BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ó



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          Date of Hearing:  June 21, 2016


                       ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON HIGHER EDUCATION


                                 Jose Medina, Chair


          SB  
          1359 (Block) - As Amended May 31, 2016


          SENATE VOTE:  39-0


          SUBJECT:  Public postsecondary education:  course materials.


          SUMMARY:  Requires each campus of the California Community  
          Colleges (CCC) and the California State University (CSU), and  
          requests each campus of the University of California (UC), to  
          clearly highlight the courses that use digital course materials  
          that are free of charge and have a low-cost option for print  
          version.  Specifically, this bill:  


          1)Requires each campus of the CCC and the CSU, and requests each  
            campus of the UC, to do both of the following:


             a)   Clearly highlight, in a way that may include the use of  
               a symbol or logo, in a conspicuous place on the online  
               campus course schedule, the courses that at least in part  
               use digital course materials that are free of charge to  
               students and have a low-cost option for print versions;  
               and,










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             b)   Clearly communicate to students that some or all course  
               materials used for the courses identified, as specified,  
               are free of charge and therefore not required to be  
               purchased.


          2)Specifies that course materials, as specified, may include  
            open educational resources (OERs), institutionally licensed  
            campus library materials that all students enrolled in the  
            course have access to use, and other properly licensed and  
            adopted materials.


          3)Defines the following terms:


             a)   "Course schedule" is a collection of available classes,  
               course sections, or both, published electronically, before  
               the start of an academic term; and,


             b)   "OERs" are high-quality teaching, learning, and research  
               resources that reside in the public domain or have been  
               released under an intellectual property license, such as a  
               Creative Commons license, that permits their free use, and  
               repurposing by others, and may include other resources that  
               are legally available 


          EXISTING LAW:  


          1)Requires the CSU Trustees and the CCC Board of Governors, and  
            requests the Regents of the UC, to work with the academic  
            senates to encourage faculty to give consideration to the  
            least costly practices in assigning textbooks and to encourage  
            faculty to disclose to students how new editions of textbooks  
            are different from previous editions.  Existing law also urges  
            textbook publishers to provide information to faculty when  








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            they are considering what textbooks to order, and to post  
            information on the publishers' Web sites, including an  
            explanation of how the newest edition is different from  
            previous editions.  In addition, publishers are asked to  
            disclose to faculty the length of time they intend to produce  
            the current edition and provide faculty free copies of each  
            textbook selected (Education Code (EC Section 66406).

          2)Requires, via the College Textbook Transparency Act, each  
            campus bookstore at any public postsecondary educational  
            institution to post in its store or on its Web site a  
            disclosure of the retail price policy on new and used  
            textbooks (EC Section 66406.7). 


          3)Establishes the California Digital Open Source Library,  
            administered by the CSU in coordination with the CCC, for the  
            purpose of housing open source materials while providing  
            Web-based access for students, faculty and staff to find,  
            adopt, utilize, or modify course materials for little or no  
            cost (EC Section 66408).

          4)Establishes the California Open Education Resources Council  
            and requires the council to be responsible for, among other  
            things, developing a list of 50 strategically selected lower  
            division courses in the public postsecondary segments for  
            which high-quality, affordable, digital open source textbooks  
            and related materials are to be developed or acquired  (EC  
            Section 66409).


          5)Requires, by January 1, 2020, publishers of textbooks used at  
            the UC, CSU, and the CCC, or private postsecondary educational  
            institutions, to the extent practicable, to make textbooks  
            available in whole or in part for sale in an electronic format  
            and requires the electronic format to contain the same content  
            as the printed version (EC Section 66410).










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          6)Establishes the Open Educational Resources Adoption Incentive  
            Program to incentivize faculty to accelerate the adoption of  
            lower cost, high-quality, OERs at CCC and CSU campuses.  To  
            note, said program provides funding for faculty professional  
            development, professional development for staff, OER curation  
            activities, curriculum modification and requisite release time  
            for faculty, and technology support (EC Section 67420).


          FISCAL EFFECT:  According to the Senate Appropriations  
          Committee, unknown costs, but would likely create a reimbursable  
          state mandate, potentially in the tens of thousands, for  
          community college districts to highlight courses in online  
          course schedules.  Potential additional one-time costs for any  
          district that only uses print schedules to convert to electronic  
          schedules (Proposition 98).





          Costs to CSU potentially around $100,000 annually.  Likely minor  
          costs to UC (General Fund).  





          COMMENTS:  Background.  According to the College Board, the  
          average undergraduate student should budget between $1,200 and  
          $1,300 for textbooks and supplies each year.  That figure is as  
          much as 40 percent of tuition at a two-year community college  
          and 13 percent at a four-year public institution.  According to  
          the Student Public Interest Research Groups (Student PIRGs),  
          February 2015 report, entitled "Open Textbooks:  The  
          Billion-Dollar Solution," since 1978, college textbook costs  
          have increased to 812 percent, that is to say, it means that  
          textbook prices have increased at 3.2 times the rate of  
          inflation.  A 2014 Student PIRG study found that 65 percent of  








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          students skipped buying or renting a textbook because it was too  
          expensive, and 94 percent 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 courses they were able to take.


          Need for the measure.  According to the author, by requiring  
          California's postsecondary educational institutions to, "clearly  
          and explicitly highlight by a symbol or logo, any courses that  
          use free digital course material in their online or print course  
          catalogs, California's college students will be equipped with  
          easy-to-find information that assists them in navigating the  
          high cost of textbooks while at the same time create an  
          incentive for the mass adoption of free, open-sourced textbooks  
          and materials."  


          The author contends that this measure is an important step in  
          ensuring college textbooks and materials are affordable to all  
          students.


          What are OER?  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 offer many  
          advantages over traditional textbooks:  they allow students and  
          faculty to access textbooks and related materials for free  
          online or purchase hardcopies that are more affordable than  
          traditional textbooks; they enable faculty to customize learning  
          materials to suit their course objectives; and, they can provide  
          students with a more flexible set of tools that can contribute  
          to a richer learning experience.










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          California OER Council.   The California OER Council reports  
          that it has thus far selected the 50 courses, identified more  
          than 150 appropriate OERs for said courses, developed a  
          standardized peer review and approval process, and recruited  
          faculty to conduct the reviews.  To note, as of December 2015,  
          the Council had identified more than 160 appropriate OER  
          textbooks for the 50 courses.  


          OER degrees.   The Governor's 2016-17 Budget proposes $5 million  
          in one-time funds to create "Zero-Textbook-Cost Degrees" at the  
          CCC.  Said degrees would allow students to complete a degree  
          entirely by taking courses that use only free instructional  
          materials.   To note, under the Governor's proposal, community  
          colleges would compete for grants up to $500,000 each to offer a  
          zero-textbook-cost associate degree, certificate, or credential  
          program.


          Additionally, the national community college reform network  
          Achieving the Dream announced on June 14, 2016, an initiative to  
          develop degree programs using OERs.  The initiative involves 38  
          community colleges throughout 13 states, including two  
          California community colleges (Santa Ana College and West Hills  
          College Lemoore). 


          This measure seeks to ensure that students are aware of OER and  
          other low cost options available to them when securing course  
          materials, before they register for classes.


          Committee comment.  As presently drafted, Committee staff  
          understands that some stakeholders wish to have the author  
          specify what is meant by the following terms in the measure:   
          "at least in part" and "low-cost option for print versions".   
          Moving forward, the author may wish to continue to work with the  
          stakeholders in potentially bringing clarity to said terms.









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          Prior and related legislation.  AB 1914 (Bonilla), which is  
          pending a hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee, would,  
          among others, require the academic senates of campuses of the  
          CSU and the UC to develop policies regarding instructional  
          materials to encourage efforts to reduce redundancy in the  
          delivery of materials, and requires the CSU Trustees to review  
          and adopt those policies.


          AB 456 (Patterson) of 2015, which was not moved by the author,  
          would have required the CUS, and requested the UC, to offer  
          discounted electronic textbook rentals to their students for  
          each textbook assigned in a course, if the content of the  
          electronic and printed versions of the textbook were the same. 

          AB 2471 (Lara) of 2011, which was held in the Assembly  
          Appropriations Committee, would have required e-textbooks used  
          in courses at the state's postsecondary institutions to include  
          specified consumer protections, and required the institutions to  
          adopt rules consistent with said requirements.  

          SB 1328 (De León) of 2011, which was not moved by the author in  
          this Committee, would have required a publisher to provide  
          textbook data in specified formats; encouraged public and  
          private postsecondary institutions to develop faculty textbook  
          adoption search engines with specified functions; and required  
          campus bookstores at private and public postsecondary  
          institutions to provide a student textbook comparison engine on  
          their Web sites.  

          SB 216 (Liu) of 2009, which was held in the Senate  
          Appropriations Committee, would have among others,  required the  
          CSU and the CCC to post a list of required textbooks for each  
          course on the internet at least 30 days prior to the first day  
          of class, including the price charged for each textbook.











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          SB 386 (Runner) of 2009, which was held in the Senate  
          Appropriations Committee, would have required a faculty member  
          at the CCC or the CSU, who adopts a new edition of a textbook  
          within three years after the adoption of a previous edition of  
          that textbook to prepare a justification for the adoption of the  
          new edition.  
          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          California State Student Association


          California State University


          Community College League of California




          Opposition


          None on file.




          Analysis Prepared by:Jeanice Warden / HIGHER ED. / (916)  
          319-3960












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