In North Dakota, the governor set aside $220,000 in the state budget to fund open education resources (OER), including the North Dakota University System sharing resources provided by the University of Minnesota’s Open Textbook Library.
David Ernst, executive director of the open textbook initiative at the University of Minnesota, even gives seminars around North Dakota to educate faculty on using the library.
“Our focus has been on open textbooks,” said Ernst. “And it’s really meant to be an open resource for faculty to find textbooks to consider that are openly licensed and freely available for their students.”
Not everyone is impressed.
“What the stupidity of this is is pointed up by the fact that the state officials in North Dakota—and other states as well—see nothing wrong with the oil industry, the health-care industry, or any other industry making profits from the fruits of their labors, but when it comes to education, well … people should be willing to work for free or produce scholarly work for free,” Dana Eugene Creasy, assistant professor of communications, University of Jamestown, Jamestown, ND, wrote in the comments section of the Prairie Public Radio article. “I am in debt over $150,000 for a college-teaching career in North Dakota that pays less than a third of that on an annual basis—one reason why I’m leaving the state in May.”