31 Oct 2011 > Today the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) is launching The Open Course Library, a resource of open course materials from the top courses in the system, set to save nearly half a million students (and taxpayers who support many of them in financial aid) nearly a thousand dollars each every year.
But it's not just about savings--it's also about improving and customizing resources for better quality learning resources. The goals of The Open Course Library are to improve course completion rates and provide new resources for faculty. They approached openness in education based on four benefits:
- Efficiency: The ability to build on existing investments
- Affordability: Because students often can't afford textbooks
- Quality: We tend to do our best work when we know our peers can see it
- Self-interested: The side effect of increased faculty exposure, reputation, and opportunities
"It's an effort to take the highest enrolling and most critical 81 courses, and create openly licensed content for every course," said Tom Caswell, Open Education Policy Associate, SBCTC. Washington State set aside $750,000 for the initiative, which receives matching support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. About 90 community and technical college faculty are now involved across the state. The open courses have already been adopted by the creating faculty, who in one year who will have realized savings of $1.2 million--nearly enough to cover the cost of the entire first phase.