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.
The California Open Education Resources Council consists of three faculty representatives from each of the three California higher segments (CCCs, CSUs and UCs). CA OER Council is 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 is funded by the grant.
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 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 California Digital Open Source Library (CDOSL) is being designed 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.
Are you using free eTextbooks in your teaching or your learning? Have you created free eTextbooks? We invite you to catalog these resources in MERLOT. Your colleagues and students around the world will thank you!
First: Become a member of MERLOT (It will take about 2 minutes and it’s FREE).
Second: Fill out the online form to Contribute a Material. (It will take about 4 minutes the first time and step-by-step instructions for contributing materials (PDF) to MERLOT are available).