CAL OER 2021 | Opening Keynote | Hal Plotkin

CAL OER 2021 | Opening Keynote | Hal Plotkin

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DISCLAIMER: This is NOT a certified or verbatim  transcript, but rather represents only the   context of the class or meeting, subject to the  inherent limitations of realtime captioning. The   primary focus of realtime captioning is general  communication access, and as such this document   is not suitable, acceptable, nor is it intended  for use in any type of legal proceeding.   >> MICHELLE PILATI: Good morning! I'll go ahead  and get us started. Welcome, everyone. My name  

is Michelle Pilati and I'm one of the California  representatives on CAL OER Organizing Committee.   It is my honor to welcome you to this virtual  event, the first CAL OER. Over the past few years,   representatives of the three segments  of public education in California,   the University of California, the California  State University, and the California Community   Colleges have convened regularly to share  our OER and Zero Textbook Cost efforts and   to identify opportunities for collaboration. This event is one product of these intersegmental  

conversations, and it's our hope it is the  first of what become an annual event where   we celebrate the OER work of our state and  beyond. The organization committee consists of   three segments and we're thrilled all three  are among both our presenters and attendees.   We hope this collaboration continues to grow  across our system in the years to come. Of   course, we're very happy to have many from  outside of California join us as well.  

This event wouldn't have been possible without the  commitment of the CAL OER Organizing Committee,   the contributions of our sponsors, and  support provided by the College of the Canyons   from staff at the California State University,  and staff at the Academic Senate for California   Community Colleges who are the ones  behind the scenes making this happen.   We have participation from staff at the College  of the Canyons. I allowed for a moment for   applause here, but I can't hear you, so  we'll pretend you're applauding (laughs).  

Here's the composition of our  Organizing Committee. You will   see most of us throughout the days ahead.  We look forward to interacting with you all.   Our sponsors, next slide please. We wanted to  formally thank our sponsors which include the   Academic Senate for California Community Colleges,  LibreTexts, the Michelson, OER Commons. Without   these folks, we couldn't have made the next  three days possible. Next slide please.   For those who are active in Twitter, we have a  Twitter handle. We have a hashtag, and we hope you  

will share what you're learning. You can also find  this information on the home page in Pathable.   Next slide please. Our theme is opening  California for learning. We selected this theme   to reflect the events emphasis on both OER and  open pedagogy, but it also is a reference to   the renewed openness to OER that we believe  should be leveraged as students and faculty   realized the benefit of having digital resources  when all instruction became remote instruction.   Today it also represents the hope that  California and the world will soon safely be open   and learning, working, and chatting  remotely will be options to consider   as opposed to a new way of life. A few housekeeping notes. Next slide please.   So, if you suddenly find yourself lost,  we know you made it into Pathable today,   but maybe something will happen along the way.  You can find details on how to use Pathable  

on our website. You'll see a link  to the conference platform. If you're the type   who likes to read instructions, you'll find them  there. If you suddenly lose access, search your   email for ASCCC Sandbox and you will find the  details you need in order to join us again.   Your access to Pathable the platform we are  operating in here now remains for a year,   so the chat that is conducted will be there,  any information that's exchanged there,   resources, and then when there are archives  of presentations, they will be there as well.   So, that's a very important thing we want  to make note of while you're in the familiar   environment, or familiar to most of us. Zoom. We are not using the Zoom chat. We are using  

the Pathable chat. That way, the chat can remain  with us through the year ahead. Next slide please.   That Pathable chat was there for you when you  first came in. A lot of you started to say hello.   That's what we hoped for. We have presenters  hoping to use that chat as well as the poll   feature. The files feature is where people will  have shared resources and where you can see who  

is in a particular session. Next slide please. I wanted to point out to you if your   profile information is incomplete, you can  click on account up there on the right and   put all your information in as well as uploading  an image if you so desire. We look forward to   interacting with you in the days ahead and we  hope to actually meet you in-person in 2022.   Next slide please. I would now like to invite  James to take the podium and introduce our opening  

keynote speaker. Once again, welcome, everyone. >> JAMES GLAPA-GROSSKLAG: Thank you Michelle.   Really appreciate that. Welcome everybody. So  exciting. James Glapa-Grossklag with the College   of the Canyons, and it's my honor to introduce our  first keynote, Mr. Hal Plotkin. There's no person   more fitting to deliver the first keynote for the  first CAL OER conference. Hal, for example -- he's  

the product of California higher education, earned  his associate degree from Foothill college and   bachelor's from San Jose State. Proud Californian  graduate. Long-time public servant. First graduate   elected to the governing board of the district. While on the board, authored the first board   policy in the U.S. that promoted the use of Open  Educational Resources and this was back in 2003.   Later in his career, during  the Obama Administration,   he served as senior policy advisor in the office  of the undersecretary of education which oversees   all federal educations and policies. While there,  he had a hand in crafting the largest ever public   investment in open licensing materials with  the department of labor tech grant program.  

Also, after that, Hal was literally the key  to securing the first state investment in   the California Community College Zero Textbook  Cost degree program. He got us in the doors of   the governor's office in 2015. Since then, been  a senior open policy fellow with open commons   and currently a senior -- in short, I'll say Hal  is really one of the heroes, one of the unsung   heroes of the open educational movement. For  decades, working behind the scenes, fighting,   literally fighting for the resources and the  recognition that the rest of us need to actually   use Open Educational Resources in the classroom.  So, with that, it's a great honor to welcome Hal.   >> HAL PLOTKIN: Thank you so very much.  What a thrill it is for me to be here today  

and to have this honor. This is really one of  the highlights of my life, professionally and   personally. For reasons I'll hopefully explain  and make a little bit more clear as this goes on.   I wanted to let folks know right as we start  this conversation that you won't have to   hear me drown on for the entire 45 minutes. I  promise. I'll keep this fast moving and light   and on point. In a few minutes, I'm going to  invite the organizers of today's conference   to join me in a dialogue for some questions and  some answers to make this session a little bit   more interactive. You'll hear my reflections  at the historic juncture we're at for the Open  

Educational Resources first then we'll become  more interactive this morning before we begin   to move onto the balance of the conference. Before I begin, I like to start   any of my talks on Open Educational Resources by  thanking the people who put me where I am today   and gave me the opportunity to transition  mid-career, as some of you know. I spent   the first 20-25 years of my life as a  technology journalist in Silicon Valley   covering the development, the creation  essentially of the technology industry   here in Silicon Valley for CNBC and the  San Francisco chronical and ink magazine,   one of the founders on public radio where I  wrote and produced many of the early stories   about the possibilities that digital technologies  afforded for our culture, for business, society,   in particular, for education. Before I get into the bulk of my talk,   I want to begin by acknowledging the people who  made this career transition possible for me.   That's Mike Smith and Kathy. They rescued me from  a life in journalism, almost 20 years ago now,   in response to some columns that they saw me  writing about something that I was calling public   domain learning materials. This was before the  phrase "Open Educational Resources Were coined.  

As you know, Open Educational Resources are  defined as teaching and learning resources   that reside in the public domain.  That's actually a definition   of commonly referred to as the Hewlett definition,  and that was one of the first contracts I received   from Mike and Kathy at the very beginnings  of our movement when they asked me to   join them and to consult with other  leaders in the field and to see   if we can come up with a phrase to define  what we meant by Open Educational Resources.   I wish everybody would have the joy in their life  to not only participate in developing a field   that they enjoy and appreciate, but also have an  opportunity to play a role in naming that field.   That's where we started 20 years ago, thanks  to the leadership and foresight of Mike and   Kathy at the Hewlett Foundation who strategically  envisioned an entirely new field that didn't exist   at the time and then put very consciously together  the building blocks that allowed for the evolution   of what's now become this globally important  enormously significant educational movement that's   now experiencing its most substantial milestone  ever, with the recent passage of the $115 million   appropriation to enable ZTCs to be rolled out.  My gratitude goes to the Hewlett Foundation.   Also, to my friend and mentor, Martha, the  Chancellor at the community college district   when I was elected to the board of trustees and  eventually president of that board of trustees.  

Martha then became the under secretary of  education in the Obama administration and   invited me to join her in Washington,  D.C. working under President Obama.   Everything I've accomplished at Foothill De Anza  and the federal level is because of the mentorship   of Martha. None of it would have been possible  without her inspired leadership and mentorship and   I'm forever grateful to her. I'm also grateful,  of course, and need to acknowledge my dear   colleague Dr. Lisa Patriti, the founder where  I'm presently affiliated. Think about that. An  

institute for the study of knowledge management in  education. That would be a cutting-edge idea today   if somebody put together such an institute. Lisa had the foresight to establish this decades   ago at the creation of the digital revolution  as she began to envision what was possible,   the affordances of digital technologies,  and the obstacles that needed to be overcome   to make sure digital education played its most  possible positive successful constructive role.  

I'm so grateful for Lisa's leadership. I met Dr. Patriti on a nature hike at the   very first meet of the Open Educational Resources  conference. Then, Professor David hosted at the   University of Utah some 18 years ago. I think  there were two dozen of us there then who had   expressed an interest in this field. Dr. Patriti  led me on the nature hike and has been a thought   leader in our field ever since and has played  her role most successfully often not by drawing   attention to herself but by lifting up others. Of course, I need to thank Dr. Gary Michelson  

for the stead-fast leadership in, scholarship and  education that led to the progress we've seen both   locally at our local community college district  and now statewide through the ZTC program.   Dr. Michelson has done so much. His medical  interventions have saved people from   health challenges they worst found bearable  otherwise. Generously, turned his attention  

to support the Open Educational  Resources movement with a fabulous team   that's made such a difference. Barbara Lowski. I can't move forward without   mentioning her at the college, now  retired. She was our OER Guinea pig   and produced the first open textbook articulated  for course credit, intersegmentally in California,   and the proof point that an open textbook  could make a difference in the investment   of a few tens of thousands of dollars in its  production and distribution through open stacks   has saved students $5 million by our calculations  a few years ago, undoubtably more since then.  

I mention these individuals before I start the  substance of my remarks because I want to display   any thought, especially those planted by James,  that I'm accomplished anything in this field   by field. I have not. Everything that I've done  is a consequence of having been a part of a   trusted and spectacular network of collaborators  and colleagues who have worked together to lift   each other up and to lift up this work. Everything that I've been able to accomplish   at the local level where we enacted the first  board policy at a community college district   offering support to faculty who were interested  in using or improving Open Educational Resources   or at the federal level where I was involved  in producing the first federal grant program   that required the use of open licenses. All  of this work was the product of a team effort,   none of which would have been possible without  the individuals who I've already mentioned,   and many others of you who are in this room  today and listening to these remarks today.  

I apologize for not mentioning all  of you. I could spend the entire   time that's been allotted to me today singling  each of you out individually for the contributions   you've made and the work you've done, which has  brought us to the marvelous situation we find   ourselves in with the most significant investment  that any government around the world has ever made   in Open Educational Resources to create  full degree programs throughout the   community college system, that rely on Open  Educational Resources and that relieves   the substantial burden with  purchasing learning materials.   If you'll forgive me, this is trying  to give a talk on Zoom is new to me. I  

know that many of you had to adapt your teaching  methodologies during the course of this pandemic.   I'm so much more comfortable being in a room with  all of you. I wish we were in the same location   where we could see each other, touch each  other, and enjoy each other's presence   and feed off each other's energy. As I struggle  through this today, as I'm sure some of you   had to do over this past year, how to connect  and how to convey information and sentiments   through this more sterile means. I also apologize.  Wouldn't you know it? Today is the day the local   tree trimmers have decided to trim the trees,  so I apologize for some of the noise that you   may hear out the window, which is unavoidable. Let me shift quickly. I wanted to talk today   about the relationship between the original  California master plan for education,   what its goals are and were, why it was important,  and what it means as we now 70 years later, some   60 years later rather, embark on this new ZTC  program, which I see as really constituting the   first draft of a faculty-led creation of a digital  master plan for higher education in California,   that will over time, I think, have even more  impact and be more consequential than the original   analog master plan was some 60 years ago. As some of you may remember, the original  

master plan for education in California in the  1960s was in response to the post-World War 2   environment that saw a baby boomer  generation coming of age for whom   inadequate opportunities existed for education,  for self-advancement, and for educational access.   I printed it out just so I can get it for you.  The main goal of the master plan for education,   just to remind us all, was that some form of  higher education ought to be available to all   regardless their economic means and that academic  progress should be limited only by individual   proficiency. That was the original goal. It was in some respects to act as   a buffer between the millions of baby boomers  who were looking for hope and opportunity   and who were excluded by the then more elite and  harder to access systems of higher education,   by constructing the modern higher education system  here that we have in California consisting of the   University of California, the California State  Universities and the community college systems.   With a place set aside for everyone, at  least in theory, who would be able to   obtain a higher educational -- access to higher  education and an educational future and a path   to prosperity and personal improvement that  otherwise would have been closed to them.  

It was in some sense a pressure valve for the  society at the time so that people wouldn't   necessarily be limited to the circumstances  of their birth. The state took a role in   creating a pathway, a set of pathways that people  could access at reasonable expense, and that they   were not facing a dead end, dictated simply by the  circumstances of how they came into this world.   As background, you might be asking yourself, how  did somebody and why did somebody who started   out his career as a technology journalist end  up as an Open Educational Resources activist?   I want to share with you quickly my own evolution,  not because I'm important, but because of what my   story tells about the evolution of technology in  society since the advent of the personal computer   in the late 60s and early 1970s.  The impact it had on education.   I won't go into the details now, but I was  raised in a single-parent family on welfare   and food stamps. My sister and I had to leave  high school to pay the mortgage on our family  

home and make sure we were not evicted. Naturally,  I became very interested at that time in politics,   poverty, what the government was doing to  help poor people, how those systems could be   improved. I start writing about those things while  working in a pizza parlor in a drug store.   But at the time, although I wanted to be a writer,  there wasn't many people interested in paying   someone who hadn't yet graduated college or  even high school at that time to offer their   political opinions on things. But I did have some  writing skills and I gradually built a career as a   journalist. By sheer luck, growing up here in  Palo Alto, I was often called often to write  

about the technology industry as it was getting  started. It was a very exciting time! A lot of us   were idealistic and naive about where the industry  was heading and how it would develop and mature,   and in particular, what impact  it might have on education.   Remember, for example, that the  famous home brew computer club   where Steve Jobs and Apple computer was born,  was part of a new you taking place as the idea,   the very idea that people could get access to  computers as opposed to only the corporations   that had access to computers, but this was  a revolution nary idea. Simply, the gaining   access to computers and digital technology would  have a beneficial effect on society overall.  

In some respect, the work I've done over the  last 15 years has been a form of penance,   trying to support Open Educational Resources, has  been a form of penance for many of the stories   I wrote in the first 15 years of my career. When  looking back at them now, I realize I was far too   gullible in accepting the idea that computers  by themselves and the digital technologies by   themselves would lead to a more just and socially  equitable world, but that was what we grew up with   and experienced at that time. People think about Apple computers,   for example, as being the first computer company,  and it wasn't. There were others. The one that was  

most well-known and that really captured my  attention as a young person growing up in Palo   Alto was called the people's computer company.  I dug out the first newsletter of the people's   computer company, founded in 1972. It produced  a newsletter and also facilitated timesharing   so folks could begin to access computers that  had been available to corporations before.   The first sentence in the first newsletter  of the people's computer company   stated its purpose. It said computers are mostly  used against people, instead of for people. Used   to control people, instead of to free them.  It's time we change all of that. We need a  

people's computer company. That was in 1972. One of the things that grew out of that, for   example, one of the first things I was involved  with as a young writer, was the Midpeninsula Free   University, MPFU, where using the timeshare  computers through the people's computer company,   we put a list together of volunteer instructors  and had college-level courses being offered for   free here in the Palo Alto area. The first idea  we had for computers and digital technologies   was using them to create a free university. Of course, there were questions at the time about   what's the business model? How will you support  a free university with these computer things?   As I recall, we opened up a coffee shop,  cooperatively run coffee shop. The idea was it   would pay the cost of renting the time necessary  to operate the Midpeninsula Free University.  

Apple computer, thought as the first computer  company, was founded four years later   on April Fools Day in 1976. The whole new you  of personal computers originally was all about   the way that this new technology  naturally created affordances,   which would make it a democratizing force  in education. That's what drew me to write   about it and I spent the first 15 years  of my career with these upstart companies.  

I wrote the first nationally published story  about Cisco, yahoo, and dozens of others   I helped introduce through my journalism  and later through my radio broadcasting.   We reporters are famous for being cynics a  bit. We hear a lot of stories we don't report,   you know? When you hear a lot of stories, you  can sometimes get a somewhat jaundice view of   the humanity. I developed a jaundice  view of the technology I was covering.   As the industry matured, I came to see it was  not automatically the beneficial force that we   assumed it would naturally be, as a  result of how it was organized.   In fact, and this may sound a bit harsh to some of  you. I apologize, but I think I can defend these   remarks. I've been asked to talk today, so I'll  give it to you straight. In fact, what I began  

to observe as a reporter covering all of these  companies was an industry that kind of merged the   business practices of dishonest car mechanics  with the marketing practices of drug pushers.   Let me explain what I mean. I know  that's harsh, but back when the TV   show 60 minutes was getting started -- I'm  old enough to remember it -- made its name   on covering dishonest car mechanics and these  car mechanics, of course, would lie to people   about what work their cars needed. They would  sell people parts the car didn't have. They'd   do all of this work under the hood. Because people  didn't understand the mechanics of how their cars   worked, it was easy for dishonest car mechanics  to rip people off, by camouflaging how the engine   worked or lying about how the engine worked. When I looked at the way the technology  

industry was evolving -- oh, the reason I  compare it to drug pushers is, of course,   the other thing you hear about when you go to  these presentations as a reporter was that the   goal of a startup technology industry was to have  a first mover advantage. Obtain vendor lock-in   and create switching costs. This is all language  that would be familiar to a drug dealer, you know?   To sell them a product they can't stop using,  that they can't escape using, to lock them in!   As far as the keeping the hood of the car  closed, lying about what's under the hood,   that was a standard part of the computer  industry. People were always promising things   they couldn't deliver, selling products  that didn't work. You saw in 1970,  

if you sold a tube of toothpaste and suddenly  after two squeezes the tube stopped working,   the government would go and sanction the  toothpaste seller and put them out of business,   but the technology industry could sell products  that stopped working right after you bought them,   or that wouldn't load the next software that  was made available. You had to throw the whole   thing out. Because they were on the cusp of some  new industry, they were granted allowances and   exceptions for the failures of technology products  that didn't exist in all other industries,   just because we were so excited about what these  new technologies meant and what they allowed.  

So, I began to see the industry that I was  lionizing as a -- but for me, the complete   enticement to switch careers and to move into a  career of advocating Open Educational Resources   and the more responsible uses of technology came  when I saw what happened when those business   models started to get imposed on education. I'll  tell you two quick stories about that. The first   is that... at one point, I was taken out for lunch  by a textbook publisher, John Wylie (phonetic).   They were looking to hire and augment  their professional staff with people who   could sell their new digital technologies  to the community colleges in particular.  

Of course, I was still this person who was  expecting these technologies were going to   democratize education, but the John  Wylie recruiter sat across the table   and explained to me how exciting the textbook  publishing firm was by the advent of digital   technologies because it meant they were going  to have soaring profits. It meant, he said,   that we'll be able to charge -- make sure  every student pays full price every time.   Excitedly, he told me how they  were going to be able to wipe out   the used textbook publishing industry and  meter the use of educational resources   so that they could get full compensation for every  time -- they were even experimenting at the time   with a system that would charge students based on  how long they spent reading their online texts,   a per-minute charge. They said this would  be a boost for education and make students  

more focused if they knew every moment  they were looking at their textbook was   costing them money. They would study harder. I came away from that and other experiences   realizing my early part of my career as  a journalist, I had been terribly naive   and assuming that there was something inherent  in digital technologies that would democratize   and make more free access to high-quality  education. Exactly the opposite was true. Really,   digital technologies are just like any other  tool. They're just like a hammer. A hammer  

doesn't decide whether it's going to build  a house or it's going to knock down a house.   The hammer is just a dumb tool. The people  who decide are the people who use the hammer,   and they decide whether it's going to  build something destructive or be a force.   What matters is not the technology itself. There's  nothing inherent in digital technologies that   determines that it will be used to increase  opportunities or close equity gaps. In fact,   if we turn over the architecture of the markets  for how digital technologies are used in education   to the providers of those technologies,  then those uses will primarily benefit   the providers of those technologies,  not the users. That's why this week's  

event is so significant and so important for  all of us, for California and the world moving   forward. For me, it's the culmination  of more than 15 years worth of work.   This is the first time in all of human history  when an educational system has been given funding   and authorization to use the world's most powerful  technologies, these new digital technologies that   have been developed in my lifetime, the first  time governmental organizations have put the   power of those technologies and resources in  the hands of a system and asked that system   to apply those technologies to increasing  the quality and reach of higher education.   In other words, here we are in 2021. We are at  the beginning. We have finally, 60 years after the   master plan for higher education, and 50 years  after the advent of the personal computer   revolution and the digital revolution, we have  finally reached the beginning, the beginning, of   an effort to use these technologies of  properly and adequately funded effort to   use these technologies to increase the quality  and reach of higher education in California.   That's what you will be doing, distinguished  faculty members and administrative leaders part of   this conference and part of the ZTC work here in  California going forward. You will be the builders  

of the first draft, the creators of the  first draft, of what will eventually become   through your work the digital master plan for how  higher education can be expanded so that we can,   in the words of the original master plan for  higher education, ensure that some form of higher   education ought to be available to all regardless  of their economic means and the academic progress   be limited only by individual proficiency. Let me add one final note before I turn this   over to our panel of organizers for the  interactive part of this conversation.   That is to point out to you that up until fairly  recently, up until 2011 -- this may shock you.  

The idea that students would be required to  pay to buy a password for learning materials   that would expire -- that was a crime in the  State of California. It was legally defined as   a misdemeanor, sanctionable. People would be fined  and could even go to prison if they imposed a fee   on students to attend and successfully complete  a public higher education class in California.   That led to our community college district  inquiring when some of these first fee-based   time-expiring resources were made available,  whether they would qualify and whether they   were legal. We received a formal ruling from the  state Chancellor s Office that indicated that  

learning materials that charged a time-expiring  fee were illegal in California! Only the State   legislator has the right to set fees. Fees were  defined as something -- no lasting tangible value.   You could require a student to buy a  book, but at least they got the book.   If you require them to pay a fee, the  student kept nothing. That was illegal.   The community college district and I personally  asked the Chancellor s Office to enforce that   law. Instead, the Chancellor s Office convened a  task force dominated by textbook publishers and   decided to remove the definition of the word fee.  California has lost track, has no idea right now,   how much it cost a student to attend a community  college because things that were formally defined   as fees were redefined and then not tracked. The alternative to that, you, the ZTC program.  

This is the decision, the decision that Governor  Newsom made, to make sure students can access   learning materials affordably in ways that don't  require them to seek or use scholarship funds.   By so doing, it enables our students here in  California to consider enrolling in programs   where they know there will be no surprises.  That's the last point I would like to make.   The role you will play in creating what I  call -- it's not just a ZTC program that   you're working on. It's a dignity preservation  machine. That's what's really happening here.   Students often -- and I know. I was a poor student  myself. Students often hesitate to sign up for   academic programs that entail costs they can't  anticipate and know they can't afford. Many people   think college, even community colleges, is not for  them because they realize at some point, if not   this semester, then the next semester, they'll be  asked to pay for a textbook they can't afford.  

When we can promise the student at the beginning  that all of those expenses will be covered   and are included, then we invite representation  from groups and individuals who might have been   fearing that if they signed up for a course  of study, they would face certain humiliation.   Instead, you hang out a green "safe  to proceed sign" with ZTC programs   that allow students to see a place for  themselves regardless of their economic   means and consistent with the goals of the  California master plan for higher education.   It's not just a ZTC program that you're creating.  It's a human dignity preservation machine and   I thank you for being sensitive. If you  can help somebody without humiliating them,  

you've really done more than if you  take the road that insists people must   subject themselves to some degree of humiliation  to get the services and the support they need.   Let me stop there. I have much more to say.  You wind me up about these topics and I can   go on forever, but I'm excited to be with you.  I'm so excited that we've reached this moment   where we're finally now, after decades of work,  at the beginning of seeing these tools developed   and implemented in one of our statewide systems. So delighted, by the quality and caliber of the   faculty leaders who find themselves drawn  to this task. Let me turn now, if I can,   to Theresa Dykes, who is a California State  University operations and fiscal administrator.  

I think Theresa has a question or comment. >> THERESA DYKES: Yes. Hi. First, thank you   for joining us today, Hal. It's always a pleasure  to hear you speak and always inspiring to hear you   speak. The question I have today, Open Educational  Resources are often portrayed as a substitute for  

commercial textbooks and commercial online  learning materials and resources. Can OER be   more than just a substitute for those materials? >> HAL PLOTKIN: Yes, Theresa. Thank you. That's   a very important topic. You know, when we  started out promoting Open Educational Resources,  

my goal at the time was simply to save student's  money. It was obvious we could present them with   something for free that they had to spend  limited funds on. But since then, we have   lots of data and lots of experience that tells us  that when you offer Open Educational Resources,   you're creating a resource that can be adapted  to become more culturally-sensitive, that can   reflect the lives and experiences of the students  in ways that a standard off-the-shelf textbook   doesn't. That can also enable collaborations,  educational and discovery collaborations, across  

institutions and even across borders. You can imagine using Open Educational   Resources, for example, how the California  Community College system could create   courses and exercises in scientific discovery  related to homelessness or earthquake safety or   climate change that would involve thousands,  hundreds of thousands, potentially millions of   students, none of which would be possible in a  proprietary environment where everybody had to   pony-up for a textbook or paid password. When we  make learning materials freely available on the   net and when we invite and allow collaborations  between instructors and students, all kinds of   things can emerge that we couldn't even dream up  in the more old-fashioned proprietary format.  

I think Shelli on the faculty at Cal State  Fullerton, another organizer of today's meeting,   has a question or comment. >> SHELLI WYNANTS: Thank you, Hal,   thank you for sharing your inspirational story.  I'd love to hear your thoughts on the professional   incentives for faculty to become involved  in using and creating and improving OER.   >> HAL PLOTKIN: Well, you know, I think in my  experience, what's great is that right now we're   going to have some money for the first time. We've  seen thousands of faculty around the world though   around participate in the opportunities to create  and use and customize OER. If a piece of OER you  

create ends up being used by thousands or hundreds  or millions of people around the world and your   name is associated with it, that's a marvelous  opportunity for professional advancement!   I can only speak in my own instance. I think it's  very unlikely I ever would have been invited to be   a senior advisor in the Obama Administration  if all of the things that I'd ever written   and argued on in these areas had been locked in  my filing cabinet and if I was requiring people to   pay me $8 for things I openly licensed, all 600 of  my publications and made them freely available on   the net. What do you know? I'm getting invitations  to speak in South Africa, to serve in the Obama   Administration. I thought something important  and valuable to say. Apparently, people agreed,   and it led to the professional opportunities  beyond which I could have never dreamed   back when I had stepped away to high school  to clean toilets to work in the drug store.   Finally, most of the people I've met who are  instructors, college professors, they didn't do   it to become rich. They did it because education  is in their hearts, because they want to shape   and mold the next generation and give them  opportunities to transform their own personal   prospects and to make this a better world. To  know you can create something that tomorrow could  

be used in a classroom in cape town, which  I saw myself when I visited South Africa,   and I saw resources from the California Community  College district being used in poor schools   in South Africa and in other countries that I  visited on behalf of the Obama Administration.   If you want to touch the hearts of  students, if you want to change the world,   and if you want to get recognition as a leader  and a scholar in your field, there's no other   place that's better to be than to be part  of the Open Educational Resources movement.   James? I'll turn back to you. I think  next comment or question is yours.  

>> JAMES GLAPA-GROSSKLAG: Thank you, Hal. I  want to get a bumper sticker with your phrase,   the publishers engage in dishonest practices of  car mechanics with the marketing tactics of drug   pushers. I love that. You say what many of us feel  but we don't articulate it that way, so thank you.   I'd ask you to elaborate on something  you mentioned in your response to the   first question about using OER to develop  culturally-responsive teaching practices.   So many of us are thinking about diversity,  equity, and inclusion in our classrooms,   and even making our instructional materials  anti-racist. How can OER or ZTC programs play   a role in this and help us be better at that? >> HAL PLOTKIN: James, that is critical.  

Obviously, we have a pressing need  in this country, an unaddressed need   to use our educational system to the maximum  extent possible to engage in anti-racism work.   Some of the most exciting opportunities that  I've seen where that's being done is when   students themselves are involved in the creation  and re-creation of learning materials to make them   more culturally-relevant and to reflect the lived  experiences of the students who we seek to serve.   I'm an old White guy. I don't know what I don't  know. I didn't live through what I didn't live   through. But by inviting students to participate  in the creation and re-creation and augmentation  

of learning resources, we can adapt those  learning resources so that they better serve   more diverse groups of learners moving forward.  That's one of the real great opportunities,   is to have a faculty mediated process that allows  learning materials to evolve in ways that address   specific experiences and instances of racism and  sexism that students and others have endured,   that may not be included in the  original versions of texts.   I see that when you have opportunities to include  people in the creation of faculty-mediated   learning experiences, you can make those learning  experiences and the history that they describe   more accurate and more relevant to those of us  who are concerned with addressing not only the   explicit, but often implicit, biases we find  in conventionally-produced learning resources.  

Delmar Larsen of course is a professor at  the University of California and a leader of   one of the sponsors today. Delmar, thank you  for your leadership and for being here today.   I know you also have a question. >> DELMAR LARSEN: Yes, Hal. I'd like   to second James' comments in regards to being able  to at least comfortably make a connection between   drug dealing and textbook publishing (laughs).  Which really makes me happy. Anyways, OER focuses   on free resources. It's clear the interplay of OER  and finances -- critical aspects of success. Can  

you comment on the way to link -- OER projects. >> HAL PLOTKIN: Thank you. That's one of the   things you'll hear more from us about. We just got  a grant from the Michelson foundation to engage in   a gaps analysis that focuses on initially  the Bay Area community college districts   to see if we can help discover more  and better ways to illuminate gaps   that could be filled with Open Educational  Resources to respond in a more dynamic way   to the changing labor market needs. I worked as an official at the federal level  

with the department of labor and the Department  of Education. There's a lot of noise in the data   about what academic programs lead most  securely to putting students on high-wage,   high-growth industries. Very often, the data can  tell us what was in demand two years ago, but not   what's going to be in demand a year from now, what  specific skills computer languages, abilities,   portfolios would position  students for the most success.   We're going to be doing work on that as we seek to  support the Bay Area Colleges that are involved in   the ZTC program. I invite the leaders of the Bay  Area Colleges to be open to receiving our request   for collaboration on that issue. We're going to  see if we can find and develop, as we build out   the ZTC program here in California under the  leadership of Dr. Patriti how we can make a  

real time contribution to connecting up local  employers with our community college system to   make sure that the curriculum that's produced for  these ZTC degrees is as current as it possibly   can be, in closing those opportunity gaps,  particularly for under-represented students.   Circling back to Michelle who got all of this  started for us. I wanted very much to include   Shelli and Theresa, Delmar, James, Michelle in  the opening session, including so that all of   the participants here today can understand that  these are the organizers of today's conference   and leaders of the OER effort statewide,  and they're people you can interact with   as you move forward to find opportunities to  make a contribution to the significant efforts   that are just now getting underway. Michelle? >> MICHELLE PILATI: Thanks, Hal. I'm trying to  

figure out what to do with that phrase. Dignity  preservation machine. I want that on a T-shirt   or something. That's a great phrase. I'm going to  cheat and use a question that somebody provided   in the chat because I think it's a great  question. If anyone has other questions,   please put them in the chat. Clearly, there have been advances   in the -- there are still barriers  to frame themselves from the drug of   publisher textbooks and materials. Is the ship to  OER something you see as gradual and evolutionary,   or is there still some kind of breakthrough  technology you would envision which could   drastically increase faculty adoption of OER? >> HAL PLOTKIN: I think we're going to continue   to see all kinds of technological  innovations in the creation, deliver,   and collaborative improvement of OER. But  the single-most successful way to overcome  

the barrier that college faculty sometimes  encounter as they think about switching from   traditional ways that they used to deliver  things, relying to commercial learning resources,   to relying to Open Educational Resources that  they themselves may have selected or cultivated,   is what happens in the classroom to the faculty  member when they begin to use those resources.   Linda at Stanford, brilliant education  professor known to many of you,   an advisor to the Obama Administration and  also to the Biden Administration more recently,   did a very important presentation for  Obama Administration senior officials   early on in our term where they looked at  the highest performing school districts   in the exams. Five school  districts from around the world.   Singapore was one, a province in Canada,  some place in Finland. To see if she could  

determine what it was those very diverse  geographically dispersed -- superior academic   performance on these international exams. One of the things she discovered jumped out at me.   In none of those hyper forming school districts  were teachers using commercially-produced   learning resources that some publisher  dropped on their head from a helicopter.   Instead, in all five highest performing  school systems, the faculty were given time   and resources to create their own learning  resource, their own learning materials   they used in their classes. It was almost as  if the students understood this by osmosis.  

It built more trust, that the teachers were  more excited about what they were teaching. The   students knew that the teachers had created  that learning experience just for them,   and there was some kind of magic that happened in  the classrooms where the teachers were not using   commercially-learning materials where  they were staying a chapter ahead   in a pedagogy someone else imposed on  them. Instead, it's the difference between   going into a restaurant and having somebody  warm up a TV dinner that somebody else produced   or going into a restaurant where they prepare  freshly-cooked and freshly-prepared food.  

You know which will be better. It's true  for the learning experience as well.   Once we can get instructors over the hump of  trying Open Educational Resources as a modality   the first time -- I've never seen anyone go back.  I've never seen anybody go down that path and   turn around and say, you know, I'd rather use the  commercial textbook. That's not how it works. What  

works is they get fired up, they use the text,  they find out how the students respond to it,   it builds trust between the instructors and the  learners. Then they wish to do more and more.   I wanted to thank Shelli and Theresa and Delmar  and James and Michelle for organizing today's   meeting. I wanted to share a final closing  thought with you before you move onto the   conference that's in front of you. I've had a wonderful career in life.  

I had an exciting career in journalism and  then I switched over into higher education   policy advocacy, had an opportunity to serve  in the Obama Administration -- to represent   President Obama, 17 different countries.  I had a chance to serve as President of   the Board of the community college that I  myself went. I've been blessed so deeply.   I often encounter people though who tell me that  they feel cheated by life, that they felt cheated   by life. I've heard this all too often from  faculty members in our public education system,   who sometimes remind me of that character that  Anthony Quinn played, heavy weight. I don't know   if any of you saw it in the 60s. Worth looking  it up on Netflix. He could have been a contender.  

He never had a chance. I met many people in  academia who told me they feel their careers   and their lives -- they were somehow cheated and  never -- even though they had a capacity to make   a bigger contribution to the world or society,  that their talents and abilities went unrecognized   because they were never in the right place  at the right time. It was just bad luck.   Well, if you remember anything from my talk  today, what I hope you will remember is   that you are the first generation of faculty  leaders in the history of the world who have   been given the permission and the resources to  use the world's most powerful technologies ever   invented to increase the quality and reach of  higher education for all of our fellow citizens.   That opportunity is yours and yours alone. If you remember anything from this talk,   please remember this. Remember that you have an  opportunity now in your hands to make history,   to change history. This is the right time. You are  in the right places, and you are the right people.  

Thank you so very much for the high  honor of being able to address you today   and for the work you're doing to serve the  students that we all care about so much.   It's an honor to have been here  with you today, and I'll turn the   floor back over to James Glapa-Grossklag. >> JAMES GLAPA-GROSSKLAG: Thank you so much,   Hal. You're getting a -- we can't hear the  applause, but you're getting a lot of love in   the chat. Thank you. You're definitely, definitely  -- your remarks are moving people. Thank you for  

being here everybody. The next session, the first  of our breakout rounds, starts at the top of the   hour. 11:00 a.m. Pacific time. In the meantime, please check out   in Pathable up at the top you'll see the  navigation buttons. Check out resources.   Many of us here have contributed resources there  and our sponsors have contributed resources there   about Open Educational Resources. There's chats  about how can I get involved? Check out those  

resources and certainly make connections  here throughout the rest of the week.   With that, we'll say thank you so  much. I think I'll turn it over to   our moderator here, Megan, who will end  the recording. I think end the session.

2021-08-16 12:26

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