- University of Hawaii faculty members will continue to have freedom in their choice of academic materials, as state lawmakers will consider an amended bill that encourages the use of open educational resources (OER) instead of mandating them, according to Inside Higher Ed.
- The bill was originally proposed as a cost-saving measure for students, and would have prohibited faculty members from using any materials that could not be accessed online beginning in 2020. The previous version of the bill, which faculty members and state system officials opposed, also did not consider copyright infringement hazards for open-source learning materials.
- The new bill recommends a system-wide task force to identify OER that can be used across most campuses for general education courses, and pilot program that will offer funding for professors who elect to adopt open-source materials for their classes.
Faculty members at Hawaii state institutions took a bold step in opposing OER mandates; the fees for open-source copyrighting and distribution are cumbersome for publishers and costly for institutions. Additionally, they require resources to help train faculty on how to select, manage and distribute open-source texts, and how to adapt the curriculum to OER materials that are cleared for widespread distribution.
Faculty members are increasingly supportive of broadening open-source information access. Stanford University’s John Willinsky has for decades advocated for open-source research and scholarly exposition to be available to the general public as the next chapter in the evolution of learning. But for college leaders and business auxiliary officers, the bottom line of revenue versus expenditures may be the chapter and verse that matters.
And with it, they should also consider how innovation in cost-saving and publishing could impact faculty recruitment and engagement, the business of research publishing and prospects for revenue — all elements that are important to maintaining a robust business operation in the academic enterprise.