Free to Learn Guide/Passing a Pro-OER Board Level Policy: Initiating the Higher Education Governance Conversation
- 1 Passing a Pro-OER Board Level Policy: Initiating the Higher Education Governance Conversation
- 2 Open Licensing in Washington State
- 3 Open Educational Resources Case Study: The Foothill-De Anza Community College District
- 4 One Policy Maker's Perspective: Conversation with Dr. Martha J. Kanter, Chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District (2003 to 2009)
- 5 Model Board Policy Enacted December 2005
- 6 FAQ
Passing a Pro-OER Board Level Policy: Initiating the Higher Education Governance Conversation
The tremendous promise of Open Educational Resources for advancing the mission of higher education is clear. Innovation in teaching and learning based on the use of OER seems certain. The desire of students to seek knowledge from the most accessible and open sources and the most convenient technologies is being demonstrated daily. What actions do higher education governance officials need to take in order to capitalize on these dynamics, safeguard the quality of the education they provide, and preserve the relevance and vitality of their institutions?
The simple answer is to summon the will and enact a governing policy that institutionalizes support for these activities. Despite the many advantages offered by OER, just a handful of colleges and universities in the United States currently have formal policies or programs in place that take advantage of this new opportunity. In short, there is a huge gap between what is and what is possible. This policy gap gives collegiate and university governing boards a unique opportunity to enhance both the reputations and the competitiveness of their schools.
The initial remarkably promising development of OER has taken place with very little support from the higher education policy makers who have formal responsibility for overseeing most colleges and universities in the United States. Higher education policy leaders, boards, chancellors and presidents are typically preoccupied with more traditional academic governance concerns, including the ever-present need for institutional fundraising. The distinguished scholars who are leading the OER movement universally agree they will accomplish much more when increased numbers of higher education policy makers understand and recognize the importance of OER and take the steps necessary to provide more direct and sustained support to faculty who wish to participate in the OER movement, including through established collegiate philanthropic campaigns, few if any of which have ever focused on OER despite its clear relationship to academic success.
Open Licensing in Washington State
The Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges (SBCTC) recently adopted an open licensing policy for all of the competitive grants they administer.
The policy states, "All digital software, educational resources and knowledge produced through competitive grants, offered through and/or managed by the SBCTC, will carry a Creative Commons Attribution License." This policy will allow Washington community colleges to realize the educational impact from the substantial investments the state, the federal government, and foundations have made (and will continue to make) in digital educational resources.
According to Cable Green, Director of eLearning & Open Education for SBCTC, "Our new open policy is a direct result of a strategic technology planning process begun several years ago to get all 34 Washington community and technical colleges on common technology platforms." When Open Educational Resources (OER) and open licensing came up as part of that conversation, it made perfect sense. "We looked at the global OER movement and said: we can share our digital content on our shared technology platforms. Further, we will cultivate the culture and practice of using and contributing to open educational resources."
"It became clear that our highest enrolled courses were not our, or anybody else's, competitive advantage," continued Green. "Most community and technical colleges teach the same high enrollment courses. Instead, we decided to find ways to share our most common courses within our system and with the world, so we are not spending precious resources recreating the wheel."
"Our system's success was to adopt a new policy that will make a big difference, and to make that change structural," notes Green. "Our new open policy will simply become part of our boilerplate grant template. By opening up digital educational materials created with public and private dollars, we are making the most of those investments. And because openly licensed content can be reviewed and modified by others, open resources have the potential to get better over time."
Open Educational Resources Case Study: The Foothill-De Anza Community College District
When the Governing Board of Trustees at Foothill-De Anza Community College District (FHDA) began actively pursuing the enactment of a formal OER policy in the spring of 2004, their first official step was to invite faculty and staff involvement in the development of the policy. Aware of likely concerns among faculty and the limited understanding of OER and its potential impact in the classroom, supporters took steps to answer basic questions and to stimulate an open and welcoming conversation on the topic.
To address concerns among faculty, faculty groups were repeatedly reassured that they would not lose rights to their publications and that using OER was optional. The new policy that was eventually developed strongly encourages the adoption of OER to increase access to education for all students, but does not mandate its use. (Please see Q&A with Former Foothill-De Anza Chancellor Dr. Martha J. Kanter on page tk for a more complete description of this particular policy development process.)
This combination of openness to new ideas and administrative willingness to address concerns as frequently and immediately as they arose led to a policy that was universally endorsed by faculty, staff and student groups prior to its approval by the board in late 2005. The Policy on Public Domain Learning Materials, the first of its kind in the nation, provided the foundation for much of the related progress and activity that has followed, including FHDA's now system-wide national leadership of the OER movement with community colleges.
FHDA's policy instructs senior college administrators to look for ways to encourage faculty members to organize and use open content in place of commercial textbooks. The policy leaves the specifics about implementation strategies in the hands of academic administrators, but requires annual progress reports be made to FHDA's board.
The package of incentives and related programs to accomplish the objectives outlined by this policy continue to evolve, but they already include professional development time for faculty so they can find, organize or prepare OER, awards and recognition for the best sets of open learning materials, and tutorials that help faculty members identify useful openly licensed resources in their fields.
The overall goal of FHDA's policy was to foster the cultivation of open learning materials suitable for use by community college students: materials that could continue to evolve and whose existence created collaborations between instructors who teach the same subjects. One expectation was that as these materials matured, the quality of teaching and learning would improve and fewer students would be held back because they could not afford to pay for necessary instructional materials or textbooks. Likewise, FHDA also worked to ensure that professors and academic leaders who organized these materials got the credit and recognition they deserved for being skillful stewards of the best and most useful sets of open learning materials in their fields.
Editors Note about use of the term "public domain:" The following materials demonstrate how the governing board at one community college district successfully engaged its campus community in the OER movement. Some of the language in the following section is outdated as it reflects the dominant terminology regarding free and openly available materials at the time these documents were produced during this particular policy development process, which began informally in 2003, with the development of a frequently-asked-questions (FAQ) document. The field has subsequently moved away from the term "public domain" in favor of terms such as "open," "openly-licensed" and "OER." "Public domain" refers more narrowly to materials which have no copyright restrictions. Within the OER space there are now numerous ways that materials can be made freely available, with the use of standardized Creative Commons intellectual property licenses now the predominant such mechanism.
How did Foothill-De Anza Take a Lead in OER?
- Step 1: Board of Trustees Indicated Interest
- Step 2: Administrator's Surveyed Faculty
- Step 3: Faculty Concerns and Champions Identified
- Step 4: Board Policy Negotiated with Faculty
- Step 5: Board Enacts Policy with Full Faculty Support
- Step 6: Quality of Teaching and Learning Improves as Costs to Students Shrink
One Policy Maker's Perspective: Conversation with Dr. Martha J. Kanter, Chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District (2003 to 2009)
At Foothill-De Anza, Dr. Martha J. Kanter, and her colleague, Dr. Judy Miner, then Vice President of Instruction at De-Anza College worked closely with the 7-member Board of Trustees, which includes two student members, to develop Board Policy 6141: Public Domain Learning Materials. Board Policy 6141 was the first community college board policy in the nation to promote the creation and use of Open Educational Resources. The Policy statement was unanimously approved by Foothill-De Anza's Board of Trustees, with full faculty support, on December 6, 2004.
This Q&A describes the development and passage of that policy.
Question: How did you react when your board of trustees passed its policy supporting the use of Open Educational Resources (OER)?
Answer: I was thrilled to acknowledge unanimous board approval to mark the passage of the first community college OER policy in the United States. Our goal was to develop a policy that would inspire our faculty and staff to create and use open educational resources to benefit community college students, the 44,000 students served at Foothill College and De Anza College as well as thousands of others across California and our nation. I remembered that, more than a decade earlier, when I was a young college president in the early 1990s, De Anza prepared a proposal submitted to a foundation to leverage cable television as an open educational resource for delivering college classes worldwide to help students learn English as a Second Language. This was before the Internet – the dark ages! We didn't call it OER back then. We couldn't get funding for it. But it was the same basic idea - to use technology to encourage the creativity of our faculty in new ways to increase student learning and success. As a result, how could I not put my energies into realizing the potential of such a policy?
Question: You urged your board not to immediately adopt the policy on public domain learning materials which they were considering at the suggestion of one interested trustee. Instead, you asked the board to delay that process for a few months while you used something you called an "inquiry-based research strategy" to refine and improve the policy before it was finally approved with support from all campus constituencies. How did that work?
Answer: The way we applied inquiry-based research in this case was by asking our institutional research director Bob Barr and his staff at our colleges to help us engage our faculty on the subject. They designed the first "public domain survey" that was distributed to our full and part-time faculty in order to gauge faculty interest in and knowledge about OER. We wanted to know if we could begin with a cadre of faculty who were already highly engaged, what the barriers were and how they viewed creating and/or using OER in their classes. We also wanted to assess if any were already using or producing OER and to initiate a broad campus-wide discussion. It was also a way for us to identify the champions, the early adopters—the faculty leaders who were interested in such a policy and its implementation.
Question: Was there anything that surprised you in the results of that survey?
Answer: Oh, yes. Two things. First, the large number of faculty who were already using or who had already developed OER was a big surprise. The numbers were much higher than expected. One hundred and nineteen faculty returned our survey. We learned that 80% were interested in using OER in their classes and 31% were already doing so. We identified faculty across many academic disciplines (e.g., math, language arts, visual arts, history, chemistry, etc.) that were already using or had already developed OER materials for their students. Second, the concern for quality was evident. The survey also reported that many faculty thought it would be difficult to organize good high-quality public domain learning materials in their fields, but it was clear that many were interested and wanted to learn more. Our goal was to discuss the findings widely and begin a public conversation about how to create and use sustainable OER academic resources for our students. We also wanted to investigate ways to incorporate the discussion of OER into professional growth opportunities for faculty and staff.
Question: Measuring and then making public the level of faculty interest in OER helped get the policy passed. Did you learn anything else from that process?
Answer: We learned that faculty were very interested in understanding the growing field of OER and how they could appropriately use it for teaching and learning. They raised concerns about quality, ownership, and related intellectual property issues as well as ways to locate OER content in their disciplines.
We learned that pathways to creating and using OER are not easily available; there wasn't much information about training or reliable OER repositories and experts. We uncovered a great deal of interest and that was encouraging. That's why we decided to create some clear pathways for faculty and staff. For example, Foothill College's dean of Global Access, Dr. Judy Baker, created an "open" (free) professional development course to help faculty learn about, find and use OER.
We must encourage and support faculty to explore and use OER for their classes. Toward this end, we prepared a state budget change proposal to support OER development and use, and asked one of our distinguished state legislators, Assembly Member Ira Ruskin, to author what became Assembly Bill 2261 for this purpose.
Question: There has been no real faculty opposition to the policy on public domain learning materials at Foothill-De Anza. To what do you attribute that?
Answer: We were very clear to stress that faculty determine what learning materials they wanted to use and that they were invited to participate. We were not interested in coercing faculty; we explicitly used the word "encourage" in our board policy. As a result, we were working collaboratively with our academic senates and our faculty union to ensure that the creation and use of OER is complimentary with the traditional rights and responsibilities of our faculty in determining the best content and pedagogies for our students.
Our inquiry-based research approach helped us identify how we could support faculty in ways that would be welcomed by them. Our goal was to identify and help the champions, just as we did in every other academic area that was important, not to expect that everyone becomes a champion, but to find those who had that interest, those who might already be using OER, and support them as leads in their departments, divisions, campus wide and at the state and national level as some of them are now doing.
Question: What advice would you give to chancellors and college presidents who might be interested in generating support for public domain learning materials and open educational resources at their schools?
Answer: The starting point is the faculty, supported by excited, web-enabled deans and vice presidents. You really have to engage your faculty and find ways to get the OER discussion started. You will find faculty leaders right away. Let them loose to share what they know. Support them to have the conversations, review the draft policies and procedures, share OER sites and curriculum, attend conferences and engage in OER professional development through sabbaticals, growth awards and other available resources. You really have to reach out to your faculty to bring this type of policy to your board of trustees. Learning materials are inherently a faculty issue so it is all about identifying the faculty leaders who want to increase quality and reduce the cost of a college education for their students.
We did two surveys: the 2006 survey of Foothill and De Anza faculty; and a 2007 survey of more than 1,000 faculty from California and selected community colleges in the United States. The findings from both surveys were similar, though in the 2007 survey, more than 90% were interested in creating and using OER in their classes. This can probably be attributed to prominent media attention to the textbook crisis, the leadership of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation in promoting OER nationally and internationally, and more informed faculty leaders available to discuss its merits and pitfalls.
OER is clearly an area of great faculty interest and excitement. It's about what is happening in their classrooms, in their courses, with their students. Senior community college administrators have a great opportunity to open the door to this conversation and then to help the faculty champions move the conversation to action.
Question: What advice would you give to other boards of trustees that want to adopt policies that support public domain learning materials and open educational resources?
Answer: Having an OER policy is very important. However, you can't create the policy without faculty support. You need the faculty buy-in up-front. Getting a discussion started about the policy is one great way to begin. That's how we started at Foothill-De Anza - with college and district-wide discussions about the policy, what it meant, why it was being proposed and whom it might affect. That discussion led to our faculty survey and to the collaboration responsible for the final language in the policy, which everyone supported. Our faculty senate and union leaders were invited to work on the wording with us as we progressed.
Community college trustees have a responsibility to lead in developing policies for their districts. To do this, they must work through the administrators and faculty, to respect the various roles, but to keep pushing for results. Change never comes easily. You have to be focused and consistent. But as one of my heroes, Eleanor Roosevelt, once said, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
Model Board Policy Enacted December 2005
Foothill-De Anza Community College District Policy on Public Domain Learning Materials*
The Foothill-De Anza Community College District encourages the creation, use, and ongoing maintenance of public domain-based learning materials* in accordance with established curriculum standards for educational purposes of the district.
The goals of this policy are to provide students with high quality learning materials that reside in the public domain to augment and/or replace costly textbooks, to create sustainable academic resources for students, faculty and staff, and to provide opportunities for professional growth of district employees involved in these activities.
The Chancellor will provide periodic reports, not less than annually, to the Board that detail the progress made toward accomplishing the goals delineated by this policy.
*Please see the note above regarding the use of the term "public domain."
This FAQ (frequently asked questions) was originally developed by a board member at Foothill-De Anza Community College in 2003 to address faculty questions and concerns at the beginning of the process that led to the 2005 enactment of Foothill-De Anza's groundbreaking governance policy in support of what are now known as "open educational resources." It has been updated and modified slightly from its original form.
While prepared specifically for FHDA's effort to develop a policy, this FAQ offers helpful responses to easily anticipated questions.
What is "Public Domain"?
"Public domain" is a legal phrase that describes intellectual works that are not subject to intellectual property rights. The dawn of the Internet has made it much easier to discover, archive, combine and re-purpose this material. Public domain material includes hundreds of thousands of works whose copyrights have expired or not been renewed, including books, articles, maps, scientific papers, films, plays, songs, etc. Many of literature's best-known works are in the public domain, as are many of the most significant early scientific papers and manuscripts.
For a variety of reasons, authors of intellectual property are also increasingly making their works available to the public free of charge using standardized intellectual property licenses produced by Creative Commons or by placing them directly into the public domain. The best known example of this trend may be the OpenCourseWare program initiated by MIT President Charles Vest that encouraged MIT faculty members to license the material they use in their classes so it can be used by the public at no cost. This includes textbooks and/or their equivalents in some cases, as well as streaming audio/video of class lectures in others. The amount of such academic materials available online has recently exploded, with more being added each day.
What are public domain-based learning materials?
"Public Domain-Based Learning Materials" include materials derived from existing public domain resources. Examples include an introductory geometry textbook, a basic physics textbook, chemistry textbook, and anthologies of great literature, philosophy, dramatic, and/or any other artistic works that are not subject to intellectual property rights. Public domain-based learning materials may or may not also contain other supporting materials, such as related tests, other learning assessment tools and study guides.
What are the permissible uses of public domain materials?
The permissible uses of public domain and openly-licensed materials vary. Public domain materials may be used as desired. As noted above, in some cases the original owners of openly licensed materials have imposed restrictions that permit free personal use but do not allow any commercial uses. In other instances, such as with materials whose copyrights have expired or where commercial rights have been voluntarily given up, there are no restrictions on the reuse and repurposing of the materials.
Many of these innovative educators and authors are using free, standardized intellectual property licenses provided by Creative Commons. These materials are not in the public domain. Instead, the licenses provided by Creative Commons, which are electronically attached to each document, establish the ownership of those materials and enable their authors to define the conditions under which they can be used by others. One of the goals of Creative Commons is to create a commons of intellectual property that is available for everyone to use under pre-defined conditions.
What is Creative Commons?
Creative Commons (http://creativecommons.org) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. CC provides free licenses and other legal tools to mark creative work with the freedom the creator wants it to carry. CC licenses are expressed in three different formats. The first is a human-readable deed that simplifies the terms of each license into a few universal icons and non-technical language. The second is the lawyer-readable terms of the license itself, which have been vetted by a global team of legal experts. The final layer is the machine-readable code that enables search and discovery.
What is the role of faculty in deciding how or when to use or develop public-domain or Creative Commons-licensed learning materials?
Decisions about publishing and textbook selection are and must remain, fundamentally, choices of the faculty. A university or community college district can provide encouragement, training, support and incentives that help faculty members continue to implement whatever learning methodologies they deem best suited to their particular situation. Once successful programs are in place that facilitate the development and use of public domain and Creative Commons-licensed learning materials faculty will gain an additional set of options.
What is the primary goal of this proposed new policy? Is it to reduce the costs of textbooks? To get faculty members to organize freely available public domain materials for use in their classes? To create incentives for faculty to place their own publications into the public domain? To encourage faculty use of Creative Commons licenses? To improve the quality of teaching and learning? Or to encourage new ways of publishing and sharing scholarly work?
All of the above. One overall goal and motivation of this new policy, however, is to reduce the costs of textbooks while maintaining high academic standards. Not every faculty member will want to participate in this activity, nor will every faculty member want to do so in the exact same way. The goal is to create a flexible policy along with a variety of options that will serve the needs of any faculty member who wants to help create or use a new generation of high-quality, low-cost learning materials. Repurposing existing public domain or Creative Commons licensed material is one excellent new way to accomplish this objective, but it is not the only way.
How can the use of public domain and Creative Commons licensed materials reduce the costs imposed on students and at the same time create a new revenue stream for faculty members and for our district?
There are many ways that this could be accomplished. A faculty member or group of faculty members could, for example, make a new public domain-based textbook available online for free use while offering a different printer ready file (one that is formatted properly for printing) for sale at a modest cost, say $5 to $15 a copy. Imagine how many students and schools around the world might be interested in a current, up-to-date high quality college level text in your discipline that costs under $15. Volume sales of these materials to students around the world could generate considerable sums as this new model begins to compete with current proprietary textbook publishing methods.
What sort of incentives do you envision creating for faculty members who might be interested in developing or maintaining public domain-based learning materials as substitutes for costly textbooks?
The Board of Trustees sets policies and goals for our district and usually does not address the specific methods that are used to achieve those goals. That's one reason the participation of faculty members at this stage is so essential. Once our Board of Trustees approves this policy, the Chancellor and her staff will consult with district faculty and staff to develop the specific incentive and support programs needed to accomplish this objective. These incentives might, for example, include sabbatical study to develop public domain materials, reassigned time, grant support or stipend support for involved faculty, technical support in locating, developing and maintaining public domain-based and Creative Commons-licensed online materials, marketing support for those materials once assembled, and any other business services that may be needed. Additional suggestions for workable incentives are welcome and solicited.
How will any revenues derived from the publication of public domain and Creative Commons licensed learning materials be divided between the faculty authors and the district?
In most early cases, faculty members are voluntarily forgoing royalties in the interest of achieving the widest possible circulation of the materials. It's also possible the district may act as a publisher or, alternatively, it may enter into an agreement with a third party to provide those services. In some cases, the district and faculty may need to work out suitable revenue-sharing arrangements that take into account the faculty member's ownership of their own intellectual property while also acknowledging the district's role in supporting the creation, maintenance and distribution of these works. Models to sustain these efforts are needed, along with pilot projects.
What benefits will a faculty member receive in exchange for sharing — with the district — royalty rights to any public domain or Creative Commons-licensed materials they may organize or produce?
The answer to this question will have to be negotiated over time to the satisfaction of the faculty. Presently, however, no work-for-hire arrangements are contemplated. Faculty will retain full ownership rights over any Creative Commons licensed materials they may produce. Potentially, and if desired, faculty members could enter into annual or multi-year scholarly publishing contracts with the District in exchange for what we hope will be a growing menu of enabling services designed to support the production and distribution of high-quality public domain and Creative Commons-licensed academic learning materials. Faculty members are always free to pursue other publishing avenues. This policy is designed to give faculty members one new option, not take away or preclude any options they currently enjoy.
What happens if a faculty member does not want to participate in the creation or use of public domain-based learning materials?
Absolutely nothing. On the other hand, one way faculty members will distinguish themselves in the future is by becoming known as a steward of the best set of public domain and/or Creative Commons-licensed learning materials in their discipline. As such, faculty members who participate will create new opportunities for their own professional advancement and development and enhance their academic reputations. Faculty members are under no obligation to take advantage of this opportunity.
Will faculty members need to know a lot about technology or computer programming to participate?
No. Ideally, as we proceed, our district will seek or locate the funding it needs to develop technical support services so that interested and involved faculty members can devote their primary attention to the task of identifying and organizing public domain-based materials that are suitable for their subject areas.
Do all academic disciplines lend themselves equally to the production of new public domain or Creative Commons-licensed learning materials?
No. In some disciplines (economics comes to mind) generating useful public domain learning materials will be more difficult than in other areas where there is already a greater abundance of available public domain and Creative Commons licensed resources, such as in the hard sciences (math, chemistry, physics), language arts and creative arts. There is no academic discipline, however, where motivated faculty members would be unable to make a significant new contribution to their fields by organizing and maintaining currently existing public domain and Creative Commons-licensed materials.
What if standard textbooks are really the best materials that can be used to teach my class? What if I am convinced that my students' best interests would not be served by relying on public domain or Creative Commons-licensed materials?
Faculty members should make whatever decisions they feel are in the best interests of their students. One factor that many instructors consider is the cost of the materials they require their students to purchase, which can determine how accessible their class is to the diverse groups served by a community college. At a minimum, it is reasonable to hope that all faculty members will be interested in reviewing current information about the public domain and Creative Commons-based materials available for use in their classes and that this information will be considered when making textbook and learning material selections.
If the movement toward the creation of new public domain and Creative Commons-based learning materials constitutes a new "revolution" in higher education — won't everyone soon be doing it? If so, why should the Foothill-De Anza Community College District bother to get involved? What will make our effort in this area succeed?
Revolutions don't happen all by themselves. They are led. The Foothill-De Anza Community College District has long been a leader in developing new ways to bring high-quality educational opportunities to ever-larger and more diverse segments of our population. This proposed new policy continues that tradition. Like some other previous innovative efforts, it may fail — in which case much will be learned. Additionally, scholars at other higher education institutions may, in the end, win the competition to create the best new sets of public domain or Creative Commons-based learning materials suitable for community college students — and create the best new set of support services and conditions that lead to their creation. Either way, though, local residents will benefit directly from any steps our district takes that hasten the development of more affordable, high-quality learning materials. The Foothill-De Anza Community College District's proximity to Silicon Valley also provides significant advantages that make the successful development of next-generation learning materials more likely here than in many other areas.
How will this project get started?
The Board will rely on the Chancellor and her staff to develop a program in consultation with the Academic Senate that advances these goals, which may include a test or pilot effort that involves the most interested faculty members.
Can faculty members at Foothill or De Anza work in teams or with colleagues at other institutions to create these materials (i.e., shared authorship)?
That certainly is one option.
What are the goals in terms of the final cost to end users (that is, students) for these materials?
One overall goal is to reduce the costs currently imposed on students by required textbook purchases. Given the potential economies of scale, it's conceivable that substantial revenues could be generated by high quality, low-cost printable textbook substitutes. Personally, I would expect to see free access to these materials online and the cost per printed volume limited to $15 or less.
Is this an appropriate way to be spending the district's resources during a time of very tight budgets?
In recent months, interest among policy makers and the general public in public domain and Creative Commons-based learning materials has been exploding, in large measure, precisely because of tight education budgets. Many members of the public are asking hard questions about whether public institutions of higher education are using the resources at their disposal in the most efficient ways possible to serve the public interest. That includes taking advantage of new opportunities created by recent advances in technology. One of the ways the Foothill-De Anza Community College District has traditionally won support from the local community is by pioneering new ways to make higher education more accessible and affordable. By enacting a new policy to create incentives for the faculty to use and produce public domain and Creative Commons-based learning materials we will be containing that tradition.
Where will the district come up with the money to do this?
Many leading foundations are now focusing on this area. Top foundation leaders recognize the opportunity they have to fund the creation of a new set of affordable educational resources as a smart long-term investment. Generally speaking, programs of this sort are often preferred over efforts that meet a one-time need. As such, funding to create public domain and Creative Commons-based learning materials is growing rapidly, with most of that money going to the groups, organizations and institutions that are leading the way. Precise funding mechanisms remain to be determined, but the district is likely to pursue a combination of public, private and philanthropic support.
What can I do as a faculty member at Foothill or De Anza to help get this policy enacted?
You can offer your support by suggesting any changes or ideas that may be useful. District trustees will also be more inclined to move forward with this idea once it has received the formal support of the Academic Senate on both campuses.