System Perspective – Open Policy Video

The System Perspective: OER Support for Community and Technical Colleges of Washington and Virginia

“We feel like OER is normal enough in our system now, that enough faculty have heard about it and use it, that what they are asking of us is that we expand the policy framework in the institutions to support their usage of it.”


  • Mark Jenkins, Director of eLearning and Open Education at Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges.
  • Richard Sebastian, Former Director of Teaching and Learning Technologies at Virginia’s Community Colleges


In this segment, Jenkins and Sebastian, directors of educational technology efforts for the community college systems in Washington and Virginia, share their stories of building and implementing an OER infrastructure for faculty. Sebastian describes how Virginia has a centralized governance structure, led by a Chancellor and the State Board of Community Colleges. Jenkins explains that Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges helps organize and facilitate much of the system governance activities of the community college system, though it does so without exercising direct authority. The two share ways the system office promotes open initiatives in the colleges. Sebastian describes three primary strategies used to develop and disseminate open initiatives, which include being supportive, utilizing various communication channels, and leveraging centralized governance. He also shares his insight on how to scale OER across Virginia’s community colleges and introduce Zx23 (Z-Degrees to all 23 Virginia’s community colleges). Jenkins illustrates an infrastructure of support for faculty use of OER comprised of open research, open policy, and open initiatives. Jenkins also discusses SBCTC’s open licensing policy and explains the role and impact of this policy on the system’s choice and management of OER initiatives. Finally, they share their plans for keeping the momentum around OER moving forward.

Guiding inquires:

  • What are the events, projects and efforts that cultivate an OER-friendly state-wide environment?
  • What are some specific techniques college system offices can use with colleges to promote and disseminate open initiatives?
  • How does recognition and promotion of system’s “open competency” benefit the system and its colleges?

Suggested activities:

  • Among many success elements identified for Virginia community college system’s statewide OER adoption what, in your opinion, was the strongest driver? Please share your thoughts with colleagues.
  • SBCTC’s open licensing policy was introduced during the interview. Imagine that you are the director of Open Education, and you have been asked to develop an implementation plan. What implementation strategies would you consider? Please share your thoughts.
Last updated: 09 09 2020