CA-OER imageCalifornia Open Educational Resources Council, chaired by SJSU‘s Dr. Katherine D. Harris (English), just won the award DETCHE Award for outstanding Instructional Technology Website, by extension through COOL4Ed. CA-OER is working on bringing low cost or free etextbooks to students in California Community Colleges, UC, and CSU schools — to reduce student textbook cost by $100-200 per student. The biggest hurdle is rigorous peer review of the OER textbooks and making faculty aware of the massive numbers of OER textbooks that are available from a variety of authors and publishers — AND THEN creating a repository where the peer reviews and links to the OER textbooks can be found. CA-OER makes and implements policy; COOL4Ed represents the public repository. The project is the first of its kind among 3 massive state educational institutions + the State of California. Nine faculty from CCC, UC, CSU working tirelessly for a year in partnership with Gerard Hanley, Leslie Kennedy, and Una Daly (who are the primary agents of COOL4Ed) to implement State Bills 1052 and 1053. So proud!!awardPlease find us on Facebook where we push out all of our updates, including a call for reviewers (with a stipend!), a faculty survey, a call for various focus groups, and news of our Fall pilot project.

Background: CA-OER selected 50 high impact and highly enrolled courses that articulate across CCC, CSU, UC so we could reach the most number of students. Since the concern is governed by two State Bills, we are serving a particular population in the State of California and have geared the course selection towards California institutions of higher ed.

The OER textbooks and their reviews are open and free to anyone for use — CA-OER developed peer review rubrics specific to the feedback we received from faculty at California institutions of higher ed, but anyone will be able to read the reviews and use the OER textbooks. (We’ll publish the review rubric on the COOL4Ed sight soon.) We didn’t author those textbooks because there already exist a great number of well-written OER textbooks already available. Instead CA-OER provides the review process and is working towards helping faculty to adopt and implement the OER textbooks into curriculum.