Last week, Alana Harrington and I had the opportunity to travel to Houston, Texas for the 2012 Connexions Conference. This was our first time attending this conference, and let me tell you – it did not disappoint! The daylong conference was so chock-full of information and excellent presentations that it could have easily run across two days.
While I would love to provide you with every detail of every presentation, I’m sure you’d prefer a much shorter blog post. So instead, across two posts this week, I will highlight the areas of the conference that are most applicable to the Saylor Foundation: the OpenStax College Launch and Open Certification – Badges, Alternative Certification, and OER.
OpenStax College Launch
If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter, you may have seen a recent announcement that Connexions, with the help of the 20 Million Minds Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the Gates Foundation, and the Maxfield Foundation, partnered to provide free, open source textbooks via OpenStax College for five common introductory college-level courses – with a release of twenty titles over the next 5 years.
We are absolutely thrilled for our friends at these organizations, especially as they have already secured confirmation of use from a number of universities. This sort of announcement – one in which OERs are going mainstream – is huge in the open education community. So you might imagine my excitement when I saw that an explanation of the OpenStax College Launch was on the conference agenda.
The 45-minute presentation included talking points from David Harris, Editor in Chief at Connexions; Phyllis Hillwig, COO of Words and Numbers, the group that managed the creation of these texts; peer-reviewer Eric Christensen of South Florida Community College (and one of the users of the Physics text!); and peer-reviewer Marie Wallace of Pima Community College.
As each of these individuals presented, one thing that really struck a chord with me was the effort that went into each of the 5 initial texts, the resulting level of quality found in each, and the flexibility of format for the students. Read the rest of this page »
Read the rest of this page »