Washington’s Open Course Library

Cable Green led a round table discussion on Washington State’s initiative to lower textbook costs. What is driving this initiative? Textbook debt has surpassed credit card debt in the USA with $12 billion dollars a year spent on textbooks in the USA.

The confluence of Creative Commons licenses and the dropping price of computers is behind this initiative to share resources. There is a need for a cultural shift from ‘not invented here’ to ‘what resources can we collaborate on’. A conversation about a cultural change that encourages sharing is critical. Washington State has begun this process with their highest enrolled courses, the general ones.

All of their materials are ADA compliant, including videos. YouTube has a beta that will automatically do the closed captions that will soon be required by all states.. Anyone who receives state grants for curriculum development has to agree to a Creative Commons Attribution license. It is important to think in modules rather than complete courses.

All of the curriculum content has a Creative Commons Attribution only license and then goes into the Connexions repository hosted by Rice. Connexions is a place to view and share educational material made of small knowledge chunks called modules that can be organized as courses, books, reports, and so on. Anyone may view or contribute. Authors create and collaborate. Instructors rapidly build and share custom collections.
Learners find and explore content.

More information is available in the Washington State Strategic Technology Plan is the product of an 18-month analysis conducted by the Technology Transformation Task Force of the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges for the purpose of creating a roadmap for how our system needs to leverage 21st Century technologies to support student achievement.

See also the http://www.oercommons.org/ and http://opencourselibrary.wikispaces.com/.