As OER Pioneers on your campus, administrators, faculty, and students may share with you different marketing materials offering access to amazing Open Educational Resources. One such option is Barnes & Noble education's Courseware.
Unlike the OER materials the UHCC colleges are adopting and producing, Barnes & Noble Courseware is not free. Barnes & Noble are taking existing OER materials such as OpenStax, adding closed, copyrighted content, and then charging for it. If you read the fine print it states "by providing affordable Courseware".
Barnes & Noble, like Cengage and Pearson, are competing with the OER movement by marketing directly to administrators and trying to confuse faculty and students with messaging that make it sound like they are providing real OER products, "a wolf in sheep’s clothing", if you will. Their materials are stored on proprietary platforms that make it difficult for students to print content, for faculty to modify the content for their students, and for faculty to share materials modified for local students with other faculty. Please treat this marketing as an “openwashing,” a tactic being used nationally to undermine the OER movement.
Academic Services at each of the UHCC campuses are already providing (or ramping up to provide) many of the services Barnes & Noble are offering, without cost to our students. It is important for everyone to be vigilant about publisher practices to monetize OER. We, as a group should be identifying strategies to better educate our faculty so they can make discerning decisions on adopting course materials that are truly open and cost-free.
We encourage you to familiarize yourself with this resource - a side-by-side comparison of OER and two of the most recent "affordable" options introduced by publishers.
Post by Wayde Oshiro, Sunny Pai, and Leanne Riseley