“Today we’re releasing a big update to Open Syllabus data and websites. Here’s a rundown:
The Co-Assignment Galaxy
The Galaxy has received a massive upgrade in scale and functionality. The previous version mapped 164,000 titles and could display 30,000 at a time. The new version maps 1.1 million titles and can display 500,000 at a time. The resolution of fields and subfields is vastly improved as a result….
OER Metrics is a new subsite for investigating trends and adoption patterns for openly-licensed books and textbooks (i.e., Open Educational Resources). It provides the first tools for mapping the demand side of the OER ecosystem and–we hope–can help inform adoption decisions by instructors and programs and investment decisions by authors, publishers, and funders….”
“Open Access (OA) monographs and Open Educational Resource (OER) textbooks are works that are ‘openly licensed’ — that is, they can be used and distributed for free. In a world of $200 textbooks, OA/OER plays a fairly high-profile role in efforts to reduce the cost of education.
But free circulation makes it difficult to track classroom adoption, which in turn makes it difficulty to understand the shape of demand for OA/OER work–either overall or with respect to particular subjects. The link between supply and demand established in the commercial book market by a sale doesn’t exist in the OA/OER world. Our thought is that this delinking is one reason–and maybe a significant reason–for the relatively low rate of adoption of OA/OER in teaching, despite over a decade of efforts. It’s still too hard to characterize demand for these titles to faculty, curricular designers, publishers, and investors. It’s hard to tell what’s popular and what’s been effectively adopted in peer institutions.
So we’re eager to see what happens when we partially close this information loop by measuring demand via syllabi. Here’s a normalized US trendline for OA/OER adoption based on the OS collection (drawing on catalog information from the Open Textbook Library and the Directory of Open Access Books). It shows rapid OER textbook growth in recent years–but from a very low baseline. In 2017, roughly 1 in 300 classes used OER textbooks and around 1 in 400 assigned an OA monograph (the lighter blue is for textbooks; darker for monographs)….”
The pandemic is not over. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill just went back for a week of in-person term. Seven days later, they have shut down, with over 500 students in isolation. They can now offer only remote tuition. So I repeat to those who are being optimistic about this year: no, the pandemic is not over, it is far from over, and there are many many challenges ahead. In this post I want to turn particularly to the challenge of access to library resources over the coming year for students, with particular reference to the disability equality implications.
“For decades, the syllabus has been the roadmap to college classes, listing homework, assignments, and most crucially, texts for students to read and reference. But while a syllabus might be able to teach students what they’re in for during the semester, academics have lacked a tool to analyze large masses of syllabi to better understand what teachers are teaching in different disciplines. That means there isn’t as much empirical data about the content being taught at universities.
The Open Syllabus Project aims to fix this problem. Researchers at the the American Assembly, a nonprofit housed within Columbia University, have collected an archive of more than six million syllabi from college courses all over the world that could help teachers to create new syllabi and researchers to garner a cross-cultural understanding of higher education.
The project first launched three years ago, but this new update has six times as many syllabi and search tools and visualizations designed to map out how academia works right now….”
” […] as the use of open educational resources continues to grow, we’re confident that syllabi mentions will become an increasingly useful way to evaluate the educational impacts of research. Hopefully, by raising the profile of such data, we can help accelerate that change.”