California community colleges get $5M to boost OER access
- California Gov. Jerry Brown recently gave $5 million to the state's community colleges to expand open-source textbook development for the system's 2.1 million students.
- The funding calls for development and marketing of open-source textbook options for use in other state higher education systems and beyond.
- The model follows a pilot program launched among Virginia community colleges, which has saved students more than $3 million.
Many leaders are looking towards online learning as a cost-saving strategy for students, but open-source learning materials are the easiest strategy schools of all sizes and missions can deploy in short order. Campuses like Paul Quinn College in Dallas and Tidewater Community College in Virginia have already made national headlines for open-source prioritization, and the same could happen across higher ed industries.
Colleges can pilot incentive programs for faculty who write open source textbooks and curriculum, and can work with states or peer institutions to potentially cost share in offering these materials to pass savings on to students. These efforts can help bolster student recruitment strategy, philanthropic engagement and legislative support by making college affordability a cornerstone of the academic product.