Earlier today, the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) made an announcement that will positively affect students in Washington State and beyond. The SBCTC has officially launched its Open Course Library (OCL), a collection of open, shareable course materials created by SBCTC faculty members, instructional designers and librarians selected from the 34 public colleges in Washington State. The collection includes course syllabi, class activities, readings, and assessments for SBCTC faculty members to use in their classes.
You might be asking: What’s so great about the OCL?
Well, SBCTC’s specific goals with the OCL include providing new resources for SBCTC faculty and engaging the college system in the global open educational resources (OER) discussion, but possibly most important of all, the OCL aims to improve course completion rates by lowering textbook costs for students. According to the OCL website, students at SBCTC colleges spend 25% of all education costs on textbooks, which can reach as high as $1200 per student, per school year. OCL eliminates the need for expensive textbooks and provides faculty with high quality, adaptable course materials for little-to-no cost. If a textbook is required for one of these courses, the cost is not-to-exceed $30, much lower than the average cost of today’s college textbook.
Today’s launch includes 42 OCL courses with more materials to follow, including a suite of roughly 40 additional, “phase 2” courses, which will be in development in January 2012. While all of the OCL materials are owned by SBCTC, they are freely shared through a Creative Commons Attribution-only license (CC-BY).
“The courses were created with the needs of Washington’s college students in mind, but also with the idea that we would be sharing the materials with the world,” says Tom Caswell, who leads the project at the State board for Community and Technical Colleges.
Taking a cue from Caswell’s desire to share the materials with the world, the Saylor Foundation is excited to concurrently announce that we have partnered with SBCTC to adapt and expand upon the OCL course materials. We’re restructuring the first wave of courses into our unique, modular format and making the courses freely available to all via Saylor.org.
“SBCTC’s Open Course Library is a trail-blazing initiative; the first of its kind and a great contribution to Washington State,” says Alana Harrington, Director of the Saylor Foundation. “We hope the low cost resources identified and constructed by SBCTC faculty will influence educational practitioners worldwide. We’re thrilled that Saylor.org is able to adapt OCL faculty resources to offer them directly to students. In fact, we’ve already started adapting the Phase I courses for student use with courses like HIST001 and BIO101B already on Saylor.org for public consumption!”
Courses made possible through this partnership are available at https://www.saylor.org/sbctc-saylor-courses/. They have also been structured into different Saylor.org areas of study and can be found throughout Saylor.org curricula.