Tuesday, February 6, 2018


Librarians packing and moving....

Librarians Laddawan Kongchum and Jacqueline Jones
packing boxes for the library's move off of the 3rd floor.

      As you visit your BRCC Magnolia Library, you may notice a few new changes. In the week before final exams in the fall semester, the library began a project of re-imagining our space. ROAR is moving to the 3rd floor of the Magnolia building, and we had to rehouse and reestablish roughly 40,000 items before the start of spring semester in January.

The state of your library during the move.

      The transition off of the 3rd floor was not always a smooth one. There were many issues of items out of place, items missing, and heavy boxes that did not want to move. The state of the library for approximately one month, was one of confusion.

Librarian Kathy Seidel attempting
to locate the next box for unpacking.
         Some of the new arrangements include a relocation of the periodicals, a split of the circulating collection, and the movement of some study space. 

The new location of magazines and journals

      The periodicals were condensed and moved to the area outside the deans' offices. This is a more prominent area of the library, and is easily in view of the circulation desk. The magazines and journals are still listed and shelved alphabetically, but if you need help locating a particular item, please speak to one of the librarians. Signs have been placed on the ends of the shelves to help direct you towards your journal. 

Newly added 2nd floor stacks

      Perhaps most noticeable is the relocation of much of our circulating collection. Previously, books on the second floor were primarily reference material, which cannot be checked out, or reserve material which is checked out on a limited basis. The third floor housed the majority of the circulating collection. Under the new distribution of space, a split in the circulating collection occurs for books beginning with the call number QA276 .M425 1999. These materials are now shelved on the second floor right behind the reference stacks. These books include material related to psychology, nursing, all of the sciences including math, physics, biology, and chemistry, PTEC, aviation/flight, and technical education. Friendly signs have been placed around the library to help you find material. If you need assistance, please ask a librarian.  

New ROAR offices
  Construction on the 3rd floor is wrapping up. The new offices for ROAR are coming along nicely. Soon this space will be open for students.

Friday, October 13, 2017


      What is a library for? It's a more complicated question than you might think. The common idea seems to be that libraries function as a warehouse for books. Yes, books are an important part of what happens in libraries, but a library is much more than just books.

      A college library is a place where a student can break free from the structured lessons of the classroom. They can begin to connect their own ideas to what they have been learning, and they can make these connections in a cross disciplinary fashion to see the inter relatedness of all of human thought. The library offers students the opportunity to decompartmentalize, understand how, for example, their English classes relate to their physics classes, and perhaps even find the answer that elusive question of "When are we ever going to need this?"

      At a college library, faculty have the opportunity to learn new skills, discover new teaching methods, add to their teaching toolbox, and become dynamic instructors and researchers. Faculty can emerge from their silos to discover how what they have been doing all semester relates to what has been going on across campus all semester. It is the library that ultimately builds success, fosters communication, and strengthens a learning community.

     Through the centuries knowledge and information was disseminated and shared through the book. This is how the library got tied to the idea of books. But, we live in a new era. An era where information travels quickly, and travels freely. Not all of this information is useful, and we now see, hear, and learn about events happening across the globe that would have taken weeks, months, or years to disseminate in the past. It is the mission of a library to help people process this information, find whats useful, and become information literate.

      The library offers access to a variety of electronic resources, digital files, audio files, lectures, films, art, poetry and literature, events that stir the imagination, create a thirst for learning, and a curiosity about the world around us.

    This month we feature several items about how libraries do this, what libraries mean to the communities they serve, and demonstrates the impact that libraries have. Your BRCC Magnolia Librarians work very hard to bring these ideas and services to our campus, but we need your help! If you have an idea for something please share it with us. Our libraries at all of our sites are more than storage areas, and we need to promote library services to our students for their ultimate success.

  This video talks in general about libraries, librarians, and the populations they serve. It primarily references public libraries, but the ideas apply towards BRCC libraries as well.


      This video relates to how one individual developed a love of learning that benefited his entire life from the library. This is something we at BRCC all aspire to, and it is part of what Magnola Library does as well.


      An article in the Spokesman Review, a daily newspaper out of Spokane, WA recently featured an innovative program at the Spokane Community College library. The idea highlighted here takes the services of a library to a new level. One which directly impacts the success of SCC students. The article is reprinted below.

Sokol, Chad. Oct. 18, 2017. Books and Laptops, Soccer Balls and Laptops? Spokane Community College's Library of Things Offers Myriad Items For Students. The Spokesman Review. Retrieved from http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2017/oct/18/books-and-laptops-soccer-balls-and-garden-rakes-sp/


    Linda Keys, the librarian at Spokane Community College, is close with a student in the school’s baking program – a single mother of three who sometimes struggles to buy needed pastry utensils.
“She has to be cutthroat with her budget,” Keys said, “so she didn’t have money for her fondant tools.”

The cost of school supplies can add up fast, especially in vocational programs that require specialized tools for building engines or decorating cakes.

That’s why SCC created the Library of Things, a place where students can check out more than books and laptops. To name a few of the items available: footballs and soccer balls, garden rakes and shovels, exercise weights, board games, musical instruments, cookware and Raspberry Pi computers for beginning programmers.

At a grand opening this month, Christine Johnson, the chancellor of Community Colleges of Spokane, called the Library of Things an innovative way to help students succeed both in and out of the classroom.

“Libraries are now really about providing all kinds of services to students,” she said, “no matter what their needs are.”

In addition to needed school supplies, the Library of Things offers what Keys described as “quality-of-life items.”

For example, SCC’s acting president, Kevin Brockbank, noted the library has a camping tent so students can “recharge” during a weekend nature getaway and return to campus ready to study. He called it one of the “little things” the school can offer on a tight budget.

Library staff pitched the idea last year and asked for $5,000 of SCC’s technology fees, which students pay along with tuition for school computers and system upgrades.

During the back-and-forth of the budgeting process, school administrators recommended that the Library of Things get only $4,000 in startup money, Keys said. But the student government, which oversees the technology fees, loved the proposal and decided on its own to allocate $10,000.

The Library of Things came to fruition with help from Bill Powers’ project management class, where students surveyed peers about the kinds of items the library should offer, studied government purchasing rules and helped develop the library’s checkout system.

For now, the Library of Things is based in a small room just off the main library. Keys hopes it will grow as the school accumulates items for checkout, such as backpacks and other basics. It will get some assistance from the Community Colleges of Spokane Foundation, but donations are also welcome, she said.

“We’ve got a ton of automotive students who might want to take a set of tools home,” she said.

Keys said if students can save money by checking out an item, they might be able to spend on things that enable them to focus on school.

“We can help them eliminate any little barrier whether it’s another tank of gas, a few hours of child care, whatever,” she said.

OER Update

      Are you still confused about how and what OER is? This video should help. It provides some basic information in a fun way.


      The BRCC Acadian Site just wrapped up its second annual book sale. The book sale was a great success. Freinds of the Library Rachel Norton and PatRich Norton were on hand to help with the book sale.

PatRich Norton and Rachel Norton assisting with the
book sale at Acadian.

      PatRich Norton is also in The Program For Successful Employment at the Acadian site. Thanks, for your help!

Monday, October 9, 2017


                     BRCC's Magnolia library is a great resource for students. But, did you also know that there are many services and activities for faculty? There are so many ways to get involved with your library, including right here in this blog! This month we are highlighting some of the ways we can help faculty with instruction and research, which ultimately leads to better teaching. Like what you read? Disagree with something posted? Feel free to leave a comment. The more interaction we have with you, the better your library services will be.

                  First, we have an update on affordable learning. Have you been interested in Open Education Resources (OER), but unsure on where to begin? have looked at OER, and decided that the resources just weren't usable? There are a variety of ways to reduce student textbook costs without actually using only OER. LOUIS Affordable Learning Louisiana is constantly building on this idea, and this article comes courtesy of Jamie Barrilleaux from LOUIS.


LOUIS Launches Affordable Learning Tools for Faculty
By Jaime Barrilleaux, Web and Communications Program Manager, LOUIS: The Louisiana Library Network

A Program of the Board of Regents

LOUIS has launched several tools to support campus affordability initiatives. These tools were developed to support faculty in the selection of low-cost, or no-cost, course materials. 

Find Textbooks
The Find Textbooks tool maps open education textbooks and resources to the Louisiana Statewide Common Course Catalog. The Open Textbook Library (https://open.umn.edu/opentextbooks/) is the primary source of content for this project. Content from other OER repositories will be included on an ongoing basis. This tool is available at http://bit.ly/find-texts.

EDS Faculty Portal
The EDS Faculty Portal provides a simple search interface for faculty to identify content the library can purchase that can be provided free-of-charge to students in place of costly textbooks. This is the first-of-its-kind interface and several other states are interested in replicating the function of the LOUIS portal. We're adding newly-available titles each week. Faculty can go to http://bit.ly/eds-portal to learn more, and search the portal.

Sage eBook Collection
LOUIS used additional funds from the Board of Regents to invest in the Complete SAGE Knowledge Collection Books, Reference and Navigator, a collection that contains over 4900 titles. This collection was selected because the content was matched against a sample course adoption title list at ten institutions and there was evidence of materials already being used by students for required course books at a diverse set of Louisiana institutions. Campuses can access the collection now through July 31, 2018. After July 31, 2018, the funds used to provide access to the entire collection will be converted to funds for each campus to retain access to individually selected eBooks in perpetuity. The funds will be prioritized for any course-adopted titles.  Learn more about the Sage eBook collection at http://sk.sagepub.com/.

Learn More
Faculty can contact their campus library to learn more, or email questions to alearningla@regents.la.gov. 

Librarian Peter Klubek presenting a library instruction session. 

      Librarians can partner with you in developing information literacy instruction in your class. The benefits of this type of lesson better prepare your students for learning and can lead to ever greater success in your classroom and in retention. A recent letter from Doctor Joni M. Blake, a researcher in Information Literacy and instruction, highlights some important findings.


      "Dearest Friends and Colleagues--

I'm thrilled to finally share the results of our study, "The Impact of Information Literacy Instruction on Student Success: A Multi-Institutional Investigation and Analysis".  

Our task force analyzed the data from over 42,000 first-time, first-year freshmen and over 1700 distinct courses from 12 research institutions to determine the impact(s) of information literacy instruction integrated into course curriculum on several student success measures.

Key findings include:

  • Student retention rates are higher for those students whose courses include an information literacy instruction component.

  • On average, First-Year GPA for students whose courses included information literacy instruction was higher than the GPA of students whose courses did not.

  • Students exposed to library instruction interactions successfully completed 1.8 more credit hours per year than their counterparts who did not participate in courses containing information literacy instruction.
​This is just the first year of what we hope will be a multi-year longitudinal analysis to determine if these gains are sustained and built upon with additional information literacy instruction in higher-level courses, and of course, the impact this might have on graduation rates.​  

Future years will also examine which teaching methods consistently show the highest student gains, so your member institutions can tailor their instruction programs to maximize the success of their students.  The task force is currently compiling the 2nd year of data, and we will share that with all of you when it's completed.

Please share this with your boards of directors and member institutions.  Two of my task force colleagues will be presenting these findings at the ARL meeting next week."


Joni M. Blake, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Greater Western Library Alliance
5200 W. 94th Terrace, Suite 200
Prairie Village, KS  66207

      As we continue to promote and develop Open Education Resources here at BRCC, be sure to look out for a survey in the coming weeks. LCTCS is enthusiastically supporting the use of OER and is interested in collecting data from member institutions that have offered OER courses. Let's use this opportunity to demonstrate how BRCC is a leader!

     The number of publishers promoting and developing OER also continues to expand. The interest in OER is not limited to BRCC, or to the state of Louisiana. A recent article from Inside Higher Ed announced that Cengage has embraced OER and explains how.


A Big Publisher Embraces OER

      For years, big-time publishers have been skeptical of open educational resources, questioning their quality and durability. But one of those publishers, Cengage, is today announcing a new product line built around OER.

      Cengage predicts that the use of OER -- free, adaptable educational course materials -- could triple over the next five years. In a report published last year, Cengage said that education and technology companies were ready to “embrace the movement” -- adding their own services and technology to create “value-added digital solutions that help institutions use OER to its best advantage.”

      With OpenNow, Cengage is sending its clearest signal yet that it is serious about OER. Taking OER materials freely available online from sites such as OpenStax, Cengage has added its own assessments, content and technology to the materials, which will be delivered through an “intuitive, outcomes-based” platform that can be integrated into students’ learning management systems. Focusing on general education, OpenNow has launched with courses in psychology, American government and sociology, and more courses in science, economics and the humanities will be available this fall.

      The "open" in OER is commonly understood to mean that content should be openly licensed. Accordingly, Cengage says that all written content in the OpenNow platform, including assessments and some materials that were previously under a Cengage copyright, will be registered under an open CC-BY license so that institutions can adapt and customize the content to meet their own needs.
Though the course content is ready to use “out of the box,” Cengage said that it can offer instructional design team services if desired. The OpenNow platform, and all its content, complies with Americans With Disabilities Act regulations.

      Cheryl Constantini, vice president of content strategy for Cengage, said that the content in the OpenNow platform would be “available for anyone to use for free outside of our solution.” But for those who want to use the OpenNow platform, fees start at $25 per student per course. “The $25 is for the delivery of content that’s aligned to assessment and learning objectives, the additional assessments and videos we either curated or created, and the outcomes-based platform with personalization and analytics,” said Constantini.

      The $25 price point is in line with prices charged by Lumen Learning, which has also developed proprietary OER courseware, and which could be a potential competitor for Cengage. Though obviously more expensive than finding OER content and providing it to students for free, Cengage said that the $25 price point was still affordable and would ensure access to high-quality materials. The average price point for Cengage’s other digital course-materials products is $80. Many general education courses have historically required the purchase of books that can easily top $100.
Asked why Cengage was choosing to move into the OER space now, Michael Hansen, Cengage CEO, said that the company is evolving to meet the needs of a changing market. “We respect that some of our customers want to use OER, and it has the potential to change the learning experience,” said Hansen. “OER offers pedagogical flexibility -- instructors can change it, remix it, improve it -- and students can actively contribute to it. This can make learning more engaging and effective. Giving our customers this flexibility, while providing students value, is a positive thing for everyone,” he said.

      “Instructors aren’t just looking for affordable content; they want the ownership that comes with OER. But it takes time to find and vet OER content that is current and accurate,” added Constantini. She said that a pilot launched last year by Cengage, which blended OER and proprietary content, had taught the team a lot about working with OER. “We learned how to maintain and sustain this content. And we learned how to improve it and then give it back to the community,” she said.
Richard Baraniuk, the founder of OpenStax -- a nonprofit provider of free, peer-reviewed OER textbooks, which is based at Rice University -- said he supported publishers and companies taking OpenStax content and adapting it. “We actually feel great about it; OpenStax is 100 percent oriented toward helping students, so we’re in favor of any product or service that improves student learning and saves students money,” said Baraniuk.

      Asked if he minded companies making money from OpenStax content, Baraniuk said he didn’t have a problem with companies charging for content they had added value to. He noted that while OpenStax does have several relationships with companies and publishers that provide OpenStax with a revenue stream, there are no legal restrictions on companies wishing to take OER content and build on it.

    Phil Hill, the co-publisher of the blog e-Literate and a partner at MindWires Consulting, said he was not surprised by Cengage’s OER announcement. “If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that Cengage has been saying for at least a year that they wanted to get into this space,” he said. Hill says he was surprised, however, at how aggressively Cengage seemed to be promoting OER with this announcement. “We’ve seen other publishers dipping their toes in, but this seems as if it is central to Cengage’s strategy.” He noted that the announcement could cause other publishers to accelerate their OER strategies. “The movement is not going away,” he said.
While previously OER might have been viewed as a threat to publishers who set high textbook prices, Hill said he thought there had been a shift in publishers’ opinion of OER “from threat to opportunity.” He noted that many problems faced by traditional publishers -- how to reduce prices, how to enable customers to customize content, how to ensure students have their materials on the first day of class -- were problems that OER can solve. “So why not use OER to solve them?” he asked.
And indeed other major publishers -- such as Macmillan Learning, Pearson and McGraw Hill -- have been talking about the benefits of using OER, offering help in doing so or adding business lines focused on OER.

      Hill noted that the timing of the Cengage announcement -- just before the annual Open Education Conference in Anaheim, Calif. -- was interesting. “I think this is going to cause a lot of heads to spin in the OER community,” said Hill. “There are some who are antipublisher through and through, and others who don’t mind who provides OER, as long as they are following open principles and providing cheaper curriculum to students. It’s going to be really interesting to see what the receptivity to this news is at the conference.”

      Nicole Allen, director of Open Education at the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, which supports the adoption of OER on campus, agreed that Cengage’s announcement signaled a shift in thinking of big publishers towards OER. “The traditional publishing industry has done a complete 180 on OER,” said Allen. While she said it was great that publishers were “getting with the program,” she said it was important for consumers to keep asking questions.
“It’s one thing to brand something as open, and another thing for it to actually be open,” Allen said. “As OER has gained momentum, more and more companies want to attach themselves to the idea of being open. But for each product that’s launched, we need to keep asking questions. Is it really open, or is it just being branded as open? Open is not just a set of attributes, it’s a set of values and practices that make education better.”

Reprinted from Inside Higher Ed

McKenzie, Lindsay. (October 10, 2017). A Big Publisher Embraces OER. Retrieved October 10, 2017 from https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/10/10/cengage-offers-new-oer-based-product-general-education-courses?utm_source=Inside+Higher+Ed&utm_campaign=d411843813-DNU20171010&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1fcbc04421-d411843813-197783033&mc_cid=d411843813&mc_eid=c59265f9be

Friday, September 8, 2017


Welcome to another academic year here at BRCC! Over the summer your BRCC librarians have been hard at work making changes and bringing in new additions to improve your library experience. Some of these improvements will be highlighted here. But many others will need to be experienced to be fully appreciated. Why not stop by the Magnolia Library today?

The lights burn bright at BRCC!

      We start with a recent American Libraries Association (ALA) brief that discussed reasons to use the library. Of course there are many benefits and reasons for why one would want to stop by their library, but these are just a few examples of how the library can complement the learning taking place in your courses, the focus on success, and ultimately gain more completers for BRCC.


Students benefit from library instruction in their initial coursework. Information literacy instruction provided to students during their initial coursework helps them acquire a common set of competencies for their undergraduate studies. The assessment findings from numerous AiA projects that focused on information literacy initiatives for freshmen and new students underscore that students receiving this instruction perform better in their courses than students who do not.

Library use increases student success. Several AiA studies point to increased academic success when students use the library. The analysis of multiple data points (e.g., circulation, library instruction session attendance, online database access, study room use, interlibrary loan) shows that students who used the library in some way achieved higher levels of academic success (e.g., GPA, course grades, retention) than students who did not use the library.

 Collaborative academic programs and services involving the library enhance student learning. Academic library partnerships with other campus units, such as the writing center, academic enrichment, and speech lab, yield positive benefits for students (e.g., higher grades, academic confidence, retention).

 Information literacy instruction strengthens general education outcomes. Several AiA projects document that library instruction improves students’ achievement of institutional core competencies and general education outcomes. The project findings demonstrate different ways that information literacy contributes to inquiry-based and problem-solving learning, including effective identification and use of information, critical thinking, ethical reasoning, and civic engagement.

Library research consultations boost student learning. One-on-one or small-group reference and research assistance with a librarian enhances academic success, as documented by such factors as student confidence, GPAs, and improved achievement on course assignments.

    If you frequently use our catalog to access material, you may notice a few improvements. Our results page now features pictures of the cover of the book that has been retrieved. This is particularly helpful if you have seen the book somewhere before, or have a vague recollection of what the book looks like. This feature can also help you locate the book, once you begin looking in the stacks.

A sample search result with the book covers displayed.
     Once you have selected a book from the results list, a larger picture is displayed. You will also have an opportunity to examine the details of the book by clicking on "A look inside" in blue text located at the top of the result page.

   After clicking on "A Look Inside," you will have the opportunity to read a brief summary, look at the table of contents, or read some of the author's notes.

   Through collaboration with LOUIS, the Louisiana Library Network, online access to the Complete SAGE Knowledge Collection was recently purchased with grant funding from the Board of Regents.  As a member of the LOUIS consortium, the BRCC Library will provide access to all titles in the SAGE eBook collection to students, faculty and staff for one year.  Access to the SAGE collection is provided as part of an evidence-based acquisitions program.  After the initial subscription to the collection expires on July 31, 2018, a portion of the funding from the Board of Regents grant will be allotted to LOUIS member institutions to purchase a limited number of eBook titles from the SAGE Knowledge Collection to own in perpetuity.  Priority for selection will be given to eBooks selected  for use as course materials.  The 4,900+ titles in the SAGE eBook collection are DRM-free. Users can print or download chapters from the eBooks, and each title can be accessed by an unlimited number of simultaneous users.  The database also includes a selection of educational videos.

SAGE Log in screen

You can access the SAGE Knowledge Collection by going to mybrcc.edu--->Quick Links--->BRCC Library --->Online Databases ---> Scroll to eBook Databases---> SAGE eBooks

The SAGE Knowledge Collection can be accessed on or off campus by clicking on the SAGE eBooks link.  When you are off campus, you will need to login using your Lnumber (with a capital L) as your user ID and your 6-digit birthdate, in the format mmddyy, as your PIN.

For more information on the SAGE Knowledge Collection, contact Lauren McAdams: wadel2@mybrcc.edu or call the Library Reference Desk at (225) 216-8555.  Please let us know if you are using any of the SAGE eBooks in your classes or if there are specific titles that you would like to recommend for purchase.

Work Cited:

Gallaway, Teri.  “LOUIS Provides SAGE Knowledge eBooks to All Members.” LOUIS Lagniappe, vol. 4, no. 1, 2017, pp. 12-13,     http://louislibraries.org/ld.php?content_id=35263205.  Accessed 7 September 2017.

    Another resource that has received updates is the Libguides. We have 75 total guides. Most of them are created for a specific course or program here at BRCC. The new guides are cleaner, crisper, and easier to navigate.

Screenshot of the OER Libguide

    Your liaison librarian provides updates to these pages, so if there is some information or content that you would like added, contact your liaison. As you browse, you are sure to find amazing resources. For example, a link to the British Library in the Art Libguide can connect you to the scanned copies of Leonado da Vinci's notebook.

Screenshot from the open access British Library of da Vinci notebook

    Your BRCC librarians have already begun conducting library orientations and bibliographic instruction sessions. We have visited classes Jackson, New Roads, Port Allen, ATC, Hooper, Frazier, and Acadian. We are always happy to assist your instruction through information literacy. Being information literate is an important key for college success. We can help your students succeed!

Librarian, Laddawan Kongchum visiting students at the Central site. 

    If you would like to schedule a librarian in your class contact the library reference desk at 216-8555, or librarian@mybrcc.edu. Your liaison librarian would also be happy to speak with you.

Monday, May 8, 2017

May 2017

Good luck with final exams and wrapping up your Spring 2017 semester! The librarians at Magnolia Library continue to develop outreach projects, and to keep you up-to-date on current trends and thoughts in higher education. Continue reading this blog for updates and comments related to these themes and ideas.

On Friday, April 28, in celebration of the Week of the Young Child, the Baton Rouge Community College Magnolia Library, Library Club, CDYC program, and Graphic Design department collaborated with the Capital Area Head Start, to share books and reading with the children. The Week of the Young Child, Apr. 24-28, 2017, is an annual celebration hosted by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) celebrating early learning, young children, their teachers, and families.

Interim Dean Jacqueline L. Jones
reads to children

Library Interim Dean Jacqueline L. Jones has worked throughout the year with the children, sharing the book Lola at the Library by Anna McQuinn.  At the culminating event on Friday, the delighted children listened to the story and excitedly participated during their favorite parts. After the reading, the children were each given their own copy of the book inside a backpack designed to look like Lola’s.  The backpacks were provided by the BRCC Library Club and printed by the BRCC Graphic Design Department.  Through an additional collaboration with First Book, one hundred books were donated to the families of the Head Start children.

Library student workers preparing bags for children

Interim Dean Jacqueline L. Jones reads to children

 OER Update

There is some new information on the growing topic of OER's. To keep you abreast of developing trends, your BRCC Librarians have included one of those developments in this blog. OER's are rapidly increasing in popularity. The state of New York has even announced a plan to invest $8 million in OER's for SUNY and CUNY colleges (announcement linked here).  Other states may follow similar plans, and you are sure to hear more about OER in the future. You are also encouraged to speak with you librarian liaison should you need more information on how OER is impacting your subject area.

A recent announcement on Inside Higher Ed described how Follet and Lumen are working with OER's.

Straumsheim, C. (2017, April)  Inside Higher Ed A New Channel For OER. Retrieved May 8, 2017 from https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2017/04/18/follett-lumen-learning-announce-oer-partnership?utm_source=Inside+Higher+Ed&utm_campaign=2f7ff04d9f-DNU20170418&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1fcbc04421-2f7ff04d9f-197480453&mc_cid=2f7ff04d9f&mc_eid=0c74f8f301.

Open educational resources provider Lumen Learning has a new partner in its effort to get more faculty members to use alternatives to commercial textbooks: the college bookstore.
Lumen, a start-up based in Portland, Ore., said on Monday that it had teamed up with Follett, creating a new channel for its course content to reach more faculty members. Follett operates more than 1,200 physical and 1,600 virtual bookstores, and will feature Lumen’s content alongside commercial educational materials from more than 7,000 publishers.

Additionally, Follett is contributing a “significant” amount to Lumen’s new $3.75 million financing round (the company declined to give a specific figure).
In interviews with Inside Higher Ed, the two companies gave slightly different explanations about why the partnership makes sense.

Follett emphasized its “long history of putting students and faculty first,” comparing the partnership with Lumen to its early entries into the textbook rental and “inclusive access” markets.

“It’s important for Follett to put its money where its mouth is,” said Roe J. McFarlane, chief digital officer at Follett Higher Education. “If we care about affordability and accessibility, paying lip service to this is no longer acceptable to the marketplace.”
Follett isn’t “saying OER is going to save the day,” McFarlane continued. But the company has received a “phenomenal amount of feedback” from colleges where faculty members are looking for affordable alternatives to commercial textbooks, he said, and it is making an effort to address those concerns.

“We are saying it is an option for those that want to consider it, and it is a very affordable option,” McFarlane said. “We want to make sure that we have that span of offerings, should they wish to teach with these materials.”
Follett has existing relationships with OER providers, but the partnership with Lumen is the first deal Follett has signed with a provider to offer its OER courseware, McFarland said.

For Lumen, the partnership is an effort to address one of the major issues facing the growth of OER: discoverability. Most faculty members say they would be happy to assign free or low-cost course materials -- as long as they are high quality -- but that they have trouble finding the right content for their classes.

A 2016 survey by the Babson Survey Research Group, for example, found issues related to the availability and discoverability of OER as the top four barriers that faculty members said prevent them from assigning those course materials -- among them, the lack of a comprehensive catalog of OER or colleagues who could point them in the right direction.
Lumen’s catalog includes OER for 78 different courses. Since its launch in 2013, the start-up has gained a greater understanding of why some faculty members use OER and others don’t, said Kim Thanos, founder and CEO of Lumen.

“One of the obstacles is this challenge of how we get OER out of a side path in terms of faculty consideration, review and adoption, and start to move it more into the mainstream process that faculty use to consider and adopt learning resources,” Thanos said. By teaming up with Follett, she added, Lumen is able to put OER in front of many more faculty members by using infrastructure they are already familiar with -- Follett’s platform.

Despite lingering issues around discoverability, open resources have gained traction in higher education -- particularly in high-enrollment general education courses, which have been the focus of many OER initiatives. Many of those initiatives are taking place at the state level. Most recently, politicians in New York reached a budget deal that includes $8 million to expand OER use at the City University of New York and State University of New York systems.

Lumen has also seen growth. So far this academic year, the company has delivered content to more than 100,000 students, which it says adds up to about $10 million in savings compared to if those students had bought commercial textbooks. The company is expecting to generate $10 million in savings this fall alone, suggesting the growth will continue, Thanos said.

Lumen has previously worked by signing contracts with individual colleges and helping them begin OER initiatives on their campuses, charging students a $10-25 “course support fee.” Students will pay the same to access OER through Follett’s platform.
The company will continue to work with colleges and universities, Thanos said. She added, “We’re not looking to do a similar partnership with other bookstore providers,” suggesting the deal with Follett is somewhat of an exclusive one.

The $3.75 million investment more than doubles what Lumen has raised to date. Thanos said the start-up will use the funds to accelerate its own growth.

“This is not a next round leading toward many more rounds,” Thanos said. “We do believe we’re on a nice path toward being financially self-sustaining and being a healthy, growing company.”

Fake News and higher education

Another article from Inside Higher Ed examines post-truth and the first year experience. In light of the current climate that trivializes journalistic standards and integrity it is important that we at BRCC, provide our students with the tools needed to understand what an argument is and how it is useful to learning. Keep reading and commenting on this blog for more information related to this topic. 

Duffy, J. (2017, May)  Inside Higher Ed Post-Truth and First Year Writing. Retrieved May 8, 2017 from https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2017/05/08/first-year-writing-classes-can-teach-students-how-make-fact-based-arguments-essay?utm_source=Inside+Higher+Ed&utm_campaign=4a3899a4c7-DNU20170508&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1fcbc04421-4a3899a4c7-197783033&mc_cid=4a3899a4c7&mc_eid=c59265f9be

Perhaps the greatest challenge to academe in the current political environment is the ascendancy of a “post-truth,” “alternative fact,” “fake news” culture, in which claims are detached from evidence and words do not necessarily bear any relation to reality. In the culture of post-truth, social institutions formerly seen as mainstays of objective information -- the judiciary, news media and, not least, the university -- are widely regarded with skepticism, if not hostility, and their adherence to fact-based argument dismissed as elitism. Indeed, the very concept of a fact may have already become a casualty of the post-truth era.

“There’s no such thing, unfortunately, anymore as facts,” Trump supporter Scottie Nell Hughes declared on Diane Rehm’s NPR show in December. “And so Mr. Trump’s tweets amongst a certain crowd,” Hughes continued, “…are truth.” Hughes was widely reviled for her assertion, but she appears to have correctly assessed the temperature of the times.
How should those of us in academe respond? How do we prepare our students to respond?
I offer here a modest suggestion: support your local first-year writing program.
For much of its history, the first-year writing class has been an arena for teaching values and virtues like honesty, accountability, fair-mindedness and intellectual courage that serve as the foundations, indeed, the essence of academic argument. Moreover, the first-year writing class promotes those values in thousands of institutions across the nation, serving tens of thousands of students each semester by introducing them to principles of ethical argumentation. In so doing, the first-year writing class offers a robust defense against the post-truth culture and provides a model for constructive, fact-based public discourse.

Consider, for example, the teaching of argument in the first-year writing class. While by no means uniform in their approaches, first-year writing courses commonly teach argument as a social practice, a discursive relationship between reader and writer. For that relationship to thrive -- or to borrow Aristotle’s term, to flourish -- readers and writers must be confident in making certain assumptions about one another.
The first of these is mutual honesty. Readers must be confident that claims made by the writer are not intended to deceive or manipulate; you will not read much further in this essay if you conclude I am lying to you. The author, in turn, writes in the expectation, or at least the hope, that readers will not willfully distort the writer’s message but will offer a fair hearing of the argument.

Reader and writer may be skeptical of one another’s claims, and they may disagree vehemently about given policies. Yet if each enters the argument trusting in the basic honesty of the other, there is the possibility of dialogue between them. In the first year-writing class, accordingly, students are taught that successful arguments begin with relationships of trust grounded in expectations of honest exchange.
The honesty of claims, however, takes us only so far. Students in the first-year writing class learn that assertions made in an academic argument are but one part of a pairing, the first line of a couplet. When writers make an assertion, first-year writing students are told, they must supply evidence to support that claim. They must be accountable for the things they say and the language they use in saying it. “Accountability,” the philosopher Margaret Urban Walker has written, “means a presumption that someone can be called to answer, to stand before others for an examination of and judgment upon his or her behavior.” When students in the first-year writing course are taught to provide evidence appropriate to their claims, they are learning they will be called upon to answer, to stand before others, to provide the proofs by which their claims may be judged. They are learning something of the commitments that accountable writers make to their readers and themselves.

Nor do such commitments end with providing evidence. While the culture of post-truth seeks to quash competing truths, students in the first-year writing class learn that successful arguments include a healthy consideration of other views. To be credible in an academic argument, students learn in first-year writing courses, writers must attend to evidence and opinions that contradict their own.

What's more, they must do so equitably, generously and fearlessly -- always willing to be one of those, like Socrates in Plato’s Gorgias, “quite as ready to be refuted as to refute.” To acknowledge the views of other people in an essay -- the practice first-year writing teachers typically call the counterargument -- is more than simply a convention. Rather, it is the rhetorical expression of the virtues of fair-mindedness, respectfulness and intellectual courage -- the qualities so conspicuously absent in the culture of post-truth.
Finally, argument in the first-year writing class teaches practices of intellectual humility. Many people have noted how academics represent argument in the language of conflict and war. We attack others’ ideas. We gain and lose territory. We are victorious, or we are decisively defeated. This is the language of intellectual domination.

But argument can equally be understood as a practice of radical humility, in the sense that to argue is to submit ourselves to the judgment of others, offering up our ideas for scrutiny, criticism and rejection. Moreover, while argument in the first-year writing class is frequently taught as the practice of persuasion, it is just as often represented as a process of inquiry, exploration and the reconciliation of diverse views. Understood this way, argument functions not as a truncheon for dominating others but rather as an invitation to collaborate, to reason together and, perhaps, to find and inhabit common ground.

If the next four years of the current administration are anything like the first months -- and the president has provided no reason to think otherwise -- we can look forward to a rising tide of alternative facts. As those in the academic community -- including college presidents, provosts, trustees and deans -- consider how best to meet such challenges, one site that may stand as a model of principled resistance is the first-year writing class, where post-truth finds no purchase and the commitment to fact-based discourse is unwavering.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

APRIL 2017

OER Update

There have been many developments in OER across institutions of higher education in the State of Louisiana. Your BRCC library have been following the trends and here are a few examples: 

At UNO a first step was taken toward promoting OER last year during Open Education Week with the faculty-staff-student forum, in partnership with the Center for Teaching and Learning and the First Year Experience Office, titled "Reimagining Textbooks." Faculty who incorporated OER into their classes spoke about the pedagogical benefits and the student and staff person (from First Year Experience) discussed the impact that textbook costs have on students. The outcomes of this forum were that ideas were shared and partnerships were established around this issue with some other units on campus.

At LSU, interest in OER is just getting started. Much of this interest was spurred on the LOUIS project and the funding to host an Open Textbook Workshop, where faculty received $200 for attendance and review of an open textbook. 

LSU Student Government has also gotten involved in OER adoption, and Student Government students are increasingly excited about OER's. In part, this is because some of LSU's Student Government leaders attended an SEC workshop in 2015 focused on advancing open access and OER's. SPARC was involved in coordinating that event. More recently, Student Government worked with the libraries to put together an OER week (occuring earlier in the semester). 

These are just some examples of what is happening around the state. If you would like to partner with your BRCC librarians in a similar idea, please let us know. We are continuing to promote OER's where we can, and we are currently working on a revised workshop. More details to follow soon. 

Not sure how to find OER and open textbooks to use for your courses? One new resource that can help is the LOUIS Find Textbooks tool, created by librarians from around the state, which matches courses from the state common course catalog with available OER and open textbooks: http://louislibraries.org/alearningla/find-textbooks/home. The Find Textbooks tool currently includes only resources from the Open Textbook Library and MERLOT, but is a good place to start if you are interested in finding OER to use for your courses. 

Reach out to your librarian

      Your BRCC librarians have been very active lately with all sorts of programming and educational opportunities. We participated in an open house event, partnered with Artsfest to bring in a children's book author, and in two weeks we will partnering with ALC in their LNAP event on May 2nd.

Dean Jones and Reference Librarian Peter Klubek set up
the library table at the Open House 2017.
Dean Jones meeting with prospective students at the
Open House 2017.

      These opportunities are always the perfect time to meet with you librarian liaison, discuss ideas, and learn more about what your BRCC library can do for you and your classes. Got an idea? Reach out and share it! The librarians are always interested in new ways to help.

Author Julia Cook kicking off Artsfest at her book talk sponsored
by BRCC Magnolia Library

Reference Librarian Kathy Seidel, student Vanessa White
Author Julia Cook, and Reference Librarian Peter Klubek
at the Julia Cook Author Talk.