(d) Determine methods to increase the institutional supply and quality of open course materials, with a focus on the OpenCourseWare initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology;

(e) Recommend methods to increase the availability and use of digital open textbooks;

Lead: David Wicks & Cable Green

Learning resource best practice use provides students and faculty with substantial choice when building learning spaces, opportunities for sharing the abundant digital learning resources that are currently locked up and either not used or not shared, opportunities for faculty to select and/or change the parts that they want when designing their course and students to pick and choose the pieces they want when learning.


Digitized materials, offered freely and openly for educators, students, to use and re-use for teaching, learning and research.

Primer on OER
  • Global movement - started by MIT OpenCourseware
  • We have moved from a culture of information scarcity to a culture of information abundance
  • OER is not about mandating common, core curriculum ... it's about providing students and faculty with a buffet of choice when building learning spaces.
  • OER is not about cost cutting -- it's about sharing the abundant digital learning resources that are currently locked up and either not used or not shared.
  • OER is not all or nothing. That is, one does not need to adopt 100% of an open course, textbook or program. Faculty can select and/or change the parts that they want when designing their course. Students can pick and choose the pieces they want when learning -- inside or outside the classroom. -emphasis on this - not constructive to mandate common curriculum.
  • Openness, Disaggregation, and the Future of Education (YouTube Video)
  • Hewlett Foundation OER Overview

Philosophical Statement

Where possible, higher education should develop solutions that create equal opportunities for all students through cost-effective shared resources.

Open Access to research results means that this material is digital, online, free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions.
e.g., http://www.plos.org/index.php

Giving Knowledge for Free: OECD Report

The development of the information society and the widespread diffusion of information technology give rise to new opportunities for learning. At the same time, they challenge established views and practices regarding how teaching and learning should be organized and carried out. Higher educational institutions have been using the Internet and other digital technologies to develop and distribute education for several years. Yet, until recently, much of the learning materials were locked up behind passwords within proprietary systems, unreachable for outsiders. The open educational resource (OER) movement aims to break down such barriers and to encourage and enable freely sharing content.

The Cape Town Open Education Declaration
(shorten this - pick the highlights)

We are on the cusp of a global revolution in teaching and learning. Educators worldwide are developing a vast pool of educational resources on the Internet, open and free for all to use. These educators are creating a world where each and every person on earth can access and contribute to the sum of all human knowledge. They are also planting the seeds of a new pedagogy where educators and learners create, shape and evolve knowledge together, deepening their skills and understanding as they go.
This emerging open education movement combines the established tradition of sharing good ideas with fellow educators and the collaborative, interactive culture of the Internet. It is built on the belief that everyone should have the freedom to use, customize, improve and redistribute educational resources without constraint. Educators, learners and others who share this belief are gathering together as part of a worldwide effort to make education both more accessible and more effective.

The expanding global collection of open educational resources has created fertile ground for this effort. These resources include openly licensed course materials, lesson plans, textbooks, games, software and other materials that support teaching and learning. They contribute to making education more accessible, especially where money for learning materials is scarce. They also nourish the kind of participatory culture of learning, creating, sharing and cooperation that rapidly changing knowledge societies need.
However, open education is not limited to just open educational resources. It also draws upon open technologies that facilitate collaborative, flexible learning and the open sharing of teaching practices that empower educators to benefit from the best ideas of their colleagues. It may also grow to include new approaches to assessment, accreditation and collaborative learning. Understanding and embracing innovations like these is critical to the long term vision of this movement.
There are many barriers to realizing this vision. Most educators remain unaware of the growing pool of open educational resources. Many governments and educational institutions are either unaware or unconvinced of the benefits of open education. Differences among licensing schemes for open resources create confusion and incompatibility. And, of course, the majority of the world does not yet have access to the computers and networks that are integral to most current open education efforts.
These barriers can be overcome, but only by working together. We invite learners, educators, trainers, authors, schools, colleges, universities, publishers, unions, professional societies, policymakers, governments, foundations and others who share our vision to commit to the pursuit and promotion of open education and, in particular, to these three strategies to increase the reach and impact of open educational resources:

1. Educators and learners: First, we encourage educators and learners to actively participate in the emerging open education movement. Participating includes: creating, using, adapting and improving open educational resources; embracing educational practices built around collaboration, discovery and the creation of knowledge; and inviting peers and colleagues to get involved. Creating and using open resources should be considered integral to education and should be supported and rewarded accordingly.

2. Open educational resources: Second, we call on educators, authors, publishers and institutions to release their resources openly. These open educational resources should be freely shared through open licenses which facilitate use, revision, translation, improvement and sharing by anyone. Resources should be published in formats that facilitate both use and editing, and that accommodate a diversity of technical platforms. Whenever possible, they should also be available in formats that are accessible to people with disabilities and people who do not yet have access to the Internet.

3. Open education policy: Third, governments, school boards, colleges and universities should make open education a high priority. Ideally, taxpayer-funded educational resources should be open educational resources. Accreditation and adoption processes should give preference to open educational resources. Educational resource repositories should actively include and highlight open educational resources within their collections.

These strategies represent more than just the right thing to do. They constitute a wise investment in teaching and learning for the 21st century. They will make it possible to redirect funds from expensive textbooks towards better learning. They will help teachers excel in their work and provide new opportunities for visibility and global impact. They will accelerate innovation in teaching. They will give more control over learning to the learners themselves. These are strategies that make sense for everyone.
Thousands of educators, learners, authors, administrators and policymakers are already involved in open education initiatives. We now have the opportunity to grow this movement to include millions of educators and institutions from all corners of the earth, richer and poorer. We have the chance to reach out to policymakers, working together to seize the opportunities ahead. We have the opportunity to engage entrepreneurs and publishers who are developing innovative open business models. We have a chance to nurture a new generation of learners who engage with open educational materials, are empowered by their learning and share their new knowledge and insights with others. Most importantly, we have an opportunity to dramatically improve the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world through freely available, high-quality, locally relevant educational and learning opportunities.

  • Students spend $1000+ on textbooks annually (Cable enters all stats and reports here)
    • include stats from federal reports - and charts about costs up over time
    • mention the make textbooks affordable campaign and pledge - not a recommendation - just what students are talking about
    • mention student leg academy in CTCs - #1 on their list for two years
    • HB 1025
    • new HEOA rules - reference highlights
  • Faculty are aware of the costs - and concerned - sometimes the only high quality option is a commercial textbook.
  • Students and faculty are exposed to and can use / re-mix global educational content
  • Access to quality, shared content leads to better courses = leads to better student learning outcomes.

Write this OER section carefully - be sensitive to faculty concerns

copyright - moving to open licensing
(funders are moving that way)
  • challenging... conflicting license issues

Open Access - Academic practice, on the scholarship side, is based on open access to our findings and research methods ... mention SPARC work.

Best Practices

  • Make "openness" part of the normal way of building and sharing digital content.
  • Best practices from UNESCO
  • Invite all stakeholders to the table when discussing OER projects.
    • list...
  • Sustainable OER investments need to be for local projects - for local reasons. That is, do what you were going to do anyway ... just do it digitally, and then put CC BY licensing on it and share it with others. The global sharing piece doesn't have to be expensive ... post it in Connexions and do some quick blog, twitter and listserv advertising through your network - and, if the content is quality and useful, word will spread.

  • Efforts to Address high cost of instructional materials - and create high quality, up-to-date, and convenient formats (print, web, mobile)
    • see Texas and FL legislation (cable adds links) - News story on Florida offering 120 free online books to college students
    • Make Textbooks Affordable Student Report (Cable will add details)
    • CCCOER Open Textbook Project -- pre-screens open textbooks for Community and Technical Colleges)
    • Flat World Knowledge - Publisher that uses a new model for textbooks. Students can read books online for free. Downloaded or print version has a flat rate for all books.

It's a buffet of choice = more resources give faculty more choice. But amount can be overwhelming

because overwhelming - filtering services, suggestions or recommendations are helpful in pre-screening

need better searching, indexing technologies, semantic web technologies

add folksemantic - Utah State - link to tool


Examples of Global OER Open Repositories
  • link to clearinghouses - DO THAT
  • one way to get faculty excited about sharing their own resources - faculty see what other people are sharing - they see the value in sharing ... they then want to get their ideas - their knowledge out there for others to use.
  • EveryStockPhoto.com - Search engine that can be used to find free images on the web.
  • Incompetech is a collection of Creative Commons licensed music.
  • iTunes U is a collection of audio and video content from higher education faculty around the world that can be freely used for educational purposes.
  • Khan Academy provides 800+ YouTube tutorials covering math, science, and finance problems.
  • MERLOT is a peer-reviewed searchable collection of online learning materials.
  • Search by Creative Commons provides a convenient way to access search engines that include CC licensed materials.
  • Webcast.Berkeley is a collection of podcasts and webcasts from the University of California Berkeley.
  • Wikimedia Commons is a media repository for public domain and freely-licensed educational media content (images, sound and video clips).
  • YouTube EDU is a collection of videos and channels from higher education institutions.

Copyright 2.0
  • Copyright is restrictive and makes it difficult to share and re-mix digital content and textbooks.
    • Copyright is also an effective legal method to protect one's IP rights .. and there are many instances where that is the goal and is appropriate.
    • One does not give up copyright when sharing - one gives some, but not all of their rights.

  • Creative Commons licensing provides us all with a new legal way to share our digital content, when the copyright holder chooses to share, without losing ownership.
    • CC BY - attribution - give credit where credit is due
    • faculty choose their CC license - lots of choice - range

Federal and State OER Initiatives

Federal Examples: federal text dollars used to fund open, free educational resources
Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) has a bill in the senate: http://pub.bna.com/eclr/s1714intro.pdf

September 24, 2009. Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) today introduced legislation designed to help students manage costs by making textbooks available to students, professors and the public for free on an easily-accessible website. This bill, known as the Open College Textbook Act, would create a competitive grant program for institutions of higher education, professors and organizations to create textbooks that can be made available online and licensed under terms that grant the public the right to access, customize and distribute the material, also known as “open textbooks”. and most importantly requires applicants to submit:

(C) a plan for distribution and adoption of the open textbook to ensure the widest possible adoption of the open textbook in postsecondary courses, including, where applicable, a marketing plan or a plan to partner with for-profit or nonprofit organizations to assist in marketing and distribution; and
(D) a plan for tracking and reporting formal adoptions of the open textbook within postsecondary institutions, including an estimate of the number of students impacted by the adoptions.

More: http://blog.oer.sbctc.edu/2009/09/durbin-introduces-legislation-to-make.html
Obama's American Graduation Initiative (HR3221)Community colleges and high schools would receive federal funds to create free, online courses in a program that is in the final stages of being drafted by the Obama administration.$50M / year for the creation and distribution of open courseware. The funds would support 20-25 government-created high school and college courses a year. They would then be freely available.


New **Open Access mandate from the Institute of Education Sciences**:Recipients of awards are expected to publish or otherwise make publicly available the results of the work supported through this program. Institute-funded investigators should submit final, peer-reviewed manuscripts resulting from research supported in whole or in part by the Institute to the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) upon acceptance for publication. An author’s final manuscript is defined as the final version accepted for journal publication, and includes all graphics and supplemental materials that are associated with the article. The Institute will make the manuscript available to the public through ERIC no later than 12 months after the official date of publication. Institutions and investigators are responsible for ensuring that any publishing or copyright agreements concerning submitted articles fully comply with this requirement.


The presidents of 57 liberal arts colleges released an open letter on Tuesday endorsing the Federal Research Access Act of 2009, a billaimed at increasing public access to academic research that is funded by the federal government. The bill would require certain federal agencies -- those that fund more than $100 million in extramural research annually -- to require peer-reviewed journals that publish that research to make it available for free on the Web after six months. It would be “a major step forward in ensuring equitable online access to research literature that is paid for by taxpayers,” according to the presidents' letter.

Reintroduction of the Federal Research Public Access Act (FRPAA) today by U.S. Sens. John Cornyn, R-TX and Joe Lieberman, I-CT (it was originally introduced in 2006). The legislation would “require every federal department and agency with an annual extramural research budget of $100 million or more to make their research available to the public within six months of publication.” This would mean that in addition to the existing NIH and IES mandates, we would have mandates in place for all research funded by NSF, DofEd, DofEnergy, and almost every other federal agency. NIH open access: http://publicaccess.nih.gov/

International Efforts

Open Ed Tech Summit - Call To Action

  1. Encourage the reuse and remixing of rich media.
  2. Embrace mobile devices as learning platforms.
  3. Award credentials based on learning outcomes.
  4. Enable a culture of sharing.
  5. Take care that open resources include the context that will enable their use and understanding.

  • Concern among faculty that content / textbooks would be mandated - the "best textbook" ... the "best content."
    • rather - open content is not about mandating content - it's about having access to share, modify, re-mix content to suit one's learning environment. It's about more opportunities.
    • Useful model is: faculty choose what they use in their class -- OER just provides more choice - more resources - more connections to other faculty in their discipline.
    • With open education, textbooks are being considered one more resource as they can be mixed with other resources, especially in an eLearning environment.
  • Copyright holder can "open" content.... no one else can legally "open" content.
  • finding and evaluating quality open learning materials
  • there is a cost to share materials (effort to upload and tag them properly in global or local repositories) - although see Cable's comment about making it part of doing business
  • Major cultural changes (change is difficult)
    • opens their course to a global audience to use / modify
    • how does faculty work (load) change?
  • sustaining open efforts - do they remain a priority when budgets are bad? (Utah State example)
    • Sustainable investments need to be for local projects - for local reasons. That is, do what you were going to do anyway ... just do it digitally, and then put CC BY licensing on it and share it with others. The global sharing piece doesn't have to be expensive ... post it in Connexions and do some quick blog, twitter and listserv advertising through your network - and, if the content is quality and useful, word will spread.
  • promotion and tenure and compensation policies often do not account for (or give equal credit for) faculty engaging in OER initiatives and sharing their digital resources -- instituon commitment (link back)
  • Need to think about extrinsic incentive systems to encourage and reward sharing.
  • open does not = free; there are still production and maintenance costs
    • though ... if we are paying for those activities anyway for local use ... what is the incremental cost to open and share digital materials?
  • Free does not = garbage. Free does not = good. Quality content can be open or closed.
  • Printing: work with print-on-demand services or a college bookstore to print OER materials (when students want printed versions). Failure to do so will result in students printing 300 page open textbooks in the college library.
  • Separate: (1) faculty sharing OER among other faculty; and (2) open textbooks ...
  • AFFORDABLE AND OPEN TEXTBOOKS: An Exploratory Study of Faculty Attitudes (PDF)
    • Faculty do not like “one size fits all” so there will need to be greater variety before open textbooks will be accepted as a viable option when planning a course.
    • Faculty autonomy must be maintained. Avoid forcing textbook choices in situations where there hasn’t already been a decision for a common text. "...faculty want a diversity of choices, and there simply are not currently enough open textbooks to satisfy the multitude of faculty and student needs; a much wider array of high-quality, easy-to-use, and reliable open textbooks will have to be produced for more widespread faculty adoption to be realized.” (p. 5)
    • Students may prefer a printed text. Some e-textbook formats may not support taking notes in the margin.
  • Open Education and Open Resources: Challenges and Perspectives - A conference that will take place at the end of October that might be important for our report.