#OpenEd18: From A to Z: Reflections on Developing the CSU’s first “Z-Majors”

#OpenEd18: From A to Z: Reflections on Developing the CSU’s first “Z-Majors”

Jacob Jenkins, Associate Professor & Campus Coordinator for CSU’s Affordable Learning Solutions and Jaime Hannans, Associate Professor, Nursing both from California State University Channel Islands presented on lessons learned as they created CSU’s first Z-majors.

Before discussing Z-majors (majors where there are zero costs for textbooks), Jenkins and Hannans first introduced their website that supports their open initiatives called Open CI. They noted that they started down the path of Z-majors focused on making courses more affordable. They have come to realize that open is more than affordability, it is also a matter of equity and quality.

Currently, Open CI has two Z-Majors: Communications and Early Childhood Studies. Converting these majors involved a lot of effort. It requires redoing each course to include content, presentations, quizzes, etc. To achieve their goals, they assigned coordinators who had release time.

Open CI Ambassador Program

One of the programs that Jenkins and Hannans discussed was their OpenCI Ambassador Program. Faculty were recruited to the program with a stipend. They were required to produce deliverables as part of the program. To help achieve success, they focused on early adopters. Faculty were also required to go through a preparation course before the OpenCI team would work with them.

Marketing OpenCI Initiative

In order to get the word out about the OpenCI initiative, the OpenCI team created a website to highlight successes and information. Additionally, they created a brochure that shared the successes they were having on campus. The brochure included information on the number of majors, number of sections, number of faculty, number of students, total savings, and cost savings per student.

Program Plan

If other institutions want to pursue a program similar to OpenCI, they offered these five steps:

  1. Create campus-wide initiatives such as developing a supporting website.
  2. Develop an Ambassadors Program.
  3. Build a groundswell of support.
  4. Create a program level action plan.
  5. Develop strategies for sustaining, scaling, and celebrating the successes.

I was able to pull out a number of good ideas from this presentation. JCC could benefit from a web presence to showcase our successes and efforts. I also liked the idea of a brochure to highlight our success. Finally, I believe we could formalize our faculty efforts a little more.

Stan Skrabut, Ed.D.

Stan is Director of Technology-Enhanced Instruction. He has over 20 years experience working as an instructional technologist and trainer. He has a master’s degree in computing technology in education and a doctorate in education specializing in instructional technology.

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