California is moving closer to the realm of open education resources (OER) with passage of two bills in its state senate that would fund development of digital textbooks and courseware for free or low-cost use in higher education. Senate Bill 1052, promoted by Senate President Darrell Steinberg, creates guidelines for the development of digital materials. Companion Bill 1053 sets up a digital library as a state repository for maintaining and distributing digital resources.
The state would apply $25 million in funding for creation of digital materials for the 50 most commonly taken lower division courses in public universities and community colleges. The work would be allocated through a competitive bidding process managed by an "open education resources council" made up of faculty members from the public institutions.
"As college students and their families struggle with college costs in this difficult time, let's do what we can with the tools that we have. Through open educational resources, we can use technology to provide high quality college textbooks at a fraction of today's costs," said Steinberg. "Faculty, publishers, and others can unleash their entrepreneurial spirit through the competitive bidding process in creating these materials. Our students and California's economy will reap the benefits."
Via Mark Smithers