10/31/18: Daniel Williamson’s 10-year retrospective – OpenStax

“My path to OpenStax was a convoluted one. I went to Rice University to study opera performance, but like many students I had a change of heart somewhere along the way. Luckily, I had also been working as a technologist throughout college, doing website design and development for faculty. When I graduated in 2008, in the height of the recession, I was fortunate enough to have one of my supervisors recommend that I look into working at Connexions – the predecessor to OpenStax.

I joined the team as a content manager, thinking that this would be a good interim job where I could learn some new skills while I figured out what I was going to do with my life.

I quickly realized that I was working with brilliant people looking to solve a very interesting problem: how to democratize access to publishing and increase the availability of knowledge….”

Paradoxes of openness and distinction in the sharing economy – ScienceDirect

Abstract:  This paper studies four sites from the sharing economy to analyze how class and other forms of inequality operate within this type of economic arrangement. On the basis of interviews and participant observation at a time bank, a food swap, a makerspace and an open-access education site we find considerable evidence of distinguishing practices and the deployment of cultural capital, as understood by Bourdieusian theory. We augment Bourdieu with concepts from relational economic sociology, particularly Zelizer’s “circuits of commerce” and “good matches,” to show how inequality is reproduced within micro-level interactions. We find that the prevalence of distinguishing practices can undermine the relations of exchange and create difficulty completing trades. This results in an inconsistency, which we call the “paradox of openness and distinction,” between actual practice and the sharing economy’s widely articulated goals of openness and equity.

Welcome | Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education

“ISKME is an independent, education nonprofit whose mission is to improve the practice of continuous learning, collaboration, and change in the education sector. Established in 2002, ISKME conducts social science research and develops evidence-based innovations that improve knowledge sharing in education. Based in Silicon Valley’s Half Moon Bay, California, ISKME is well known for its pioneering open education initiatives that support student-centered teaching and learning practices throughout the globe. ISKME also assists policy makers, foundations, and education institutions in designing, assessing, and bringing continuous improvement to education policies, programs, and practice….”

Participant Experiences and Financial Impacts: Findings from Year 2 of Achieving the Dream’s OER Degree Initiative | Achieving the Dream

“This report expands on last year’s report with updated course and enrollment data as well as new findings about students’ perceptions of their OER courses and the institutional costs and actual student savings of OER degree pathways. A final report in September 2019 will include findings on student and course outcome data. Here are several highlights from this report that caught our attention:

  • The Initiative has spurred significant expansion of OER courses and enrollments at participating colleges.
  • Students find OER materials more relevant, easier to navigate, and better aligned with learning objectives than traditional textbooks.
  • Faculty see increased student engagement with OER materials.
  • College leaders see OER degrees connected to other institutional strategic goals, including affordability, increased access and equity, decreased time to degree, and improved pedagogy.
  • Students realize significant savings from use of free and open course materials, savings that can help them with financial challenges that might interfere with their ability to continue and succeed in their program of study….”

Free Textbooks Are Not Always Free: New Study Analyzes OER’s Costs to Colleges | EdSurge News

“When professors shift to assigning Open Educational Resources instead of publisher-produced textbooks, the move typically saves students money (and it can be a significant amount). But OER is not free, since it costs money to develop the materials, takes time for professors to evaluate and adopt them, and typically involves other campus-support services as well.

report released last week gives perhaps the most detailed accounting of the pricetag to colleges looking to make signiciant moves to OER….”

REBUS Foundation

“Books and textbooks are central tools in our intellectual lives. While they are no longer alone in our media landscape, books maintain their critical place in our culture as the documentation of human knowledge and experience.

The Rebus Foundation builds new models and technology for open book publishing and reading on the web, to encourage deeper engagement, and to enable people (and machines) to use and build on books and reading in new and meaningful ways….

Our first focus is on Open Textbooks*. In partnership with universities, professors, students, and related institutions, we are developing an open and collaborative model for publishing Open Textbooks. We want to make it easier to publish great Open Textbooks.

In parallel with our work on Open Textbooks, we are members of the W3C, where we are helping develop a new vision for books that are native to the web. We want to help combine the older tradition of portable, bounded books with the pervasive accessibility, addressability, and interconnectedness of the Open Web. Our first focus in this area will be on scholarly deep reading….

We believe we can move this vision forward by helping to build a web-based ecosystem of people, tools, services, and standards that together help usher in a new vision for open textbooks, books, and reading….”

Accessibility and Digital Content/Creation | REBUS Foundation

“In the Fall of 2017, Rebus Foundation Assistant Director, Zoe Wake Hyde, took part in a roundtable discussion at University of California, focusing on making digital content and creation more accessible for people with disabilities. The gathering was convened by the Authors Alliance, the Silicon Flatirons Center, and the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology, and it brought together a diverse group of participants.

That meeting generated the report, Authorship and Accessibility in the Digital Age, which is now available on the Author’s Alliance Website. Zoe’s thoughts on the experience, including the written report, offer a uniquely Rebus perspective….”

Bold innovations in openwashing | Abject

“One could argue that Audrey Watters’ dismissal of today’s announcement is a little harsh, somewhat cynical. Maybe insistence on open code and open content as necessary conditions for “open education” is a case of ‘zeal over pragmatism’.

But if proprietary content and platforms in service of for-profit enterprises [Udacity] counts as “open education”, just what is the “open” part supposed to be? Audrey’s subsequent tweets offer a clue….

Open as in doors. Open as in hearts. Open as in “for business”. And give them credit, the venture capitalized open education movers have proven tireless in making deals and spewing triumphant press releases. The Open Education Alliance represents the latest landmark in this glorious history.

In any event, while a concept such as open source carries certain obligatory qualities, when we talk about education the application of “open” is more closely related to how ‘All Natural!’ or ‘New and Improved!’ are used on our supermarket shelves. It’s gotten to the point where I find myself hesitant to use a term like “open education” when I speak with people. And I wonder if I still want to be called an open educator….”