SIIA Releases Guide on the Use of Open Educational Resources (OER) in K-12 and Postsecondary Education

SIIA Releases Guide on the Use of Open Educational Resources (OER) in K-12 and Postsecondary Education

Guide helps stakeholders determine the appropriate model for developing and implementing educational resources

Washington, D.C. (March 21, 2013) – The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA), the principal trade association for the software and digital content industries, today released the “Guide on the Use of Open Educational Resources in K-12 and Postsecondary Education.” This Guide provides a framework for understanding open educational resources (OER), and it examines development and implementation costs, current business models, government and philanthropy’s role, and other considerations around the use of OER.

“SIIA expects that educational needs will be addressed moving forward by a mix of instructional materials, including OER,” said Karen Billings, vice president of SIIA’s Education Division. “SIIA and this Guide are focused on helping public officials, instructors and content providers better understand the various OER models, as well as the total costs to consider in determining the appropriate strategy for developing and implementing a particular educational resource.”

The Guide includes the following:

  • OER Definition, including full explanations of related copyright and licensing issues
  • Total Cost of Development/Ownership of instructional materials, including implications for those creating and implementing OER
  • Business/Funding Models being used to develop and support OER by content developers and aggregators, both for-profit and non-profit
  • Government Initiatives, including a sampling of key federal, state and international OER policies and grants
  • OER Frequently Asked Questions

“SIIA recognizes that content development and delivery models will continue to evolve, and encourages an environment that fosters R&D investment, rewards innovation and quality, and thus provides students and faculty with a robust choice of curricular resources and related tools and supports,” said Mark Schneiderman, SIIA’s senior director of education policy. “In making cost-benefit calculations and comparisons, it is important that public leaders and educators consider that educational resources, including OER, require not only the initial investment, but as importantly must budget for the total, long-term cost of development and use.”

The Guide was developed under the direction of the SIIA OER working group. It was authored by independent consultants Sue Collins of CollinsConsults and Peter Levy of Learning in Motion. Their knowledge, perseverance, and commitment to excellence made this document possible. The Guide is available to all under a CC-BY license and is especially crafted to inform legislators, government officials, education leaders, faculty, and content developers and aggregators.

About SIIA
SIIA is the leading association representing the software and digital content industries. SIIA represents approximately 700 member companies worldwide that develop software and digital information content. Information technology (IT) and software security are critical issues to SIIA’s members, many of whom strive to develop safe, secure and state-of the-art products that effectively serve their commercial and government customers alike, while protecting their intellectual property. The SIIA Education Division serves and represents more than 200 member companies that provide software, digital content and other technologies that address educational needs. The Division shapes and supports the industry by providing leadership, advocacy, business development opportunities and critical market information. For more information, visit

Media Contacts
• Laura Greenback, SIIA Communications, 410-533-1943,

• Saul Hafenbredl, C. Blohm & Associates, 608-216-7300 x25,


AP good for high school, bad for college?

I complained recently that college professors too often wrongly dismiss high school teachers as being unsuited to teach college-level classes such as the Advanced Placement courses so popular in the Washington region, says Jay Matthews for the Washington Post. Two scholars from distinguished universities gently chided me for being too hard on their academic colleagues. They might be right. After an e-mail exchange with John T. Fourkas, Millard Alexander Professor of Chemistry at the University of Maryland, and Bryan McCann, associate professor of history at Georgetown University, I concede that professors’ concerns about AP often show no disrespect for high schools but instead stem from discomfort with the ill effects of colleges competing for AP students. Fourkas and McCann like AP and similar college-level programs such as International Baccalaureate. They recognize that those classes have made high school more challenging and gotten students ready for long college reading lists and long exams…

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U.S. News starts 2014 best colleges rankings data collection

Work on the next edition of the U.S. News Best Colleges rankings is under way. U.S. News started to collect data from the three U.S. News statistical surveys–main, financial aid and finance–on March 19. That statistical data will be used for the 2014 edition of our college rankings, which will be published later this year. These surveys gather information on such factors as enrollment, faculty, tuition, room and board, SAT and ACT scores, admissions criteria, graduation and retention rates, college majors, school finances, activities, sports and financial aid. This data is used in the Best Colleges rankings that will be published on and in the print guidebook that will be available on newsstands. More than 1,750 U.S. colleges, and a few outside of the United States, received a notification email from U.S. News with details on how to access our password-protected online surveys. Nearly all regionally accredited, four-year bachelor’s degree granting U.S. colleges should have received such a notice. If you are from a college that did not receive the data collection survey email, please contact Diane Tolis, U.S. News data collection manager, at

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States’ aid to public colleges has fallen 28 percent since 2008

State governments, which have been battling slow economic growth, cut aid to public colleges for five years and now spend 28 percent less per student than they did in 2008, according to a study published on Tuesday, Reuters reports. The reductions in every state except Wyoming and North Dakota average $2,353 for the 75 percent of undergraduates who attend public colleges and show few signs of easing soon, according to the study’s lead writer, Phil Oliff of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

“The rate of decline has moderated somewhat, but we don’t see clear signs that states are reinvesting in their higher education systems,” Oliff said in a conference call with reporters. “They are coming out of an enormous hole.”

Revenues for state governments have risen for nearly three years, but are not matching the bounceback after previous recessions, with the rate of increase slowing in the 2012 third quarter, according to the Rockefeller Institute of Government…

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How four tech-savvy colleges advance student learning with technology

Colleges are using innovative technologies to advance student learning.

As educational technology becomes more prevalent in higher education, administrators are hoping to improve student outcomes, boost their school’s visibility and prestige, and aid in student recruitment and retention. Here’s how four institutions are doing just that.

1. Rhodes College (Memphis, Tenn.)

Here’s what Robert M. Johnson, Jr., vice president of student and information services and chief information officer, had to say:

Rhodes College has used digital assets management technology to make its educational ‘footprint’ much larger than one would expect from a college smaller than 2,000 students. Rhodes has used Fedora and DSpace, both open-source digital asset management systems, to provide access and preservation options for documents, images, video, datasets, maps, and audio files.

“Fedora is the backend software for Rhodes College’s Crossroads to Freedom, which houses student and community collaborative projects.

“Additionally, based on an aggregation of scores related to the size, visibility, number of ‘rich files,’ and scholarship potential, the D-Space installation, a repository named DLynx, is ranked No. 80 in the United States and No. 407 internationally, according to The Ranking Web of Repositories.”


The College Pledge: Bringing Awareness to the Importance of a College Degree, a Los Angeles-based online community that is empowering former students to go back to college, today announced the official launch of The College Pledge.

The College Pledge is call for the public to bring awareness to the importance of a college degree. Associate Director of Business Development for Educated Rooster, Kelly Pappas believes, “completing your four-year college degree is critical for success in today’s economy. Higher education makes a person more marketable and gives them more options in life.”

The College Pledge is focused on ten main reasons to get students back to college. A college degree drastically improves one’s lifetime career earnings. Research has shown that job applicants with degrees are more likely to land higher paying jobs with better health insurance and more vacation days. College graduates have more job options because they acquire more specialized skills, knowledge, and expertise than non-college graduates. A degree is essentially an investment that allows students to reach their goals.

Social ties and network reach are valuable assets in today’s society. College is a great opportunity to meet new people and to build connections with people from all over the world. The people one meets in college may be tomorrow’s CEOs and leaders.

In addition a degree gives people greater access to occupations and job opportunities. It equips students with specific skills and knowledge that can give them an advantage amongst their peers.

Higher education levels have been proven to lead to better job security. College builds confidence increasing one’s knowledge, skill-sets, and experiences. A college degree can help people get hired at a higher level and more quickly rise through the ranks of their new career. Lastly, evidence shows that college graduates tend to be happier and healthier.

Their objective in this initiative is to do everything possible to create a culture of completion. The launch of The College Pledge is a call to the public to get involved in this initiative. Completing college does not have to be complicated. gives users all the essential resources necessary to help get back on their path to higher education. For more information on Educated Rooster, please visit

About Educated Rooster: ( is a community that empowers former students to gain the knowledge, tips and skills necessary to go back to college. Through an interactive community environment, students and mentors across the nation can communicate with one another, read great articles, watch videos and start discussions about everything related to going back to college. is changing the way people go back to college.

For More Information and Press, contact:
Creative Capital Group:
Nasrin Pak
(310) 451-2116



One year ago, National Student Loan Program introduced Inceptia, a new division that leverages the organization’s 25-year history in helping students, colleges and universities meet personal and institutional financial aid responsibilities.

“Inceptia furthers our goal to ¬increase the financial aptitude of students, reduce loan default rates, and support the need for effective financial aid management services,” said NSLP President and CEO Randy Heesacker. “We have a tremendous team at Inceptia/NSLP and are proud of their continued commitment toward the success of students and schools with whom we partner.”

Since March 2012, the organization has worked with more than 60 new schools nationwide. These programs include assessing the financial knowledge of students; improving money management skills campus-wide with effective personal financial education services; providing support to front-line offices; and helping student borrowers find reasonable means of repayment thus avoiding the consequences of default.

“We are focused on collaborating with schools to help students succeed, ” Heesacker shared. “We have strong momentum, and we’ll continue to be successful at helping students manage debt and successfully repay their student loans. We thank our schools for helping make Inceptia’s first year a success.

Inceptia, a division of National Student Loan Program (NSLP), is a dedicated non-profit organization providing much-needed support to help schools effectively fulfill their roles and responsibilities. Our mission is to provide guidance to schools, along with the means to help their undergraduate, graduate and professional students succeed. Through comprehensive analytics, student success tools, financial education, default prevention and financial aid management, we are confident we can help all students, not just borrowers, become financially responsible adults. We are here to make it possible for more schools to launch brilliant futures. More information at


‘Google Keep’ keeps your phone and web notes synced

Watch out Evernote, OneNote and all you other to-do lists apps out there, Google’s coming after you with its new Google Keep service, ABC News reports. The app, announced by Google this afternoon, allows you to sync your notes and to-do lists across your computer, phone and tablet using your Google account.

“With Keep you can quickly jot ideas down when you think of them and even include checklists and photos to keep track of what’s important to you,” Google’s Katharine Kuan detailed on Google’s blog today. Google then uses its Google Drive service and servers to sync your content so you can get those important thoughts or notes anywhere.

The app works very similarly to the other note apps, like Evernote and OneNote. You download the app, which is avilable for only Android 4.0 phones right now, take your notes and then you can access them via the app on the web, which is located in your Google Drive or at You are able to upload voice notes, which can be transcribed, and even photos. You can also color code notes and turn some notes into checklists by adding check boxes…

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Math careers just don’t add up for women

Having skills suited for a variety of careers helps explain why few women pursue math and science jobs, new research finds, reports. A study by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Michigan revealed that women may be less likely to want careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) because they have more career choices, not because they have less ability.

“Our study shows that it’s not lack of ability or differences in ability that orients females to pursue non-STEM careers, it’s the greater likelihood that females with high math ability also have high verbal ability,” said Ming-Te Wang, one of the study’s co-authors and developmental psychologist at the University of Pittsburgh. “Because they’re good at both, they can consider a wide range of occupations.”

As part of the study, researchers examined data from 1,490 college-bound U.S. students that were surveyed in both their senior year of high school and then again at age 33. The two surveys combined to question participants on SAT scores, various aspects of their motivational beliefs, and values and their occupations…

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Watch: College women need to lean in

If there are less structural barriers on college campuses, why is there still a gendered leadership deficit? How can we encourage undergrad women to lean in? asks the Huffington Post. Kate C. Farrar, director of campus leadership programs at American Association of University Women; Rachel Simmons, Girls Leadership Institute co-founder; author of “Odd Girl Out” & HuffPost Blogger Yasmine Evans and Stefani Jones, president elect of Duke Student Government join host Alicia Menendez to discuss how…

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