- A new pilot will bring open educational resources (OER) to 15 Virginia community colleges, cutting textbook costs for students in select programs to zero.
- Campus Technology reports the initiative will be modeled after a successful "Z-Degree Program" at the state’s Tidewater Community College, where a “zero textbook cost” degree in business has used openly licensed materials since 2013.
- The pilot is expected to save 50,000 students more than $5 million in the first year, converting courses where open materials are an option to the no-cost model, according to the article.
Open educational resources resist strict copyright, opting instead for greater freedom of use of intellectual property. The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation has taken the lead in funding open education initiatives through its many grant programs. According to Campus Technology, the Virginia pilot will get a boost from $200,000 in funding from the foundation. Proponents of OER argue it has the potential to vastly improve global education, making high-quality materials available to everyone, everywhere.