publishing partners with OpenStax to adapt and serve OER to Australia, taking advantage of broad curriculum reform in some states. 40,000 people are already estimated to benefit. Kilbaha commits to continue updating and reviewing content.
- This month’s edition of Education Week features a special report on OER, the marketplace, and its compatibility with the Common Core.
- A case study by the RAND Corporation documents EngageNY, the OER initiative by the New York State Education Department. It finds a broad use of curriculum materials across the United States and a correlation between use and adoption of Common Core “or similar” standards. EngageNY’s English materials report up to three times higher use rate than similar alternatives.
- The week of March 27th, the Open Education Consortium celebrates the Open Education Week, with events raising awareness of OER around the world and online.
- North Dakota State University invests $12,000 USD in open textbooks from OpenStax, beginning with Biology and Psychology subjects.
- Lumen Learning and college bookstore Follett partner up to increase access and “discoverability” of OER content. Follett will invest $3.75 million USD in Lumen, more than doubling the amount raised by the nonprofit until now.
- K-12 EdTech company Edmodo launches Edmodo Spotlight, a content repository where teachers can download resources or upload their work. It features OER in addition to licensed content and a marketplace where instructors and designers can sell it.
- Knovation partners with Canvas to deliver OER straight from the LMS. It follows on a similar partnership with Google Classroom.
- Thanks to a grant from the Kinder Foundation, Houston Community College announces Associates of Arts in “Business Administration” and “General Studies” as Z-Degrees. HCC has implemented OER strategies since 2013.
- Successes with OER are mentioned as the reasons behind the Governor of New York’s decision to make the City University of New York and the State University of New York tuition-free. Since 2012, SUNY has had “Open SUNY Textbooks,” whose content development is supported by grants.
- Portland Community College’s Library announces students have saved an estimated $1 million USD since the launch of the PCC OER Initiative in 2015.
- India’s Ministry of Human Resource Development announces an Open Licensing Policy and plans to deploy an OER consortium nationwide for all universities and distance education institutions. The strategy will involve more than 2,000 MOOCs to serve 30 million students.
- OpenStax launches its Institutional Partnership Program, with 11 schools who will enjoy “individualized consulting on an OER strategy” and a collaboration network.