Creative Commons Hires New CEO

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Ryan Merkley is the new CEO of Creative Commons.

Creative Commons plays a huge role in the world of OER. Merkley’s focus, for now, seems to be on making Creative Commons content more accessible. From The New York Times:

Still, one of the principal challenges for the organization is to keep tabs on its licensees, Mr. Merkley said. The 500 million total “is an estimate, not an actual number,” he said. “It is hard to track them.”

That technical problem, he said, speaks to a larger concern: how to organize Creative Commons content so that the public can easily find and use it in their own projects.

It’ll be interesting to see how Merkley’s outreach on behalf of Creative Commons translates to OER exposure.

Many Students Forced to Choose Between Food and College Expenses

"[Sometimes] it is a choice between whether they buy a book for class or they put food on the table for their family."

The Washington Post has a fascinating piece on "food insecurity" in college students.:

"A problem known as ‘food insecurity’ — a lack of nutritional food — is not typically associated with U.S. college students. But it is increasingly on the radar of administrators, who report seeing more hungry students, especially at schools that enroll a high percentage of youths who are from low-income families or are the first generation to attend college."

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it seems food insecurity negatively impacts academic performance.

Open education resources don’t solve this problem, but they do make things easier for students faced with the choice between paying for college and eating.

For more information on food insecurity, including readings and lessons, check out an OER collection like MERLOT.

News Organizations Continue to Discover OER

“One way for students to pursue their degree without having to spend a dime is through Open Education Resources. OERs offer free educational materials such as lesson plans, open textbooks and course work that are used under license and used repeatedly by others. The subjects available range from Humanities to Mathematics and can be used in its original form, altered form, a combination of both, or redistributed all for free.”

Affordable College Textbook Act Would Help Students, But Publishers Aren’t Hearing It, Houston Press, March 28, 2014

It’s been very interesting to see how the mainstream media is beginning to become interested in the idea of OER (although, to be precise, Houston Press is an alt-weekly).

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