Today was a big day for open policy, with important hearings in the Washington State House and Senate on measures requiring open licensing of courseware developed with state funds. State Representative Reuven Carlyle sponsored the House bill (along with a number of other representatives), and testified at both hearings. The Senate companion bill was sponsored by Senators Tom, Hill, and Frockt.
It is notable that even though there was significant opposition to the bills from the universities, everyone supported using and sharing open resources. The concerns centered around *how* to go about implementing an open policy. Today’s conversations are well worth watching for anyone interested in these arguments or considering similar legislation. A quick summary:
EDIT: Cable Green posted a good FAQ on the bills.
- Broad support for quality open textbooks in higher ed. (several universities said they are “all in” for open textbooks)
- Everyone supports the spirit and intention of sharing open educational resources
Concerns raised at hearings:
- Mandatory nature of policy (and how to track compliance)
- Impact on faculty’s ability to publish in peer reviewed articles (and further impact on faculty P&T and retention)
- Copyright vetting and copyright liability burdens on faculty
Tonight I’m thinking of the Ghandi quote David Wiley used almost a year ago: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” I’ve been through the first three stages. The final stage we are in, the winning part requires a lot of listening, especially to faculty who are interested in OER but have different ideas about implementation.
Regardless of what happens to these two bills, one thing is clear: Open Educational Resources are moving into the mainstream. It’s time to expand educational opportunities for all. No more waiting. It’s time to share.