As a follow-up to a blog I posted in December , the State of California has just yesterday taken a big step forward in reducing the costs of textbooks. In a vote that was almost unanimous, the California Senate approved two measures aimed to save California college students money when buying textbooks.
The first bill creates the process for California to create an Open Education Resources library targeted at the 50 most-common lower-division college courses. The process seeks to have publishers, nonprofits, and other entities bid to create textbooks and provide them to students free in digital format or in print for $20. Faculty will not be mandated to use the materials.
To facilitate the process and approve materials, a California Open Educational Resource Council comprised of faculty members from each state public college system will be created. A companion bill was also approved to create a state digital library as a repository for the materials created.
Using the Creative Commons licensing platform, faculty members will be able to adopt and customize these core titles for use in their classrooms. This process allows for faculty to update and share resources to make the products better with inexpensive iteration updates.
The program California seeks to create is similar to the program launched in the State of Washington in 2011.