As Jane reports on the Creative Commons blog, California’s OER pilot program has been signed into law:
Last week, a bill enabling the California Community Colleges to integrate open educational resources (OER) into its core curriculum was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger. AB 2261 authorizes the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges “to establish a pilot program to provide faculty and staff from community college districts around the state with the information, methods, and instructional materials to establish open education resources centers.”
Hal quotes me as saying that ‘introducing Open Educational Resources into the public education system is the most significant development since the establishment of Land Grant colleges and universities in the mid 1800’s.’ In fact, in my OpenCourseWars future-history, the federal OER bill is actually called the Third Morrill Act. I stand by this statement that OERs will be the most important development for higher education since the creation of the Land Grants, and I’ll go one step further and say that the widespread adoption of OERs by higher education and K-12 will be the most important thing that has happened to formal education since the advent of formal education.
You may think I’m blowing smoke, but OERs represent a mass-democratization of access that goes beyond formal education or even public schooling. Think about it – public schools are available only to (1) citizens (2) of a certain age. OERs, on the other hand, are available to everyone, regardless of nationality or age. As institutions adopt OERs and improve them they will contribute these changes back to the community. Like a feedback loop in a microphone and speaker, more and more OER of higher and higher quality will be increasingly available. Thank God that I’m alive to see this all happening! I’m truly humbled, and I hope to be able to continue to contribute to the advance of the open education movement.