Thanks for update from Brent Auernheimer, I found out that the Hawai’i Senate Committee on Higher Education recently debated a bill regarding Open Educational Resources (OER) usage at the University of Hawai’i system of 10 campuses. Introduced on January 19th, SB2328 states:
Beginning with the 2020-2021 school year, all courses at all campuses within the University of Hawai‘i system that require the use of instructional materials, including textbooks, shall use instructional materials from the open educational resources at the University of Hawai‘i; provided that the use of instructional materials, including textbooks, that requires a student to purchase or pay a subscription for the materials shall be prohibited; provided further that if open educational resources does not have relevant instructional materials available for a course, the faculty member or lecturer responsible with providing instruction for the course shall create the instructional materials and offer those materials free of charge to students through open educational resources.
Read that carefully – OER for all courses, no commercial services around OER allowed, and if appropriate OER does not exist, the faculty member must create the material themselves, all mandated from the state legislature.
When I first saw this news, I assumed it was a either a misguided effort that would quietly be killed in committee or a political statement. Predictably, and appropriately, the University of Hawai’i Professional Assembly actively opposed this bill, calling it “legislative overreach” and “infringement on academic judgement”, while also calling out the costs and support needed for faculty to create such materials.
On January 30 hearings, the vast majority of testimony – much of it from faculty members – opposed the measure with only two statements supporting. Yet on February 6, the Senate Committee unanimously passed the bill on to the full Senate.
The committee(s) on HRE recommend(s) that the measure be PASSED, WITH AMENDMENTS. The votes in HRE were as follows: 5 Aye(s): Senator(s) K. Kahele, Kim, S. Chang, Keith-Agaran, Kidani; Aye(s) with reservations: none ; 0 No(es): none; and 0 Excused: none.
I have not been able to determine what the amendments are for the bill (or if that refers to future amendments coming from floor debate), and I also do not know how likely it is to pass the full senate or to become state law. I’ll keep looking for more information.
Unless I’m missing something, this could be a jump-the-shark moment for portions of the OER movement. Comments appreciated.
Update: From Twitter stream (sounds like some good changes):
I was there for both public hearings. Mandates have been removed, waiting on remaining details. We’ve got systems set up to handle all aspects of OER for faculty, but prefer incentives over mandates. /cc @mfeldstein67
— BiỊỊy Meinke (@billymeinke) February 10, 2018