Open educational resources (OER) have gained popularity over the past decade to provide students with affordable course materials that are easily customizable to meet the needs of individual instructors. However, these learning materials are often lacking in key attributes such as reliable distribution, easy integration, and detailed analytics that are common to the more established types of course materials.
To bridge the gap between OER and traditional learning materials, the California State University (CSU) system and VitalSource Technologies LLC® announced a collaboration designed to increase the adoption and use of OER.
“This collaboration is directly in line with our mission to help the creation and delivery of affordable, high quality course materials. Professors and instructors are investing a great amount of time and energy into creating OER,” said Mike Hale, VitalSource’s VP of Education for North America. “This new arrangement gives this quality OER content the same discoverability, ease of use, market reach, and dependable platform that more than 1,000 commercial publishers rely on with VitalSource Bookshelf®.”
Educators and institutions interested in adopting existing academic and workforce development OER managed by the California State University within their MERLOT, SkillsCommons and COOL4Ed projects will now be able to offer the content to faculty and students through the VitalSource Bookshelf platform.
Educators and institutions wishing to create and/or revise OER content can also use VitalSource Content Studio™, VitalSource’s proprietary digital-first authoring tool, developed to provide content creators an intuitive tool to create standards-based, responsive, interactive and accessible content. The EPUB 3 content created in VitalSource Content Studio can then be delivered to students via Bookshelf.
“The collaboration with VitalSource will enable the convenient, accessible, scalable, sustainable and measurable use of OER by individuals and institutions,” said Gerry Hanley, CSU’s assistant vice chancellor for Academic Technology Services and Executive Director of MERLOT. “Together, we will have a digital marketplace that provides educators and learners the greatest choice of affordable educational content available together with a convenient and dependable distribution service.”
VitalSource and CSU announced this new collaboration at the Online Learning Consortium (OLC)/MERLOT INNOVATE Conference in New Orleans. The INNOVATE conference provides the education community an opportunity to foster organic interactions and collaborative cross-disciplinary problem solving by participating in a series of engaging hands-on workshops. Together, the OLC/MERLOT INNOVATE community builds new foundations for stronger and better higher education environments.
Material from a press release was used in this report.