Promises, Promises…Why Do I Believe?

For the last decade, open education resources (OER), or zero-cost textbooks, have been the solution to bringing down costs for students and creating an equitable education. The California Community Colleges Chancellor’s office asserts, “Open educational resources give students more flexibility in learning, and research shows most students perform as well or better using open educational resource course materials compared with students using traditional textbooks.”

The California Virtual Campus – Online Education Initiative (CVC-OEI) launched the Canvas Commons as an easy way to share OER and Canvas content for faculty across the state. When a pandemic took the entire California Community Colleges system online, advocates saw it as a chance for OER to take flight and bring equity to the student population: “A Majority of faculty now report some awareness of OER” (Seaman & Seaman , 2021)  Yet, that was not the case according to “Awareness of Open Educational Resources Grows, but Adoption Doesn't.”

“Despite those changes, which should bode well for use of OER, the proportion of instructors who said they had required the use of open resources -- the ultimate signal of embrace -- did not budge from 2018-19, remaining at about one-quarter of all faculty members.”(Leaderman, 2021)

One of the primary reasons for this is the lengthy process the state has for creating OER; it takes about two years to get one approved for use outside of a campus. Also, faculty are not being appropriately compensated to create this content because it is under creative commons and stipends vary from campus to campus. Hence, faculty tend to create content for Canvas for their own shells rather than for a community at large. OER fails to fulfill its promise of equity because of the lack of system-wide support and reliable compensation.



Leaderman, D. (2021). Awareness of open educational resources grows, but adoption

doesn't, 2021. Retrieved January 23, 2022, from

Open Education Resources | California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office. (2022). Retrieved January 23, 2022, from

Seaman , J. E., & Seaman , J. (2021). Digital Texts in the Time of Covid: Educational Resources in U.S. higher education, 2020. Retrieved January 23, 2022, from 


FACCC blog posts are written independently by FACCC members and encompass their experiences and recommendations.
FACCC neither condemns nor endorses the recommendations herein.

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