Measure to Enhance Educational Resources Advances to Senate

-House Passes Peace's Open Education Resource Bill--Legislation creates path to improve content and reduce textbook costs across State-

Mechanicsville, VA- Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) reports passage of House Bill 1940. A recommendation from the Joint Commission on Technology and Science and the result of two years of study, Peace’s measure requires the State Board for Community Colleges, in consultation with the Virginia Department of Education and the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, to develop a competitive grant pilot program that with private funds will provide grants to community colleges who establish open education resource centers. Open educational resources are educational materials and resources offered freely and openly for anyone to use and under some licenses to re-mix, improve and redistribute. The primary purpose of establishing Open Education Resource Centers is to provide centralized clearinghouses, open education courses, course materials, research, and professional training.

Open educational resources (OER) are an Internet empowered worldwide community effort to create an education commons. The term "open educational resources" was first adopted at UNESCO's 2002 Forum on the Impact of Open Courseware for Higher Education in Developing countries funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Open educational resources include: learning content includes full courses, course materials, content modules, learning objects, collections, and journals. Tools used are software to support the creation, delivery, use and improvement of open learning content including searching and organization of content, content and learning management systems, content development tools, and on-line learning communities.

The pilot centers would be required to: Develop a model for the creation of OER course content and use; Develop two elementary, secondary, or community college courses using open education resources. All courses would be developed to meet SOL requirements; Develop a professional in-service training and development course that introduces faculty, staff, and course developers to OER; Conduct a two-year study that compares OER with non-OER courses and materials with regard to quality and cost, and evaluates the efficacy of the pilot program for statewide replication. The study report would be submitted to the General Assembly no later than July 1, 2011; Provide outreach to school districts and community colleges at regional and state educational and technology conferences to support the establishment of local OER centers.; and Recommend a sustainable funding stream for Open Education Centers.

The legislation now heads to the Senate where Sen. John Watkins (R-Chesterfield) is carrying companion legislation.