Increasing Equitable Access and Success for All Students with Open Educational Resources!
Concurrent Session 5
Learn how your institution can lower the cost of textbooks and improve learning opportunities for your students today by leveraging free and open educational services and resources in academic disciplines, career and technical educations.
The California state legislature has been funding no and low cost course materials initiatives because when the total cost of CA higher education is more affordable, students graduate in less time with less debt to become productive and informed state and national citizens.
In the four years since CA legislation and funding was enacted, the California State University, Office of the Chancellor has received grants from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in order to release portions of the $5M awarded by the legislature. A successful deliverable has been the creation of the California Open Online Library (COOL4Ed.org) which is a curated collection of open and free etextbooks for 50 general education courses resulting in over 150 open etextbooks and 450 faculty reviews. The etextbook reviews are posted to the www.cool4ed.org website, and they are available for any instructor who is considering adopting affordable, digital course materials for their students. The COOL4Ed website is a layer of webtechology that leverages the MERLOT (www.merlot) library of OER and free educational materials as well as the advanced capabilities of its open educational services.
COOL4Ed.org continues to expand significantly with titles being adopted with the community and CA state university system. With recent additions to the COOL4Ed services, users have free access to (1) the collection of faculty showcases sharing their open textbook adoption experiences which could possibly assist instructors with their decisions to adopt an open or free etextbook in the future and (2) the collection of etextbook reviews by faculty from California’s higher education segments, (3) the collection of accessibility evaluations of the free and open etextbooks that enables faculty and students to decide if the resource is accessible for their learning, (4) collections of virtual labs in a variety of STEM areas that are free or low cost, and (5) collections of open courseware for career and technical education degrees, credentials, and certificates.
This session will provide a brief background on the COOL4Ed.org initiative and will share examples of the faculty adoption experiences in addition to sharing multiple resources that support faculty in the search for quality open and free etextbooks. The session will also have participants use the www.COOL4Ed.org website to explore the course catalog of free and open etextbooks, review and discuss the faculty reviews of the etextbooks as well as the interpretation of the accessibility evaluations. Finally, we will discuss how to use these tools and resources for their own textbook affordability initiative, which could be modeled after the CSU’s Affordable Learning Solutions initiative (http://csuaffordablelearningsolutions.org) and ask participates to draft a plan for the first year of their program and share with the rest of the audience.