Three Statewide OER/ZTC Degrees Initiatives

Three Statewide OER/ZTC Degrees Initiatives

– Welcome, everyone. This is Una Daly from
the Community College Consortium for OER, and
we’re so glad you could make it today to join us for our webinar on OER and zero textbook
cost degree initiatives. For those of you who
are members or have been participating with us for a long time, you’ll know that this has been a topic near and dear to our hearts. We’ve been working on
OER and zero textbook cost degrees since 2015. So working with institutions, faculty, and promoting the benefits of this, along with finding solutions
for some of the challenges. And so we have three experts who have been working on this at their institutions or within their systems from California, Minnesota, and New York
who are really going to share with you how they went about this and the successes and also the challenges that they’ve hit along the way to help their students be successful. So our agenda. I’m gonna introduce our speakers, which I’m very excited
to do in just a moment. We’ll have a very quick
overview of CCCOER. And then we’ll get right
into those presentations from our speakers, and
we will then go into kind of a panel mode. And we will invite questions
from you, the audience, and we really welcome those. And we also have some
questions that I’m gonna ask the panelists as well. And that will take care of us. So first up it’s my pleasure
to introduce Lori-Beth Larsen. She’s English faculty at Central
Lakes College in Minnesota. And Lori, do you want to say hello and a little something about what you do on a day to day basis? – Sure, I teach… Let’s see, I teach
English, I teach reading, and I teach the global studies class here. And I am now OER lead,
so I get a couple credits to keep this going here on our campus. – Wonderful, well we’re so glad you could make it today, Lori-Beth. – Thank you. – And next up I’d like to
introduce Tony DeFranco, who is the SUNY OER
Services Campus Strategist at the State University of New York. And prior to that, Tony was
faculty in instructional design at Tompkins
Cortland Community College who is a long time leader in OER dating back a long… Dating back to, I’m gonna say, 2011, ’12. So you’ve been in this
business for a while, Tony. – A long time, learned a lot of lessons along the way, made a lot
of mistakes along the way. So hopefully we’ve corrected
those over the years. Thanks Una, yeah, I’m a campus strategist for SUNY OER Services. It’s a shared service
of the State University of New York system. And my primary role is
to work with campuses in implementing and scaling
OER across their campuses. We have specific areas that we focus on. Mine happens to be managing
the degree programs as well as a few other things. But I’m happy to be in this role and it’s great working with the campuses. – Great, welcome, Tony. And last but not least
is James Glapa-Grossklag, who is dean at College of the Canyons. Sorry, at the moment, I should know this, James has been… James is really a co-founder of CCCOER, so has been with us for a long time and I’ve had the pleasure
of working on a few projects in California
related to ZTC degrees, James? – Yeah, thanks, Una, hey, everybody. Pleased to be here, been
hanging around CCCOER for a while, happy to be
here and support all the work that people do with CCCOER
and now got the good fortune to support work across California community colleges. In my day job at College of the Canyons, I get to work with our
online education team, our library team, and our learning center or tutoring center team. And yeah, happy to be here. – Great, so as you can
see, we have an outstanding set of speakers to share with you today. So for those of you who
might be new to CCCOER or to our webinars, we’ve
been around for almost 12 years now, and I know
there’s another co-founder on the webinar today,
which is Barbara Illowsky, who was actually there
at the very beginning when we were founded. And our mission hasn’t
changed a great deal, although the landscape has changed. But we still have the same goals. We’re trying to help
students be successful in their academic careers, and we do that through expanding awareness and access to high quality OER. And we know that the key
to that is supporting faculty choice and development around these open resources. And I want to just show you a
quick map of our membership. And we are very pleased to
have our members with us today and many of you who participate
who aren’t currently members and we welcome you
whenever that’s appropriate. And our latest members that
just came on this month is the Virtual College of Texas, and we’re very pleased to have them, and I believe Judith Sebesta,
their executive director, is with us today, so welcome Judith. And also Reedley College in California. And that is represented by Amanda Taintor. I’m not sure if Amanda’s on today, but she is quite the OER
leader at her college and we’re very pleased to
have Reedley join us as well. So getting to our topic today, our three speakers, of
course, are gonna touch on many motivations behind the
OER and ZTC degree pathways and both from an institutional perspective and possibly a system perspective. I think many institutions
get started around the cost barriers of
textbooks for students. But looking at it from
an equity perspective is also a very helpful
way to look at how these Z-degrees make it easier for students to may be low income or underrepresented to be successful in these pathways. And many of our colleges
around the country are involved in pathway programs and the ZTC and the OER degree programs align quite well with the pathway programs by eliminating potentially
unnecessary coursework, which helps students to
graduate more quickly. From an institutional perspective, these Z-degrees can be an
incentive to enroll students because it significantly
can reduce their cost of achieving a degree. And one thing that isn’t
often mentioned up front but it’s a wonderful professional
development experience for faculty and staff and
can lead to really improved pedagogy throughout the institution. So lots of potential
benefits and we’re gonna hear from some folks who are working
right there in the field and will give you some specific examples. So first up I’m gonna turn
this over to Lori-Beth and I’m gonna stop sharing
so that you can share from your computer. – Gotta unmute myself. – [Una] Yeah, perfect, yeah. – You can see my mouth
moving and can’t hear. Hi, everybody, I’m going to share this slide show with you. So I am, again, from a very small college here in Minnesota. We have about 5,000
students, 5,500 students. We’re pretty little. But we do have, over the last few years we have developed a Z-degree. Now, is it sharing the large screen? – We can see your slides. – Excellent, all right, so
we have a number of courses and our Z-degree came
about rather organically, as Karen Pikula started
learning circles here. Some of you may have heard of her. She works now with the Minnesota state. So she ran learning circles. And we just continually
added course by course in a variety of goal areas
until we came up with enough courses offered every year in each of the goal areas
so that students can graduate from Central Lakes
with an associate’s degree without paying any money for a textbook. We have a few areas that have smaller and not every single one
is offered every semester but enough so that within a
year, they’re all offered. So here we have our registration page. I wanted to take a look at
this because right there in the middle is our
only indication that this course has a zero textbook cost. And this is how students can find out. But we also do have the
options that students can find out from our website. Our website has a PDF simply
showing that all these courses are available,
which ones specifically are available for fall. Hopefully this process will
become a little more efficient but for now it works for
us in the small college. We also do have Minnesota
State Repository. We have a few books available on here. This is our repository for OER materials that are being developed. And we’re working on
getting more up there. It’s pretty limited at the
moment, but it’s starting. So we did a survey
recently of our students. It’s the first survey we’ve done. And of course, it’s similar
to what other people are finding, of course,
that lots of students are enrolled in courses
with expensive textbooks. I was thinking a little bit about why our 20% of the students said
they had not purchased a required textbook,
which is a little lower than it seems the national average. But a large percentage of our population buy their textbooks with financial aid. A huge percentage. So I think that when they get that money, then they are able to afford
some kind of textbook. And it’s not always a choice
between textbook and rent. Of course, we know it often is. So we also have a
Minnesota wide initiative. We talked about this a little earlier. Northland Community College,
we’re gonna create some degree programs, Z-degree programs. And I do believe we asked most recently, I don’t believe it’s quite
ready to go in the fall, but it’s certainly in the works. And many of you probably
know a lot more about this. Central Lakes College
was not involved in this distance ed consortium
to offer a Z-degree, but this was the information
I received most recently about other Z-degree
opportunities in the future. So our future goals, obviously. We need to let students
know a little bit more about what options here are available. Of course, we continue to add. We continue we added
about five more classes using OER materials this semester. We’ll be continuing to add
some more in the summer and possibly again in the fall next year. We do have a sustaining
budget to continue this for at least another year and a half. And then we’ll have to go from there. And we also have to target a few of the goal areas where there’s only
a limited number of courses. All right, I’ll stop this share. – All righty, thank you very much, Lori. And so as Lori’s effort, as she has said, is primarily at her college right now. But there were three colleges in Minnesota that produced an online degree as part of Achieving the Dream’s program. And I think Tony, you’re
gonna speak to that. And just thank you, Tony. And before you get started,
Achieving the Dream, of course, did the OER degree program. We had invited the folks
from Achieving the Dream to join us today, but they were unable to. They worked with 38 colleges
throughout the United States and three of those were from Minnesota. So yeah, thank you for sharing that. Tony, why don’t you go right ahead? – Okay, everyone can
see my screen, I trust? – Yeah.
– Okay. So I’ll talk about not just
the OER degree programs in the State University of New York or SUNY, as we’re better known, but how they’re being developed, expectations of the
participating campuses, how we’re supporting the campuses and the goals for developing
these OER degree pathways. This is a snapshot of OER efforts at SUNY of the past couple of years. Of the 64 campuses, 59
have an OER initiative. There may be others that
we don’t know about yet. We’re always pleasantly
surprised when we find out about new campuses, but
overall we’ve covered quite a bit in the SUNY system. Over 155,000 students across
the state are enrolled in at least one OER course. We estimate that the
students have saved over $16 million in costs for
textbooks and access codes. We estimate that students
and that the number of students is actually growing. We’re quickly approaching
5,000 different course sections taught by over 1,000 faculty. And some campuses have
reported increases in success of retention rates,
which is very promising. And we’re looking forward
to seeing more of that across the system as the
numbers start to come in. So a consortium of five
SUNY community colleges participated in the ATD
OER degree initiative. The goal is for each college to develop at least one degree pathway. A couple of the campuses,
Herkimer and Tompkins Cortland, where I originally came
from, ended up developing two programs at the
campuses which resulted in a total of seven programs. SUNY is funding some
additional OER degree pathways. Three of the Achieving the Dream campuses are involved in the current
OER degree pathway efforts along with six other
campuses that are new to OER degree pathways. We’re pleased to have the
first four year school involved in development of an OER pathway at SUNY Oneonta. They originally started
their OER degree program as a bachelor of science
and applied liberal arts, but that has transitioned from a degree to an OER gen ed pathway. Both Oneonta and SUNY
system felt that this was probably a better
approach for them because it would have a broader
impact on their students. We’re also excited to
have efforts underway for our first master’s degree OER pathway. This is an MA in learning
and emerging technologies that’s being developed
at Empire State College, who have been very active
in OER for quite some time. The college in prison program housed at Marcy Correctional Facility
near Utica, New York provides individuals who are incarcerated an education provided by
Mohawk Valley Community College who is also involved in ATD. That program is being
offered as a business administration AAS OER degree, and it’s the first prison based
OER degree program in SUNY. At least one of the
schools is offering their degree program completely online. Another will offer their degree 80% online with the full intention of moving that to completely online very soon. Others are offering a mix
of online and face to face courses within their degree pathways. The OER degree pathway
initiative is being led by SUNY OER Services,
which is a shared service organization for which I work at SUNY for institutions looking
to build, support, expand OER in practices. And our main effort
really is to help campuses lower the cost of education
for their students and empower their faculty
to use the materials that are most suited for their needs. Based on our experience
with OER over the years along with our partner collaborations and involvement with ATD, as I mentioned, we’ve learned a lot from that. We’ve compiled and developed
a number of resources we feel are helpful in assisting campuses that are working on these
OER degree programs. Let me back up, I think I
might have skipped over one. Oh, there we are, course maps. One of the requirements
for the campuses involved in the degree initiative
is to provide their course maps and we feel
that the course maps are helpful visuals for
designing the courses. The course maps should include
links to the OER being used, should align with the
backward design process, which some of you may be familiar with identifying outcomes,
determining what’s acceptable evidence, and designing the activities. Campuses that create
content are asked to apply a CC BY license and follow
accessibility standards. This is a project management
timeline that we’ve shared with the campuses. We’ve received a number
of course maps and syllabi already and we expect a lot more that will come to us in June as we approach the first target date. Some campuses will
develop in three phases, some in two, and some are very close. They may finish in the first phase depending on how far
along they already were before funding was provided. All degree programs should
be complete and delivered by fall of 2020. Degree program development
coincides with asking campuses to submit their
sustainability plans, which we are receiving the final plans now and we’re in the final stages
of reviewing those plans. As part of the effort, we
recommend that campuses code their OER sections in
their student information system so that students can easily locate their sections in the catalog. Again, this is just a
recommendation, not a requirement. One of the requirements,
however, of the campuses is that in order to receive funding, they must track and
submit their OER sections into SUNY’s Institutional
Research Information System, also known as SIRIS. The information organizer
reported in SIRIS is used to determine potential impact. And we use it at the
system level for planning academic and fiscal administration, things like budgeting, legal obligations, and reporting requirements
imposed by New York state and federal agencies. Though not a requirement
and not data we are asking for at the system level, we do encourage campuses
to analyze their data around success and completion
rates for their courses so that they can determine
what kind of impact OER is having at the campus level and they can make decisions based on the outcomes of that data. And the way that we’re supporting campuses is a variety of ways. We hold monthly Zoom
meetings with campuses to discuss and share their progress, their concerns and ideas. We most recently met yesterday. We have instructional designers
at the administration level who review courses and
corresponding course maps. We work closely with one of the reviewers from the ATD OER degree initiative when we have questions or
need guidance system level. SUNY has partnered with Lumen Learning. We’re asking campuses
to share their completed courses in Candela. Many of you are familiar with Candela. It’s Lumen’s flavor of press books. If developing in their
learning management system, we are asking for those zip files. And the plan is to convert all the courses into Candela and the
courses that are considered exemplars will be featured on SUNY’s ready to adopt catalog, which
can be found at And I’ll be sharing that
website again toward the end. Another way we provide support is through the SUNY HelpDesk. They support the shared
services and technologies around online learning
for most of the campuses. And the SUNY HelpDesk in
turn works very closely with the SUNY OER services
team as well as the vendors and partners
such as Lumen Learning. SUNY’s goals for the OER degree initiative are aligned with some
of the standard goals that we’re all familiar with of OER, which are to reduce costs and materials and improve student success. And also to help other SUNY schools to scale OER across their campuses. Offering these degree
pathways coupled with the ready to adopt catalog,
we feel, makes it a little bit easier and more
appealing for some of these others campuses to accomplish this. We’re also excited that
by having a development underway for both
baccalaureate and graduate level OER pathways that
it would be a little more appealing for other
four year institutions to take the initiative to start looking at OER degree program or
adoption and or development. One of the tools we’re
working on is a heat map that identifies which
campuses are doing OER across the system and
which courses they offer and who has the OER degree programs. The goal of this map
is to provide a visual representation of all
the OER across the system for both internal and external interests. For internal purposes,
it quickly allows us at the system level to
see who’s doing what. From an external perspective,
it allows campuses the ability to self serve
for a lot of the questions we see at OER services
such as who in the system is using this resource or
who can I ask about OER in a particular subject area. And we think that the visual
data will be very beneficial. It’s being pulled from our database. We’re planning to provide
access to campus leads to update their own data. So they’ll have the ability
to toggle on and off certain fields such as
whether or not to share their courses, their faculty
names, and things like that. The tool has gone through
an alpha testing phase to identify issues and problems. We are now beta testing
this and we hope to roll it out soon so that
it’s more publicly facing. And again, the website
where we have our ready to adopt catalog where
hopefully this tool will ultimately reside is Una, I’m gonna stop sharing here. – Thank you so much,
Tony, for sharing that. And kind of a big system
approach to supporting the faculty and I know you mentioned that you’ve had funding for
I think three years now to really support the institutions. – Yeah, we’ve been very
fortunate in that the first year we received
$4 million in funding, which was a major shot in the arm. We’ve received funding
for subsequent years. We know eventually that
that funding will go away. So we’re at the point
now where we’re trying to get campuses to start
thinking about sustainability efforts and we’re trying
to lay the groundwork so it makes it a little bit easier and a little more palatable for them. – Great, thank you. All right, James, please tell us about the California Community College Zero Textbook Cost Degree program. – Great, thanks, Una. I’m just so impressed with what’s going on in Minnesota and New York. It’s hard to turn my
attention back to California. I want to share, first of all, I might be the one here talking about the California project, but
the California project has been supported by an
incredible number of people throughout our state. First and foremost,
our really good friends at West Hills College Lemoore, Ron Oxford and Kelsey Smith, who along with College of the Canyons service technical assistance providers also Una Daly and CCCOER
are absolutely essential partners on the entire project. But the real work is
happening at the colleges. So I’m speaking really
at the 10,000 foot level about incredibly detailed
and difficult work that’s going on at local colleges. So I just want to acknowledge
that right off the bat. And let’s see how I can
get these slides running. So in California, we got
a pretty solid structure in place if we think about regulations and legal requirements. First of all, we have ZTC or Z-degree, but we happen to call it
Zero Textbook Cost Degree. We have that codified in our statewide legal code around education. So you can see that here on the screen. Defining a ZTC as a community
college associate degree or, and I’ve added the emphasis, or career technical education certificates. So it doesn’t have to be a degree. It could also be a certificate. Earned entirely by completing
courses that eliminate conventional textbook
costs by using alternative instructional materials and methodologies, including open educational resources. So I’ll hover there for a second. Many of you, I’m sure,
have thought that means that we might use other materials. We might switch to other
instructional materials that are not OER, not openly licensed, and that is indeed true
under the terms of the grant and the definition of
ZTC in our state law. So we do have some instances
in which grantee colleges have chosen to integrate
library databases. They’re paying for the library databases, but it’s zero cost to students. What I like about this
definition is that the focus is not on maybe for better or for worse, something that we discuss
in the OER community, licenses, rather it’s on
the impact on students. It’s about eliminating
the cost for students. So I appreciate that. Another point that this
slide, that I want to make with this slide, is that
logo, that image in the middle of the slide, the
open textbook with the dollar sign in the middle
and a slash through it suggesting zero cost for textbooks. Separate from the ZTC
program, but very helpful, our state legislature
passed a law a few years ago that requires all state universities and community colleges to
disclose in their schedules of classes any section, so a class level, a section level, that
has zero textbook cost. So that’s been happening at the same time that colleges are developing their ZTCs and that’s been very helpful. Also one final point on
the structure we have in place here in California
thanks to our friend Barbara Illowsky and Kayla Green, I’m gonna say six or seven years ago, they succeeded in persuading
our state system office to implement a requirement
that any materials created under a state
grant, a state community college system grant or
contract has to carry a CC BY license. So we have licensing, the
definition, the disclosure to students, all of that is
really set in a structure here in California. So that’s a really
positive place to start. Our ZTC degree initiative
or the scope of our initiative is pretty
broad, although I’m pretty envious of New York right now. Our goal has been to support
colleges in developing certificates and degrees. We currently have 28 colleges
who have received a grant. They’re producing 34
certificates and degrees. Estimated to serve 23,000
students over three years. The estimate from our
grantees and the colleges we’re working is that
they will save students almost $43 million over
a three year period, which is an 858% return on investment from the original $5 million investment that the state made. And I’ll talk more about
that in one second. The grants, and pardon
me for the typo there, the grants end in June of 2019. All of our colleges should
have completed their work. We have the opportunity to
continue technical assistance, and I’ll talk more about what
that is in a few minutes. The support that West
Hills College Lemoore, College of the Canyons,
and CCCOER are offering, we can continue that through
December of this year. The materials here in
our California project are required to be housed
in something called the Vision Resource
Center, which is a online it’s a content management
system called Cornerstone. The product is called Cornerstone, the California Community College branding is Vision Resource Center. Unfortunately, that is authenticated. So it’s only available to
people within the system, alas. However, our friends at
West Hills College Lemoore are working with our
friends in the Cal State chancellor’s office,
which runs the COOL 4 Ed and the MERLOT sites
to find a way to house the content also in those sites so that the content is available to everyone as we want it to be, of course. I will clarify, add a
little bit of information about where the original funding came from here in California. Back in the fall of 2015, an OER hero, a long time friend to
many of us, Hal Plotkin, was able to secure a
meeting at the California governor’s office to
advocate for an investment, a significant investment,
in creating Z-degrees. Our friend Barbara was there. And an amazing range of
leaders through the OER world were there and we
successfully advocated for an investment in Z-degree. So that’s where our funding
came from originally. Moving on, something
else that was fortuitous for us is that a new state chancellor, a system leader was put… A new system leader came
in a couple of years ago with a very, very clear vision and a very clear determination to realign many of the initiatives
and many of the projects in the state around a singular vision focusing on student
outcomes and accountability. And the state system has
enunciated those visions and goals in a multitude of statements. And I’ve listed many of
them here on the screen which in my mind easily aligned
with both OER and Z-degrees. So throughout our project,
we’ve encouraged our grantees to express the value of
their local projects, their Z-degrees, say, in
sociology or mathematics, to express the value of that in a way that our state legislatures,
that our state system will understand as
supporting the overall goals for the system. For example, design with
the student in mind. Well, certainly when we
think about instructional materials, we’re trying
to design a degree program that thinks about the
impact on the student. Another bullet is leading
partnerships across systems. We had the good fortune
to partner the California Community Colleges with the
California State University system on a number of
components of this project. So again, we think, we
hope that this has been well received by the
folks at our state system and in our state legislature
and we hope that our grantees have been able
to express their local value in this way. The next slide shows that, very quick, illegible, I know, from
a distance snapshot of where our grantees are,
where the colleges are that we participate, that we support. What I want to emphasize
here is that they’re all over the state. We have large colleges, small colleges, rural colleges, suburban
colleges, urban colleges. So it’s quite a diverse collection. Like in New York, that was
very impressive to see. The next slide I’ll show
you just as an example the diversity of focus areas. On the one hand on the left
hand side of the screen, you see some of the focus
areas in traditional transfer disciplines, traditional
liberal arts disciplines. On the right hand side of the screen, you see a sampling of our
career education disciplines. Half the projects that the
colleges are undertaking are in the career education areas. So precision agriculture, respiratory care water systems technology,
and a really specialized content, specialized areas. I can speak about the water program, which is housed here at
College of the Canyons. There simply is no
quality content that our faculty know of in that field. So our faculty undertook
to create that content, working very closely with
professionals in the field so that the content, the
instructional materials, reflect the current state
of knowledge in the field and the content has been
really designed alongside industry experts, so
it’s been a real bonus to have this funding
not just to create OER but also to really increase the currency or to ensure the currency
of the content in the field. A couple words about
the technical assistance that West Hills College
Lemoore, College of the Canyons, and CCOER have been able to provide. Our major activities have
revolved around building a community of practice
via summits, conferences, workshops, monthly
webinars that Una and Liz facilitate with us. We’re trying to ensure access to all via training on accessibility. We want to ensure that
people respect the rights of creators through
training on open licensing. We have supported local implementations via on site training going to colleges to work with people there. We’re documenting the impact
via project evaluation. We hope that we’re helping
colleges to sustain their local momentum
through leadership training. And maybe implicitly
we’ve tried to highlight the student voice throughout
all of our activities, whether it’s being sure
to have a student panel at our events or writing
up student success stories as part of our documentation
of the project. We’ve really tried to do that ourselves, speaking for the technical
assistance providers, and tried to model that for our grantees that really this is about the students. We also have an increasing
number of colleges here in California that
are working with students to engage them in the workflow of creating OER and Z-degrees. A side project that I’d love to mention is one that Barbara and the
Michelson 20 Million Minds Foundation has supported that we help with here at College of the
Canyons to develop a network of student OER advocates. So look for us out on
the conference circuit. We’re really proud of
that project and we’ll be talking a lot more about that. And then moving on. One of the final pieces of
our support to our colleges is to help them, to help
the local implementers turn their focus towards sustainability. What does it look like
on campus to keep going? Certainly we’ve tried to
provide tools and ideas and vocabulary to the grant managers, the administrative folks. But we also want to help
colleges embed this kind of work around OER and Z-degrees
into other conversations that are happening on campus so it becomes mainstream, really. And one of the projects is
entitled ZTC Equity Champions. I know we have a couple here
on the call with us today. So that’s great. We’re encouraging them
to or really asking them to be explicit about
linking OER and Z-degrees to other large conversations
on their campuses and in our system around
reducing equity gaps and developing guided pathways. And I know those are
conversations happening across the United States. So we want to make the
point, we want them to make the point that anytime
somebody’s having a conversation about reducing equity
gaps, Z-degrees have to be part of that or OER
has to be part of that. Anytime an institution is talking about redesigning itself around pathways, Z-degrees have to be part of that. So a real concrete piece
of that is an online course that we’ve developed
for those equity champions that explicitly makes those links. Look for that to be released
to the open later this summer. So hopefully you can integrate
that in your own campus. And with that, I’m going to
think about my timing here and turn it back to Una. If you have any questions
about this project, feel free to contact me, but I also want to acknowledge, again, our partners at West
Hills College Lemoore. Ron Oxford is the lead over there along with Kelsey Smith. So turn it back to you, Una. – All right, thanks, James. If you could just stop
sharing there for a minute. I think I will bring it back up. – Let’s see, I’ve gotta
stop share, stop share. There you go. – Great, thank you so much. All righty, so I want to
engage our experts here on a couple of points. And we’re also looking for your questions there in the chat window. So while we’re waiting for that, let me just ask a question here. And so I think these are
three very distinctive OER Z-degree projects and very unique. And they’ve had different starting points and stakeholders who were
driving these programs. And so I wanted to give
each of our speakers a chance to delve into
that particular piece. What was that initial motivation? Who were the stakeholders
who really brought this forward initially? And Lori-Beth, I’d like
to let you talk a little bit about the project
there at Central Lakes. I think you need to unmute yourself, Lori. There we go. – Karen Pikula was our initial champion. And she ran learning
circles for a few years. And we had initiative
grants from the state to begin this work. And it just kind of grew organically. As more and more people became involved in the usefulness. I started because I felt like
this is what I’d always done. I don’t like teaching with textbooks. And in ESL and reading,
I felt there weren’t what I needed to connect with students. So I ended up on one of Karen
Pikula’s learning circles just to convert my courses. Actually get paid to convert my courses, which is what I was always doing. We were offered stipends. And we just continued from there. – Wonderful, so it was
very faculty driven. Because of course, Lori-Beth
and Karen are faculty. – Yep, completely. – From an organic perspective. And I think not that
the other projects that Tony and James have
shared weren’t, of course, very faculty driven, but
they might not have started initially with faculty. It came up from a little
bit different direction. So Tony or James, do you want to, or Lori-Beth, did you have anything else you wanted to share there? – No, thanks. – Tony or James, you
wanna talk a little bit more about that? Tony, yeah, please, go ahead. – Sure, I’ll jump in. So the initial motivation for this was our involvement with the Achieving a Dream OER degree initiative. That was really what
kind of spurred this on at the SUNY level. We saw how much success we
were able to receive from that. And anecdotally, we know
students like the OER. They’re asking their instructors for it for their courses where
it isn’t most prevalent. Student governments have
happily embraced it. So we already had a
fairly strong OER degree foundation started, so we
felt we’d see more success in being able to build upon that success, again, resulting from
the initial ATD effort. – Okay, thank you, Tony. And there was a question
from Rodney in the chat. And he said, did the
system wide initiative start on a specific campus or were they always top down? – No, they actually started
really at the campus level. Again, the five community
colleges within SUNY were part of the initial ATD consortium. It really started course
by course and focused on program by program and
then started to scale into the consortium. So that’s really how it began. – Great, and James, you
might have a different perspective on that. – Well, I would say that the
real work is certainly done on the campuses by the
faculty members and the staff. There’s no question about that. You can’t convert a course. You can’t search for content and you can’t format for accessibility if you’re sitting in a dean’s office or at system level. So there’s no doubt about
the grassroots or campus involvement, faculty
and staff involvement, that’s absolutely essentially. But in my mind, also
there’s no doubt that, let’s say, the top
level, I hate to think of that hierarchically, but the executives, the leaders with whatever title, somebody’s gotta get the money. Somebody’s gotta write the legislation. Somebody’s gotta be in the legislature. Somebody’s gotta write the advocacy piece, write the legislation. So in California, we’ve
just had this amazing confluence of events in
which at the grassroots level a lot of things were bubbling along. There were a lot of institutions, whether it’s Foothill-De Anza
or College of the Canyons or Santa Anta College
or West Hills Lemoore where faculty and middle
managers were moving things along and excited about OER. And then on the other hand, David Wiley, Hal Plotkin, Barbara Illowsky had the vision to say,
we’re gonna get into the governor’s office and
we’re gonna make a big ask. So those kinds of things
just came together, really. It’s hard for me to think about how one programs those things. I see it always in retrospect. Three years ago, I wasn’t
thinking about Z-degrees make perfect sense as guided pathways. I never would have said that. Today it seems as obvious
as oxygen and water to me. How could you do a guided pathway if it were not a Z-degree? It just seems like a
disservice to our students. But I don’t have the ability
to think of that ahead of time. – All right, thanks, James. And thanks to all of our speakers on that unique perspective. And Michael had a question
which I think maybe one or all of you might want to address. He asked about any pushback
from any stakeholders and he mentions faculty
publishers or the bookstore. And I suspect that
there was some pushback, even though often it
was a concerted effort. Anyone like to speak to that? – I can speak just a little bit to that. We have faculty, of course, who are concerned about intellectual property. And so we don’t have fully
cooperative union support, which is, I don’t know, maybe
necessary, I don’t know. I’m kind of new at the
whole big picture thing. And our bookstore was beginning
to lose money, of course. And so we’ve been working. And plus it was quite
complicated to get the still on process of getting
the process of how to buy books for courses that are Z-degrees and what does that mean. It’s not traditional. – Right, yeah, thank you for that. – Una, on the note of pushback,
you mentioned publishers. I’ll tell you how now I see it. I didn’t see it at the time. But how decisively publishers
have really given up the physical textbook
market and how decisively they are planning to
move into what we know is going on with the access
codes and inclusive access. Three years ago when… Three years and two years
ago when the legislation was being considered to
authorize the funding for our program here in California, the only objections or
really suggestions that the publishing lobbyists put
into the conversation were A, we should put into
legislation a requirement that the content comply
with the copyright law. B, we should insist on
bookstores being a part of the conversation with the local campus. And C, we should insist on
material being accessible. That’s a no brainer, all of those, sure. But now I see that their
heart really wasn’t in objecting to it, because
they’ve been planning something else all along, which
we’re starting to see today. – All right, thank you, James, for that. And Tony, any thoughts on pushback, either within or outside your system? – Yeah, well, with regard to James, I agree with what he says. We haven’t really seen
much pushback at this level and at this juncture. Back in the early days of
OER, I think probably many people who you’re probably
very familiar with, there was pushback from faculty. What is this OER thing? It’s not good quality. All of those arguments. We don’t want our colleagues’
courses to be listed as OER in the SIS or in the catalog. We don’t think it’s fair. All of that stuff changed
at some of the campuses. In particular, the one
where I originally came from where the culture just shifted a lot. So I think OER has found
its place on campuses. It’s part of what we do now. The bookstores by and large have been excellent to work with. In particular, my case,
again, coming from the campus perspective we
were a fallback school and the bookstore manager
there was great to work with. Initially the publishers weren’t happy when we made the switch and some faculty have had some interesting
stories about that, but I don’t think we’re
seeing too much of that. And as James has mentioned,
they’ve shifted their business model for the better. – Great, all right, super. So I realize that these
are pretty rich discussions we’re having and so I’m
gonna skip over that question on repositories
because I think you all addressed some of that up front. And I want to ask you this question. It’s a more general
question and each of you may have a unique way of approaching this. But what do you think
is the most important benefit of the OER
Z-degrees for your students? So far we have some anecdotal evidence. I don’t think that there’s any… We don’t have long term
outcomes data at this point on the Z-degrees because they’ve just been deployed fairly recently. But can you, what is
your thought about the most important benefit for
students perhaps beyond cost? And maybe cost is a piece of it. And why is this so important? And what have students said? Can you share some of their thoughts and how they’re addressing the Z-degrees? – I’m happy to start. – Sure, James. – Our friend Amanda Taintor
from Reedley College conducted a survey of
Reedley College students a couple of years ago
asking about the impact of textbook costs and
including the option for open ended responses. And one of the responses
really sticks with me. A student said, the system sucks. The system is rigged. The rich get richer and stay rich. The poor get poorer and stay poor. Poor can’t go to college,
can’t get educated, and so on. And that tears up my heart. I think it tears at
all of us as educators. But it made me realize
that, and I’ve heard this elsewhere and seen anecdotal
evidence of this elsewhere, that many students view
some of us as part of the dang system that is
part of the rich staying rich and the poor staying poor. And that’s not why I signed
up to be an educator. So taking away that
feeling that students have of getting nickeled and
dimed, paying a fee for this, paying a fee for that,
and constantly, constantly thinking about money. Removing that worry,
removing that cynicism to a little extent I hope
will be the primary benefit. Helping our students to
believe that education is indeed a social good as well
as a good for them personally. – Thank you, James. Tony or Lori? – Yeah, I’ll jump in briefly. I agree with what James said. He made some great points. Just from campus anecdotes,
I think one of the greatest benefits to students, again,
it’s tied to cost saving, but the ability for them
to take more courses to graduate sooner. It makes it possible. But the other thing is
not having to deal with systems that are locked
out of their technological challenges and nightmares
that go along with that. Having access to the information day one or possibly even in many cases within SUNY a week before courses begin. And they’re able to keep that information and not pay for it or buy an expensive version of a textbook. So I think there are a
lot of different benefits to students, and obviously the
benefits to faculty as well. And as I digress a little
bit, faculty from the pedagogical perspective,
they have a lot more freedom over the curriculum
and they’re able to shape that content and their lesson plans based on their specific needs. And I think it engages the students more. – Wonderful, and I have
certainly heard that as well from students
that their professors who are teaching with OER
seem to be more engaged. They understand the material better. And Lori, I want to give you a chance too. – I think also all of the courses I teach use open ed resources
and I actually authored the book for the reading
class because I didn’t feel it was bridging a
gap very well between what students know and
what they need to know. In global studies, we’re in very small, rural Minnesota and to
create materials that are not necessarily for a junior
in a four year college in the middle of an urban area. I can connect the objectives
of a global study class to what the students are doing. In addition, we’re also
moving into more open pedagogy and asking students to write units for all of these classes. So I think we have enough
open ed resources courses, so we’re actually moving
in that direction, which is pretty exciting
on a little, small campus. – Yeah, thank you for that, Lori. It’s wonderful to get
that faculty perspective. And I just want to touch
back on what James had said about taking that worry
away from students. And we did a few impact
stories of students this last year who were
involved in ZTC degrees. And one of them had gone
part time for many years and she said the reason
she went part time was because she couldn’t afford the textbooks and that required her to go part time. And when she heard about the Z-degrees, this was just so exciting for her and she is now going
to graduate this spring because she was able
to come back full time after some stop outs. So it really talking
to students has really been an eye opener about
how this takes a lot of the stress out of their
lives and makes it possible for them to move quicker,
as Tony mentioned. – Can I say one other thing, Una? – Yeah, please do. – On talking of benefits,
not a benefit for students necessarily but maybe
just a personal benefit of working on a statewide project. And I’m curious if Tony and Lori-Beth have found this as well. I have met and been able to be inspired by so many leaders in our
California community colleges whom I didn’t now before. You just think, oh my gosh,
there are so many incredible people out there working on this project who started to form this network. And it’s just stunning for
me and gratifying for me to see the strength and
passion of leadership at so many of our colleges. So that’s been really gratifying. – Yeah, we’ve seen the same thing. And one of the primary
focuses of SUNY OER services is creating these communities of practice. And they’ve really taken
on a life of their own and it is exciting and
reassuring and pleasing to see that faculty are so engaged
and they’re passionate about this and they’re very
staunch supporters of it. So we’ve seen that as well. – Great, I’m gonna move
to our last question and keeping an eye here
on the chat as well. So what are your plans
for growing and sustaining your OER ZTC degrees? And I know this is a
long answered question, but in the short term,
and you can give us your longer term vision later if need be. But where do you see this going next? And Lori-Beth, how about
if I start with you? – Sure, Una. On our little campus, we
are hoping to apply for a, well, our very short
term is a campus budget. So our campus is now investing
money into our efforts. And so in the fall and spring next year, our community of practice
with OER, open pedagogy, will be funded by the campus. But we hope to do a
multi-campus initiative in the following year, so hopefully
that’ll be a state initiative. That’s just our little, our efforts at sustainability right now. I don’t know about further than that. – All right, well that’s good that you’re focusing on next year, that’s wonderful. All right, James or Tony,
who would like to go next? – Well, I think we’ve
got maybe three different levels here in California. First of all, I think sort of short term, we’ve encouraged the colleges
to connect OER and ZTC to other things that are
happening at their campus. So a lot of initiatives and funding around reducing equity gaps. A lot of initiative and funding around creating guided pathways. So we’re encouraging
and we hope giving tools to our grantees to make
that case internally that here at this college
we should be part of the guided pathways plan. That’s sort of short term. Medium term, our statewide
faculty senate here in California community
colleges was successful in receiving funding from
the state legislature to support adoption and
creation in some courses of OER content and in
particular to work on homework systems, openly
licensed homework systems, first in math and then
in other STEM fields. So that’s a wonderfully
faculty driven project I think in the medium term. And they’ve got money
for a number of years. In the medium term,
that’s going to help drive awareness and bring more
resources to the ecosystem. And then long term, the
collective we are working on refunding these ZTC projects. So hopefully in a year
or two we will continue what we’ve already started here, but we’ll be doing it
perhaps with a foundation of more content and
greater awareness thanks to our colleagues at the
statewide academic senate. – Tony, would you like
to address that question? – Sure, I think the great
work that’s going on in California and Minnesota
and so many other states, New York, just in SUNY we
talked about the 15 plus OER degree programs we have now. We hope that this current body of work and the ready to adopt
catalog will spur on other SUNY campuses to
look at adopting and creating their own OER degree pathways. We’re not entirely shifting the focus away from degree programs. We think it’s very important
and we want to continue to support those and will
continue to support those. But we’re also funding
some creation projects in order to plug some of
those gaps where there’s a lack of needed courses
and there’s a lot of collaborative effort going on right now. And that’s one of the
things we’re working on, bringing cohorts of campuses together to talk about some of these things and talk about some of the things that are most important to them. That may be the creation
of more degree programs. It could be collaborating
on individual courses. So we’re looking at that
but we’re taking some different approaches
and focusing our efforts in some other areas as well. – Okay, thank you very much, Tony. And we’re just coming up on the hour. I just have a few more slides. And if you have questions out there, please just type them in the chat window and we’ll hit those in just a moment. I just wanted to let
you know if you’re not currently on our community email list and would like to join,
the link is right there. It’s on our website. If you go to and go to the community email link, you can join our conversation
and our ongoing, yeah, conversation, and we
advertise all our webinars and all of our archives are
sent out on this list as well. We have one last spring webinar in June on June 5th on regional
models for OER adoption. And this is really exciting
area that’s developing and we will have the Midwestern higher ed compact joining us and also folks from the Pennsylvania Affordability
Textbook program joining us for that webinar. So we hope to see you on June 5th. And we want to thank you once
again for joining us today. And I haven’t seen any other
questions at this point. But if you have any in
the next few minutes, just go ahead and type
those in the chat window. I think Lori-Beth, James,
and Tony will be here for a few more minute
sand I want to thank them profusely for their time and
expertise this afternoon. Just really a wealth of information on OER and ZTC degrees, the
motivation, the impact, and some of the challenges. All right, thanks, everyone. – Thank you. – [James] Bye guys, great
job, Tony and Lori-Beth. And thank you, Una and Liz. – Yeah, absolutely. – Yeah, thanks, all of you as well. – Likewise. – All right, have a great afternoon. – You too.

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