CAL OER 2021 | Opening Keynote | Hal Plotkin
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. CALOER.org. 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.