IRVINE, Calif., March 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The University of California, Irvine (UCI) today announced a partnership with the primary systems of education in California, University of California (UC), California State University (CSU), and California Community Colleges (CCC), to advance the field of open and free education. The collaboration between the three systems of education is a growing illustration of the power of open education. The goal is to provide UCI's university-level chemistry curriculum and educational resources to teachers, students and self-learners in California and around the world. One of the major benefits of this collaboration is that it allows faculty and students to have free access to chemistry lectures and other materials through the release of fully captioned, ADA-compliant video lectures.
"This partnership extends UC Irvine's commitment to open education and its worldwide impact, with a focus on the needs of students in the California public education system," said Gary W. Matkin, UC Irvine Dean of Continuing Education, Distance Learning, and Summer Session. "It advances our goal of a world where high quality education is available to all for free."
Collaborative Efforts Garnered Benefit All California Students As part of this partnership, UCI will be offering its Open Chemistry (OpenChem) curriculum to the CSU and CCC systems. OpenChem was initially developed as part of the open education resource movement. It is the most comprehensive effort to provide a full curriculum's worth of lecture classes at no cost to universities and colleges, individual professors and departments, students, self-learners and others worldwide. According to Marshall S. Smith, former Undersecretary of Education, the offering of full curricula is "the next big step." UCI OpenChem provides free and open access to 16 quarter-length undergraduate and select graduate chemistry lecture classes. In addition, UCI is working to leverage its initial investment in high-quality, extensive lecture series through increased collaboration with other open educational resources, such as UC Davis' ChemWiki dynamic textbook.
"Our collaboration with UCI and the California Community Colleges is consistent with our values and public mission and confirms our commitment to accessibility and the growing movement toward low-cost and free solutions for higher education," said Gerry Hanley, Ph.D., the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Academic Technology Services and Executive Director of the Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT) for the California State University Office of the Chancellor. Hanley is also responsible for state and grant funded tri-system open textbook project, http://cool4ed.org.
Historically, California community colleges were the first tasked by the state to provide universal access to higher education. The Distance Education Captioning and Transcription grant (DECT) of the California Community Colleges provided the means to ensure that the curriculum is accessible to all students, including those with disabilities.
"Our cooperation is an example of how open education can be used to prepare our students to succeed beyond their community college experience and throughout their academic career," said James Glapa-Grossklag, Dean of Educational Technology at College of the Canyons, which hosts DECT. "Through the captioning effort, our students and faculty gain access to these high-quality open educational resources, including being able to preview courses that students take as Chemistry majors after transferring to CSU or UC."
The intention of UCI's OpenChem is to ease the bottlenecks in chemistry education. "The flexibility of OpenChem is that it permits adoption at many different levels: remediation for students prior to entering general chemistry studies, supplemental studies for advanced high school and undergraduate students, and concurrent support for chemistry majors throughout their undergraduate years," according to Larry Cooperman, UC Irvine's Associate Dean for Open Education and President of the 300-member global Open Education Association.
ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA STATE UNIVERSITY:The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, more than 460,000 students and 45,000 faculty and staff. Created in 1961, the CSU awards more than 100,000 exceptional degrees annually and this spring will be celebrating the milestone of reaching 3 Million alumni. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. The mission of the CSU is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California. Connect with and learn more about the CSU at CSU Social Media.
ABOUT COLLEGE OF THE CANYONS: Founded in 1967, College of the Canyons is one of California's foremost community colleges, serving the northern Los Angeles County communities of the Santa Clarita Valley on two campuses. Led by Chancellor Dr. Dianne G. Van Hook since 1988, it is one of the most dynamic and comprehensive community colleges in California and was named the second fastest-growing college in the nation by Community College Week in December 2014.
ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY COLLEGES: The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation, with 2.1 million students attending 112 colleges. The colleges provide students with the knowledge and background necessary to compete in today's economy. With a wide range of educational offerings, the colleges provide workforce training, basic courses in English and math, certificate and degree programs, and preparation for transfer to four-year institutions.
ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, IRVINE: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. Located in one of the world's safest and most economically vibrant communities, it's Orange County's second-largest employer, contributing $4.8 billion annually to the local economy.