Last week the Extended Learning Institute (ELI), Northern Virginia Community College’s online program, and Lumen Learning issued a joint press release announcing that nine of the 24 courses that make up NVCC’s all-OER General Education degree are now available to the public on Lumen’s Candela platform. Eventually, all of these “zELI” courses–Z-Degree + ELI– will be publicly available as well.
Perhaps you are a bit surprised that these courses, and the courses that make up Tidewater Community College’s Z-Degree, aren’t already publicly accessible. Weren’t they created, like, two years ago, you ask? While the courses have been available “by request,” you had to find the unmarked door and know the secret knock to get them. This is the first time a full Z-Degree will be shared on the open web. For those of you shouting, “It’s about time! These are supposed to be open, you know!” keep in mind that ushering these precious little darlings into the sunlight is more difficult than it looks.
With the eventual release of the full set of zELI courses, along with Tidewater’s Z-Degree courses and the 104 or so courses being developed for the Zx23 Project, it looks like 2016 will bring a dramatic increase in publicly available, high-quality OER courses. It will be interesting to see if having these degree pathways out there for public consumption will spur an increase in adoption of both individual courses and full Z-Degrees. The joint press release is below. You can access the zELI courses on the Candela platform by clicking here: http://lumenlearning.com/partner-nova-zeli/.