Open educational resources (OER) have long been touted as “the next big thing” in higher education, but the drawn-out hype has led many educators and administrators to wonder if it would ever live up to its expectations. Those days are over.

Until recently, the use of OER—digital educational materials that are both more easily adaptable by instructors and more affordable than traditional textbooks—was being led by early-adopter professors driven by a desire to improve teaching and an interest in new technology. But it never seemed to gain broader adoption beyond that group of pioneers. To bring OER to more students and instructors, whole institutions needed to jump on board and plan for the widespread implementation.

That happened in 2017. This year, the list of colleges with “open learning initiatives” of various kinds has boomed, and much of that has been part of an essential drive to modernize their classrooms and push the cost of education down. For example, both the City and State University of New York systems are investing millions in OER External link opens in new window or tab

Now that OER has the backing of college administrations and state legislatures, it’s about to face a new spate of challenges in 2018. As its users move beyond the early adopters and into the mainstream, OER will be competing much more directly with traditional textbook publishing.

Source: EdSurgeExternal link opens in new window or tab

California has 114 community colleges across the state, but Gov. Jerry Brown wants one more, and he wants it completely online. Inside Higher Ed reports External link opens in new window or tab that the purpose of the college would be to reach unemployed and underemployed adults who California Community College officials say the system isn’t reaching at its brick-and-mortar institutions.

“Part of this is the governor’s desire to reach more students in California through a technology platform,” Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of the California Community College system, told IHE. “The 114 campuses are designed in a traditional manner, so we’re reaching a traditional population that is students coming out of high schools.”

California already offers an HYPER LINK TEXT HERE External link opens in new window or tab, through which students can take online courses that might be full on their campus.

Source: EdSurge External link opens in new window or tab

2017 was a lively year for libraries.

National issues and trends impacted our nation’s libraries, and librarians rose to the challenge, promoting media literacy, protecting the freedom to read, advocating for equity, diversity and inclusion and responding to the needs of their patrons.

At the beginning of the year, librarians were quite literally on the front lines, many of them participating in the Women’s March on Washington in Atlanta in January.

Throughout the year, they continued to advocate, with more than 500 librarians participating in National Legislative Day on May 1-2 in Washington, D.C. It was a time when the proposed federal budget threatened to wipe out the Institute of Museum and Library Services, an important source of funding for library programs.

Not only were libraries on the front lines addressing social concerns, but they were also on the cutting edge of exciting technological trends that will help our country’s youth gain the skills to help them survive in the 21st Century.

In October, the ALA announced more than $500,000 in grants for 28 libraries in 21 states plus the District of Columbia to design and implement coding programs for young people. The grants are part of ALA’s ongoing Libraries Ready to Code initiative sponsored by Google to promote computer science (CS) and computational thinking among youth.

“The Libraries Ready to Code grants are a landmark investment in America’s young people and in our future,” said ALA President Jim Neal. “As centers of innovation in every corner of the country, libraries are the place for youth – especially those underrepresented in tech jobs – to get the CS skills they need to succeed in the information age.

These new resources will help cultivate problem-solving skills, in addition to coding, that are at the heart of libraries’ mission to foster critical thinking.”

Source: ilovelibraries External link opens in new window or tab

The California Workforce Development Board (State Board) is seeking public comments on modifications to California’s Unified Strategic Workforce Development Plan (State Plan). As required under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), after the first two-year period of the State Plan’s implementation, the State Board must modify the plan to reflect changes in labor market and economic conditions, and any other factors affecting the implementation of the plan.

The four-year State Plan represents agreement among the core partners identified in the WIOA and serves as the framework for the development of public policy, fiscal investment, and operation of all state labor exchange, workforce education, and training programs. There are several modifications to the State Plan. For more details, please access the PDF here:

If you have any questions, please contact Bethany Renfree at the State Board by e-mail at or by phone at 916-657-1446.