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Open Textbook Groups Join Forces

The colleges in 15 states and one Canadian province that make up the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER) will now be able to tap into the collection of open textbook resources compiled by the international group of institutions that make up the OpenCourseWare Consortium (OCW Consortium) and vice versa in a new partnership. The community college consortium, which represents 200 schools, has become an associate consortia member of OCW Consortium, and its advisory board will effectively act as a voice for the two-year colleges within the global consortium's organization.

The goal of both groups is to raise awareness of open educational resources, including textbooks, video curriculum, and other materials.

The community college organization was established at California's Foothill-De Anza Community College District in July 2007 "to identify, create, and repurpose existing open educational resources as open textbooks and make them available for use by community college students and faculty." That work was done under the guidance of then Chancellor Martha Kanter, who is now the under secretary of the United States Department of Education.

"Open educational resources and open courseware can be leveraged to enhance the quality and delivery of courses, increase access for learners, and reduce the essential cost of curriculum materials," said Judy Baker, Foothill-De Anza's dean of technology and innovation. "With the current global economic crisis, the need to minimize financial barriers to education has become increasingly salient." and one of the founders of CCCOER. "Both CCCOER and the OCW Consortium serve to increase access to education for students with limited means, which makes this partnership powerful. When educators pool their expertise to foster a culture of shared knowledge, everyone benefits."

Among the 22 institutional members of the OCW Consortium are Arizona State University, Tufts University in Massachusetts, and the University of Michigan. Members of the CCCOER include Maricopa County Community College District in Arizona, the Florida Distance Learning Consortium, and Minnesota State Colleges & Universities.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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