Short History of OER and Community Colleges

1st October 200911:08 am

The Berkman Center at Harvard recently posted a nice write up on the early history of Open Education Resources and community colleges. While flattered, the review largely omits the critical role played by many other individuals who gave OER the running start at our community colleges that helped to successfully lift it into national prominence. They include former community college chancellor (and now Under Secretary of Education) Martha Kanter, who conceived and developed the Community College Consortium for Open Education Resources (CCCOER), Foothill College President Judy Miner, who played a critical role in developing the Foothill-De Anza Community College District board policy in support of OER, Dr. Judy Baker, who led the CCCOER to its current success, and De Anza Professor of Statistics Barbara Illowsky, who published the first widely used open textbook designed for community college students. A veritable symphony of talent, in which I am proud to have played my small part. Here is an excerpt:

“Hal Plotkin says he himself deserves some of the blame for the dependency on cost as the key argument. In 1998, when he first started advocating for innovative uses of digital technology in higher education, “cost” was the only demonstrable argument. Only later did he observe how the development of what he originally called “public domain learning materials” was “also about improving the quality of teaching and learning through resource-sharing, collaboration and the more rapid transfer of educational best practices”.

It was this realization that led him to campaign for Trustee position on the Board of Foothill-De Anza Community College District (FDHA) in 2003. During the first year of his trusteeship, he drafted and campaigned again, within FDHA, to enact the first college-wide policy offering institutional support to faculty pursuing development or adoption of OER.”

You can read the rest here.