California Legislators Created Opportunities!
On January 1, 2013, California legislation was enacted which directed the California Community Colleges (CCC), the California State University (CSU), and the University of California (UC) Intersegmental Council of Academic Senates (ICAS) to establish the California Open Education Resource Council through Senate Bill (SB) 1052 and directed the CSU to establish the California Digital Open Source Library (CDOSL) through SB 1053. The bills were authored by Senator Darryl Steinberg and established the goal of making higher education in California more affordable by providing faculty and students access to free and lower-cost instructional materials. The CSU was also designated as the administrator of the state matching funds in accordance to SB 1028 (in SEC. 5, Section 69999.6):
(f) (1) Of the funds transferred to the General Fund pursuant to paragraph (1) of subdivision (d), five million dollars ($5,000,000) is hereby appropriated to the Chancellor of the California State University, without regard to fiscal years, to fund the establishment and administration of the California Open Education Resources Council and the California Digital Open Source Library, and the development or acquisition of open education resources, or any combination thereof, pursuant to legislation enacted in the 2011–12 Regular Session of the Legislature, provided that the chancellor may provide reimbursement to the California Community Colleges and the University of California for costs those segments, or their representatives, incur in association with the activities described in this paragraph.
(2) Moneys, or a portion of moneys, appropriated pursuant to paragraph (1) shall not be encumbered unless at least 100 percent of that amount encumbered is matched by private funds. Moneys appropriated pursuant to paragraph (1) that are not matched by private funds shall revert to the Golden State Scholarshare Trust for purposes of the Governor’s Scholarship Programs.
The California State University, Office of the Chancellor submitted and was awarded grants from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which provided the private funds to release the state matching funds for this project.
Collaboration between the 3 California Higher Education Completed Phase 1
The California Open Education Resources Council consisted of three faculty representatives from each of the three California higher segments (CCCs, CSUs and UCs). CA OER Council was supported by the CA OER Council Coordinator who was selected by ICAS. CA OER Council faculty members’ and the CA OER Council Coordinator’s participation was funded by the grant.
- Select up to 50 lower division courses in the public postsecondary segments to target for the development and acquisition of digital, open source textbooks and materials.
- Create and administer a standardized, rigorous review and approval process for open source textbooks and related materials.
- Promote strategies for production, access, and use of open source materials.
- Regularly solicit and consider input from each segment's respective statewide student associations.
- Establish a competitive request for a proposal process in which faculty members, publishers, and other interested parties may apply for funds to produce the high quality, affordable, digital open source textbooks and related materials in 2014.
- Explore methods for reviving classic or well regarded, out-of-print textbooks in digital, open source formats.
The Intersegmental Committee of the Academic Senates (ICAS) from the community colleges, CSUs, and UCs has played a key role in defining and coordinating the implementation of the project.
The California OER Council completed their work on the SB 1052 activities that were funded by the grants. The major achievements of the California OER Council included:
- 50 courses with common ID numbers (e.g. course content and learning objectives shared for the CCC, CSU, and UC) have 1-5 free and open etextooks aligned with the course published on the website and easily accessed within MERLOT’s Course ePortfolios.
- Every etextbook has about 3 quality evaluations by CCC, CSU, and UC faculty.
- Qualitative and quantitative research was conducted to better understand the issues concerning the adoption and use of OER by faculty and students.
- Developed “toolkits” to support faculty adoption of free and open etextbooks.
In July and August of 2016, the CA OER Council completed another major task of reviewing the campus proposals for funding from AB 798, the California College Textbook Affordability Act of 2015.
With the grant funding expended and the accomplishments reported, ICAS agreed to terminate the California OER Council in June 2016.
California Digital Open Source Library Activities:
The California Legislature Senate Bill 1053 called for the creation of the California Digital Open Source Library by the CSU which will, by design, leverage its existing online open library of OER – MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching, www.merlotx.org) and its Affordable Learning Solutions initiative (http://als.csuprojects.org). Collaboration on open digital library services has been a part of our 3 higher education systems as well. California Community College (CCC) system has been a system partner in the MERLOT consortium for over 10 years. The CCC and the CSU have long term, sustained policies and business practices for articulating course across campuses within our two systems. CSU-MERLOT has worked with OER projects in the UC over the years including NEEDS/Engineering Pathway of the NSDL (National Science Digital Library) lead by UC Berkeley, an OER teaching commons for the College of Nursing at UCLA, and recently the Open Chemistry Project at UCI.
The grants awarded to the California State University Office of the Chancellor were responsible for the implementation of the CA OER Council and the open library of open, online learning reources.
The California Digital Open Source Library (CDOSL) continues to be omproved so faculty can easily find, adopt, utilize, and/or modify OER course materials for little or no cost. The COOL4Ed (California Open Online Library for Education, www.cool4ed.org) is the first library service of the CDOSL, and we anticipate that additional websites will be designed for specific purposes and different stakeholders. The legislation clearly stated that nothing in the legislation shall be construed to mandate faculty use of any particular textbook or related materials.
The www.COOL4Ed.org website provides
- A collection of Course Showcases where faculty, staff, and students can find free and open educational resources aligned with 52 CID courses,
- Over 70 teaching ePortfolios of faculty using free and open etextbooks/OER in their CCC, CSU, and UC courses
- Comprehensive accessibility evaluations for every etextbook in the Course Showcase conducted by the CSULB Center for Usability in Design and Accessibilty. Easy-to-use handbooks for conducting your own accessibility evaluations are also provided.
- Easy discovery of almost 5,000 free and open etextbooks within a collection of over 70,000 free and open educational resources.
- Easy strategies to share the free and open educational resources with faculty, staff, and students.
- Gerry Hanley, Ph.D. – principal investigator
- Leslie Kennedy, Ed.D. – co-principal investigator
- Theresa Dykes – Administrative analyst
- Cathy Swift, Ph.D. – ePortfolio and e-collection support
- Donald Strand – COOL4ED Webmaster/Designer
- For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
California College Textbook Affordability Act of 2015 (AB 798): CA Higher Ed Collaboration Phase 2
The goal of College Textbook Affordability Act of 2015 (AB 798) is to save college students money by empowering professors and local campuses to adopt high quality, free and open educational resources for courses materials. Assemblywoman Bonilla (sponsor of AB 798) recognized that free and open educational resources can reduce the total cost of education for students and their families in California's higher education institutions.
AB 798 reallocated $3M of the remaining $4M from SB 1052/1053 for funding CCC and CSU campus proposals for faculty choosing to adopt free and open educational resources that result in at least 70% reduction in the cost of course materials.
The CSU-COOL4Ed Team was a collaborative partner in the formulation of the AB 798 legislation and is responsible for designing and deploying the Request for Proposal process as well as the administration and reporting on the outcomes of the funding to CCC and CSU campuses implementing their local campus textbook affordability program with up to $50,000 funding per campus from the AB798 legislation.
Learn more about the RFP process and awards.