BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                     AB 798

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          Date of Hearing:  May 6, 2015


                                 Jimmy Gomez, Chair

          798 (Bonilla) - As Amended April 6, 2015

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          Urgency:  No  State Mandated Local Program:  NoReimbursable:  No


          This bill establishes, until July 1, 2020, a state grant program  
          to incentivize increased adoption of open source educational  
          resources at campuses of the California Community Colleges  
          (CCC), the California State University (CSU), and the University  


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          of California (UC). Specifically, this bill:

          1)Establishes the Open Educational Resources Adoption Incentive  
            Fund to provide incentives and rewards for campus and faculty  
            efforts to accelerate use of open educational resources in  
            order to reduce students' cost and improve access to such  

          2)Stipulates that moneys in the fund are to support faculty  
            professional development, open educational resource curation  
            activities, and technology support for faculty.

          3)Authorizes campuses, upon adoption of a local resolution, to  
            submit the resolution to their respective campus governing  
            board for an initial grant to establish a strategy, as  
            specified, for meeting the above goals. The strategy is to  
            include three campus-determined benchmarks for each of the  
            following three years.

          4)Requires the respective segment offices to review, approve,  
            and administer the grants.

          5)Stipulates that after receiving the initial grant, the  
            campuses shall receive bonus grants in each of the following  
            three years if they meet the corresponding benchmarks for  
            those years. The maximum amounts of the initial grant and  
            bonus grants are unspecified.

          6)Stipulates that the bonus grants are to be administered  
            locally by the academic senate. in collaboration with the  
            campus president, provost, or chief academic officer and the  
            campus student body organization.


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          7)Requires the Chancellors of the CCC and the CSU and the UC  
            President to report annually whether the grants are increasing  
            the rate of adoption of open source educational resources and  
            decreasing students' textbook costs.

          FISCAL EFFECT:

          At least several million dollars would be needed for a viable,  
          multi-year grant program available to the over 150 campuses in  
          three systems. Moreover, depending on the number of campuses in  
          each segment seeking grants, each of the systemwide offices  
          would need a half- or full-time position, at $70,000 to $140,000  
          (General Fund) annually to establish and oversee the grant  
          program. To the extent the program makes more OER resources  
          available to more students, significant savings in textbook  
          costs could accrue to students.


          1)Purpose. According to the author, in order to reduce costs for  
            students and increase the rate of adoption of OER, faculty  
            need support on their local campus to help learn about new  
            technology available and to find the time to update their  
            courses in order to use OER.  The author states, "AB 798  
            provides the funding and incentive necessary to support  
            professors when they choose to adopt OER.  The College  
            Textbook Affordability Act recognizes that this support will  
            be different for every local campus depending on existing  
            programs, makeup of student body and number of professors.   
            Each local campus can create a plan that will specifically  
            address the hurdles to OER on their local campus."

          2)Background. According to the College Board, the average  


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            undergraduate student should budget between $1,200 and $1,300  
            for textbooks and supplies each year-roughly equivalent to  
            annual CCC fees for a full-time student and 25% of tuition  
            costs at CSU. A 2014 study by Public Interest Research Groups  
            (Student PIRGs) found that 65% of students skipped buying or  
            renting a textbook because it was too expensive, and 94% of  
            those students felt that in so doing, there grade would suffer  
            in a course. Additionally, almost half of the students said  
            the cost of textbooks impacted how many course they were able  
            to take.

            OER are educational materials such as textbooks, research  
            articles, videos, assessments, or simulations that are either  
            licensed under an open copyright license or are in the public  
            domain.  OERs provide no-cost access and no-cost permission to  
            revise, reuse, remix, or redistribute the materials. According  
            to a 2012 policy brief by the Center for American Progress and  
            EDUCAUSE, digital OERs enable faculty to customize learning  
            materials to suit their course objectives and can provide  
            students with a more flexible set of tools that can contribute  
            to a richer learning experience.

          3)Prior Legislation. SB 1052 (Steinberg)/Chapter 621, Statutes  
            of 2012, established the California Open Education Resources  
            Council, composed of three faculty members each from UC, CSU,  
            and the CCC, to develop a list of 50 lower division courses  
            across the three segments for which high-quality, affordable  
            digital open source textbooks and related material shall be  
            developed or acquired, to create and administer a review and  
            approval process for open source materials, and to establish a  
            competitive request-for-proposal process in which faculty  
            members, publishers, and other interested parties would apply  
            for funds to produce 50 high-quality, affordable, digital open  
            source textbooks and related materials. An appropriation of $5  
            million was provided for this effort, to be matched by  
            nonstate funds. To date, only about $1 million has been  


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            In its most recent progress report, the Council reports that  
            it has thus far selected the 50 courses, identified more than  
            150 appropriate OERs for this courses, developed a  
            standardized peer review and approval process, and recruited  
            faculty to conduct the reviews. As of March 2015, the Council  
            reports that reviews are completed for 10 courses, involving  
            34 OER textbooks. The review process is being coordinated for  
            40 additional courses and 120 additional reviews.

          Analysis Prepared by:Chuck Nicol / APPR. / (916)