In October of 2018, Los Medanos College, as part of the Contra Costa Community College District, was awarded a portion of the Open Textbooks Pilot Program (CFDA #84,115T) grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Post-secondary Education for “Expanding the LibreTexts Project into the Next-Generation Hub for Construction, Dissemination, and Usage of Open Educational Resource Textbooks” The grant proposal provided the following summary of the grant:
“Expanding the LibreTexts Project into the Next-Generation Hub for Construction, Dissemination, and Usage of Open Educational Resource Textbooks Summary “Expanding the LibreTexts Project into the Next-Generation Hub for Construction, Dissemination, and Usage of Open Educational Resource Textbooks” will create an open online set of textbooks and other materials that can be used across the undergraduate and career technical education curriculum ...
Our project includes a consortium of 12 campuses, of which five are independent institutions and seven are part of two large community college districts in California. The independent institutions are University of California, Davis (CA), Hope College (MI), Saint Mary's College (IN), University of Arkansas, Little Rock (AR), and Prince George Community College (MD). The two community college districts are Contra Costa Community College District (CA) and Los Rios Community College District (CA) that encompass the seven community colleges, Contra Costa College, Diablo Valley College, Los Medanos College, Sacramento City College, American River College, Cosumnes River College, and Folsom Lake College. The California State University system is also a partner.
The project organization entails effort in five teams: (1) Construction new materials, (2) Harvesting for inclusion of materials developed by others under open license, (3) developing new leading edge technology to guide student learning, (4) dissemination of LibreTexts OER and recruiting new collaborators, and (5) formative and summative assessment and analysis.”
The Role of Los Medanos College
The grant proposal outlines the space for Los Medanos College to operate in and while it does not identify specific benchmarks or goals, it is clear in the overall guiding objectives and principals of our participant. It is clear that Los Medanos is to play a role in the following two work group areas:
(1) Construction new materials
(4) dissemination of LibreTexts OER and recruiting new collaborators
In both cases, the focus for community colleges should be Career Technical Education. However, it is not limited to working sole in this space. Inside the college is given the control to provided a more holistic sustainable approach to ZTC.
The grant proposal outlines the role Los Medanos College will play in six places within the documents. While none of these are direct statements about Los Medanos College, the do create a vision for the general work that we will be doing.
1. Chancellor Wood’s Vision
The grant identifies the Contra Costa Community College District (CCCD), including Los Medanos College, as a Primary Institution in the grant. This means “Stage 1: Primary institutions are involves the institutions and district identified in this provided institutional commitment.” (Project Narrative Attachment 1 2 (v 1018120112), 14)
For CCCCD this support was provided by the District Chancellor Fred E Wood, Ph.D., in a letter written August 27th, 2018 to the director of the Fund for the Improvement of Post-secondary Education. The letter provides general support for the continued work at Los Medanos College and outlines three points that the District will seeking to contribute to the project.
CCCCD’s participation in this project will also help further the work of Diablo Valley College that has been highly committed to open educational resources through its involvement and leadership in the ChemWiki project and now Libre Texts. Los Medanos College is the recipient of a grant funded through the California Textbook Affordability Program (AB 798), and is excited to expand the work through this initiative.
Through this project, the Contra Costa Community College District will:
- Study design and pedagogical content to support Career Education offerings under Libre Texts;
- Outreach and support faculty in Career Education, STEM, and other fields with limited zero textbook offerings, to expand opportunities;
- Focus on degree and/or certificate program that can be completed fully utilizing open educational resources.
At the core, we will create Career Education resources; more broadly we need to support and expand offerings in “ Education, STEM, and other fields with limited zero textbook offerings”; and finally in the largest scale we will need to identify and create additional Z-degree paths for students to complete their degree or certificate with zero textbook cost.
From these objectives we are the most efficient in these goals when we focus on the creating CTE resources, because in doing so we are already supporting faculty in a limited field, and already contributing material towards a degree or certificate becoming a Z-degree.
However, that is not to say that our objective should simply be limited to CTE programs. We still meet two of these objectives when we work with a none CTE department to create a Z-Degree and convert all of their classes to ZTC.
2. The Industrial Advisory Board
In the narrative Contra Costa Community College District is identified in the Community College Consortium that will be working closely with The Industrial Advisory Board.
As the proposed effort progress, Industrial Advisory Board will be expanded by reaching out to other members of existing advisory boards for the three Community College Consortium Institutions (Contra Costa Community College District, Los Rios Community College District, and Prince George Community College) and soliciting their participation to form a board with broad diversity. (56)
The narrative says this about the board:
“The Industrial Advisory Board is drawn primarily from our community college partners, who have advised LibreTexts on career issues, and our MindTouch partners. This group will provide guidance in building the technical education section(s) of LibreTexts. They will work with the LibreTexts Dissemination Team to advocate for increased use of LibreTexts for training students in their constituencies, and will identify and encourage faculty from their organizations who are interested in OER to make contributions to the CTE Library. The Industrial Advisory Board will help to broaden LibreTexts’ focus from traditional academic disciplines to also effectively address career and technical education.” (55)
From this we can gather it is the job of the community colleges to contribute to the Libre Text CTE catalog, specifically to create original works and learning artifacts.
3. CTE Library
In line with the Industrial Advisory Board, the community college will be key to building the “Trade” library as part of Libre Texts.
Cultivating the CTE Library: Community colleges are a key component of the LibreTexts Consortium. Their educational mission includes vocational training and they have strong links to the skilled trades both at the employer and worker levels. The Community College Consortium Institutions will work with their partners and faculty to develop the proposed Career and Technical Education “Trade" Library with an emphasis on trades. (19)
4. The Dissemination Team
Neither Los Medanos College nor the CCCD is mentioned in this section of the narrative. However, Ron Rusay a critical member of the project team and faculty at our sister college is.
This section serves as an example of what community colleges are doing with in the grant. It is clearly directed at helping facilitate the role of the community colleges.
“Ron Rusay (Diablo Valley College) working with Brent Krueger (Hope) and Christine Barrow (Prince George’s Community College) will be the principal point of contact for dissemination effort directed at community colleges.” (42)
The goal of the dissemination portion of the grant will be to get the Libre Texts resources into the hands of faculty and work with them to adopt these resources.
“This team will focus on how to disseminate the project into the hands of faculty and through them to their students. The dissemination team will both market the LibreTexts brand and train new faculty users to increase adoption, and thus impact, of LibreTexts OER resources. Team Members and Focal Areas” (41)
This aligns with one of grant team efforts: (4) dissemination of LibreTexts OER and recruiting new collaborators. In this, we as a community college are being asked to help market, promote and disseminate Libre Texts.
5. Humanities Library
Members of both Los Medanos College and Contra Costa College make up the team responsible for the creation of content for the Humanities Library
“Edward Haven (CCCC) and Michael Kilivris (CCCC) will develop, in cooperation with student developers, introductory philosophy content for his colleges’ course in Introduction to Philosophy, Critical Thinking and Composition Contemporary, Moral Issues, Philosophy through Film and Literature.”
Though most of these classes and the associated material has already been created, by Edward Haven as part of the Phase 2 Grant, it will be part of our job to port them over to Libre Texts.
6. OER Grant Budget Justification for CCCCD V 2
Further understand of the role of Los Medanos College should play can be found in the Grant Budget Justification for CCCD. This document outlines the intended spending of the grant.
“Through its colleges, the Contra Costa Community College District will be focus on curating materials for the construction of Open Educational Resources in the Libre Texts library. The Colleges will curate materials for OER construction based upon the Course Objectives for courses offered at the college.
The colleges are in the process of identifying the specific courses and faculty. They will range from courses in Career Education, to General Education, and STEM. ...”
The Budget statement echoes the narrative in its key message, by suggesting that the college will have the freedom to pick course objective in line with the colleges objectives. It will include Career Education but is not limited to it.
Finally, Edward Haven is identified as the faculty lead at Los Medanos College. “The faculty leads at each college, Michael Kilivris (Contra Costa College), Jeffrey Smith (Diablo Valley College) and Edward Haven (Los Medanos College) are in the process of conducting the faculty recruitment.”
From these two documents and the key passage directed at our college, our district and community colleges in general, we can delineation the space in which Los Medanos College is to preform its function with in the grant. It is clear that Los Medanos is to play a role in the following two work group areas:
(1) Construction new materials
(4) dissemination of LibreTexts OER and recruiting new collaborators
In both cases, the focus for community colleges should be Career Technical Education. However, it is not limited to working sole in this space. Instead the college is encouraged to provided a more holistic sustainable approach to ZTC, including Humanities, General Education and STEM. The goal being to fund the college for a sustainable dissemination to all students from all majors, in whatever way the college feels will provided the biggest impact on students, faculty and Libre Texts.