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The Open Course Library: Disrupting the $200 Textbook


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A presentation given at the 2012 Association of Community College Trustees in Boston.

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The Open Course Library: Disrupting the $200 Textbook

  1. 1. The Open Course Library:Disrupting the $200 Textbook• Thomas W. Malone, JD, MBA, Malone & Associates PS and Trustee, Seattle Community Colleges, WA• Tom Braziunas, Ph. D., eLearning Associate Dean, North Seattle Community College, Seattle Community Colleges, WA• Tom Caswell, Ed. S., MA, Formerly Open Education Policy Associate, Washington State Board of Community & Technical Colleges, WA. Now Director of Instructional Design at Western Governors University, UT.• Stephanie Delaney, JD, Ph. D., Associate Dean for Distance & eLearning, Seattle Central Community College, Seattle Community Colleges, WA 1 TM
  2. 2. The Open Course Library: Disrupting the $200 Textbook What this presentation is about… • The problem • The “OCL” project • “OCL” goals and action plans • Challenges • Strategies • Successes • Discussion – The road ahead 2 TM
  3. 3. The Open Course Library: Disrupting the $200 Textbook The Problem: The high cost of textbooks has reduced Washington citizens’ access to higher education. • According to the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, 200,000 qualified students fail to enroll in college each year due to cost • Full-time students spend approximately $1,000 on textbooks every year ($4.6M/yr/course for the 46,000+ enrollments in Washington State Community and Technical Colleges) • 2005 GAO report: College textbook prices have risen at twice the rate of annual inflation over the last two decades 3 TM
  4. 4. The Open Course Library: Disrupting the $200 Textbook “OCL” Project : An initiative to develop affordable digital course materials for Washington State’s community & technical colleges WHO: • Supported by the Washington State Board of Community & Technical Colleges (largest state investment of its kind) • 3-year $750,000 grant from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation • Subsequent partnerships include Creative Commons, Saylor Foundation, Connexions Consortium & MIT’ OpenCourseWare Consortium WHAT: • Creation of high-quality online educational materials • Design & peer review by stipend-supported faculty members and instructional support teams in the state system • Built as 82 high-enrollment, gatekeeper college courses • Total materials cost to student must be under $30 per course • Free global public use through Creative Commons Licensing • Able to be utilized in face-to-face, hybrid or online courses WHEN: • First 42 OCL courses released in October 2011 4 • Second phase being tested now for release by Summer 2013 TC
  5. 5. The Open Course Library: Disrupting the $200 TextbookBIG Goals:Lower costs…..Improve success…Expand resources…Change culture…The “OCL” Project Goals:• lower textbook costs for students to under $30 per course -- projected student savings if all courses used = $41 Million year• improve student success, i.e. course completion rates• provide new open resources for faculty to use in their courses 5• cultivate a culture & practice of using and contributing to OERs TC
  6. 6. The Open Course Library: Disrupting the $200 TextbookTake a look – its “free”! 6 TC
  7. 7. The Open Course Library: Disrupting the $200 Textbook Action plan for lowering costs: • Faculty & instructional teams create OER courses • Courses are peer-reviewed using Quality Matters • Courses are openly licensed via Creative Commons • Faculty colleagues accept utility of these OERs • Content is adopted widely in whole or in part • Content revised by adopters as fits their teaching • Faculty provide constructive feedback so OERs see continuous quality improvement & updating 7 TB
  8. 8. The Open Course Library: Disrupting the $200 Textbook Action plan for increasing student success • Students have ready access to course materials before & during their courses (no delays in receiving textbooks) • Students experience better grades, completion rates and satisfaction with their learning through courses built by teams consisting of faculty, instructional designers, e-learning specialists, librarians & cultural diversity experts • Students benefit from currency of content (commercial textbooks become outdated quickly) • Students develop information literacy skills through use of the Internet to access, research & evaluate many sources of data • Students improve their technical literacy through 8 TB skills learned in using educational technologies
  9. 9. The Open Course Library: Disrupting the $200 Textbook The Challenges (Mis)perceptions by potential adopters: • “Not invented here” means “does not fit” with teaching style or program content • Administrators want to dictate homogeneity and/or replace faculty with technology • “Open” educational resources are below college levels & of questionable quality • Adoption is “all” or “nothing” with content being replaced by a “generic classroom in a box” • “Another passing fad” – this perspective (expressed at a faculty focus group) is likely to be heard less & less 9 TB
  10. 10. The Open Course Library: Disrupting the $200 Textbook The Challenges Legitimate concerns of seasoned online faculty: • “Already invented here” – why change something that is already working for students and instructor? • “Where’s the beef?” – where are the data proving that student success rates will increase? • “Textbooks synthesize & organize” – Students learn better when course materials and activities are clearly designed and aligned • “It’s a great first draft” – but time-consuming revision is required before each specific adoption • “Common” courses are not so “common” – OCL spotlighted heterogeneity in content & outcomes within 10 the system & even within districts TB
  11. 11. The Open Course Library: Disrupting the $200 Textbook The Challenges Trepidation by faculty who are designing open content: • “Why put myself out there?” – wide exposure to peer review & judgment is risky for non-tenured, part-time faculty seeking acceptance & full-time positions • “Where’s the good stuff?” – Searching the Internet is a full-time endeavor – where does one start? • “Publishers have deep pockets” – Instructional designers have the time & resources to create higher- quality materials than what is now available for free use • “I’m working full-time already!” – The money is okay but my workload leaves little time for research, group dynamics & intently-focused creativity 11 TB
  12. 12. The Open Course Library: Disrupting the $200 Textbook Hopeful Strategies for Faculty: Educate faculty adopters on “whole” and “piecemeal” options • Create venues for developers and adopters to share experiences, insights &tips with colleagues • “Leading from the Classroom” is an example of a successful trustee initiative • Conduct campus-by-campus focus groups to bring developers together to debrief • Build OER presentations into “Sharing Days” and “Faculty Institutes” • Join national consortia such as the CCCOER -- “Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources” ( • Create templates to assist the collaboration of faculty and librarians to adopt/adapt appropriate OERs ( • Produce up-to-date checklists on peer-reviewed sources of OERs for adopters • Integrate OER into all relevant trainings so that it becomes something natural for faculty to consider. 12 SD
  13. 13. The Open Course Library: Disrupting the $200 Textbook More Hopeful Strategies for Faculty: Work with the strongest “critics” to address (and resolve!) key concerns Educate faculty designers on creating OPEN content • Publicize available online tutorials and guides to using “Creative Commons” to grant copyright permissions to share your work ( • Provide training in the use of Quality Matters standards to produce effectively designed course content and activities. Encourage Faculty Course Reviews • Department or eLearning sponsorships of faculty peer reviews. • Use a Quality Matters peer review model for reviewers to follow for reviewing content • Include standards on “ease of adoption” and space to share practical suggestions for adopting specific OER material 13 SD
  14. 14. The Open Course Library: Disrupting the $200 Textbook Other Hopeful Strategies: Work with the publishers to reduce the cost of textbooks • Use of selected chapters and customized textbooks • Reduced price ebooks • Limited book access “Tag” your courses in your schedule to help students find low-cost courses • This might encourage more adoption by faculty who are teaching more expensive course sections Encourage other cost reduction strategies • Textbook rentals • Used books • Coursepacks 14 SD
  15. 15. The Open Course Library: Disrupting the $200 TextbookStrategies that have not worked:• If we build it, they will come – Simply having affordable resources built by system colleagues is not enough to get faculty to adopt• Expectation of rapid adoption – OER work will take time to bear fruit. Doubters and true believers are both constrained by the time limitations of full workloads• Faculty stipends alone – It is NOT about the money or workload but about student success. Seasoned online faculty turned down $2500 to adopt OCL materials for a variety of pedagogical and logistical reasons (paraphrased below) 15 SD
  16. 16. The Open Course Library: Disrupting the $200 Textbook Successes:Uses of OCL and OER nationally• Saylor Foundation – 8 courses adapted from Open Course Library • 2 of these courses are now in iTunes U 16 TC
  17. 17. The Open Course Library: Disrupting the $200 Textbook Successes:Uses of OCL and OER nationally• Kaleidoscope – 8 colleges with national grant uses OCL for math cohorts (student success) • Cerritos College • Chadron State College • College of the Redwoods • Mercy College • Palo Verde College • Santa Ana College • Santiago Canyon College Credit: Timothy Valentine & Leo Reynolds CC BY- 17 • Tompkins Cortland CC NC-SA TC
  18. 18. The Open Course Library: Disrupting the $200 Textbook Successes “in the commercial world”: “Show them the money!” – How much will our students save? Potential student savings for Spring 2012 at North Seattle CC = 41 courses x 25 students x $books = $71,750 - $102,500 18 TB
  19. 19. The Open Course Library: Disrupting the $200 Textbook Successes “course by course”:Case studies – faculty respond for Fall 2012!• Survey of Anthropology $140 $0 (free “OER”)• U.S. History $100 $65 (customized textbook)• Intro. Philosophy $100 $60 - $0 (student choice)• Music in U.S. $100 $0 (own online textbook)• Microeconomics $100 $20 (e-book) And is Wikipedia a qualified OER? 19 TB
  20. 20. The Open Course Library: Disrupting the $200 Textbook Successes “student by student”: Campus bookstore data – students respond! Savings at the register in 2011/2012 $205,926• Sales of new textbooks declined -8% to 16,873 units• Sales of used textbooks declined -9% to 6581 units• Sales of rental textbooks rose +14% to 1696 units• Sales of digital textbooks rose +6% to 195 units compared to previous year Trends that are accelerating in Fall 2012• Sales of used textbooks declined another - 38%• Sales of rental textbooks rose another + 64%• Sales of digital textbooks still only represent 1% of sales compared to Fall 2011 20 TB
  21. 21. The Open Course Library: Disrupting the $200 Textbook Student Feedback: 21 SD
  22. 22. The Open Course Library: Disrupting the $200 Textbook Student Comments -- Pro:• I loved that we didnt have a text book. We were able to get different types of readings from different authors. Also, we didnt have to spread money,• I found that articles are so much more in depth about the real world. As opposed to textbooks that can be very general. Good work on the interesting, informative articles plus supplemental reading is nice and visual.• i am happy i got all the materials that we read for this course on the internet because i did not spend money to buy book which is expensive , how ever if there is not alternetive , i do not mind to buy book to study to my cource since it is important.• I love not having text books because books are large and having everything I need at my fingertips is convenient.• I think it is great that we dont have to buy a text book. The only time I really had to print out the readings was when I planned on doing them outside my home. I think its more eco-friendly. 22 Something we learned a lot about this quarter. SD
  23. 23. The Open Course Library: Disrupting the $200 Textbook Student Comments – Con:• I prefer to buy text book. The students came from different community and country and we have different style of reading system. So for me I love to use book.• I seem to retain information better reading from printed text. I like the idea not having to purchase a book. However it is spendy if I want to print them out so if there was an option to pick up the printed package that would be nice also. I just think reading from printed text is better for our motor skills and I believe we retain the information longer and better through written text. This is because we can feel and touch the paper or book the words are solid and in the physical form. Its hard to explain.• Only at King County library systems you can print off 75 pages black and white per week. That is the only way i was able to print for free. If someone did not tell me this helpful information i would of paid an arm and a leg for ink to print at home.• As selected above I really wish I had a text book! I like the idea of not having to purchase the book however to me I think that having what I need at my fingertips is worth the money. I enjoyed the readings this week. It opened my eyes to a lot of things I did not know. 23 SD
  24. 24. The Open Course Library: Disrupting the $200 TextbookDiscussing… The Road Ahead URL of this slideshow: 24 TM
  25. 25. The Open Course Library: Disrupting the $200 Textbook Questions Answers •What other resources do YOU know about? Educate us! Our contact information: Tom Malone: Tom Braziunas: Tom Caswell: Stephanie Delaney: 25 TM URL of this slideshow: