Open Education Week offers a global festival of open education efforts. As we take stock of the offerings, it’s heartening to look at how individual efforts can feed into larger system’s change. In our Open Education Week 2023 blog post, we highlight community members’ approaches and tools, opening access to education and knowledge. Below, we share how a recent CC Certificate Bootcamp strengthens open education in California Community Colleges.
This January, Creative Commons led a CC Certificate Bootcamp, or condensed training for 12 faculty and staff from 11 California Community Colleges implementing Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) degree programs. Building on a successful pilot ZTC Pathways program, the California Legislator invested $115 million to expand Zero Textbook Cost degrees and OER within the California community college system. The California ZTC programs reduce the overall cost of education and reduce the time to degree completion for California community college students. With the average costs of course textbooks estimated at $100/student/course, ZTC programs have the potential to save students nearly a billion dollars in the coming years, offering a more than 800% return on investment, according to SPARC.
The CC Certificate Bootcamp provided needed training and tools for ZTC program staff to legally and effectively implement the open licensing requirements of the $115 investment.
But, beyond open licensing lessons, the CC training strengthened a network of open advocates. The week offered engagement with copyright lawyers, and open advocates, space for collaborative brainstorming, play, and iterative problem solving. From participant-focused brainstorms emerged three clear interventions to address needs in the ZTC program development and expansion. Participant work kickstarted (1) a guide to support faculty in using and integrating LibreTexts OER in Canvas; (2) a ZTC Conversion Faculty Resource guide, sharing resources for both OER liaisons and interested faculty supporting the process of ZTC course development; and (3) the outline of wholistic considerations and needs for roadmapping ZTC programs efficiently and effectively, as the Michelson 20MM Foundation highlighted. In less than two months since the bootcamp, faculty and staff have continued to collaborate and champion for OER in their institutions, by:
- Presenting simple guides and presentations for faculty and administrators to absorb to mitigate overwhelm with the program;
- Presenting Creative Commons License tutorials, as well as additional needs for adjacent networks, at professional development days, to the Academic Senate and Deans of various departments;
- Planning OER conferences;
- Launching a survey for the ZTC program;
- Setting up mapping to the degrees in smartsheets, which can pull survey data to courses and identify what courses have been converted to ZTCs;
- Sharing a guide about what the ZTC funding (with legislation definitions, how is the funding working and more)
CC Bootcamp collaborations moved beyond the initial goals of supporting cost savings for students–faculty and staff worked toward interventions addressing barriers to teaching and learning in their systems. As Cailyn Nagle notes, OER are worth more than their cost savings. “They have the power to free, to be liberatory. When educators are able to craft the ideal materials their students can use without barriers, and librarians are able to curate that knowledge for everyone’s benefit, we come closer to the promise of Open.” We applaud California Community Colleges increased collaborative work–strengthening a foundation for that freedom.
As we revel in the offerings of Open Education Week and our collaborations, I hope we can draw from the energy of California Community Colleges’ faculty and staff, striving toward increasingly liberatory structures in the future.
CC thanks the Michelson 20MM Foundation for generously funding the bootcamp.
Special thanks also go to the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges for their liaison work, expertise and support, to Skyline College for hosting the event, and to Fresno Pacific University for providing professional development credits to faculty.
At Creative Commons, we offer an array of learning and training opportunities to support our global community in developing open licensing expertise and a deeper understanding of recommended practices for better sharing. Visit the CC Trainings page to learn about our workshops, consulting options, lectures, and our CC Certificate courses.