The Office of Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, and Virginia Community College System invite submissions to its inaugural Open and Digital Learning Resources Conference to be held at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, VA on October 15th, 2013.

This is a watershed moment for open and digital learning resources, with a number of well-publicized initiatives bringing new energy and attention to this topic. In May 2012,  Harvard and MIT announced a partnership to create EdX and host free courses to anyone, anywhere. In July 2012 the online course platform Coursera announced it had established new partnerships with 12 universities to offer free online courses. The State Board of Career and Technical Colleges in Washington state is offering open access to 81 of its most highly-enrolled courses through the Open Course Library. And OpenStax College, a project out of Rice University, has released the first of a series of free, open textbooks for core college courses like Physics and Biology.

Clearly, open and digital learning resources have the potential to have a significant and perhaps lasting impact on our educational institutions, and it is vitally important to begin to build an understanding of the challenges and opportunities they offer for teaching and learning across the Commonwealth.

The Open and Digital Learning Resources Conference will bring together teams of higher education stakeholders from across Virginia to collectively investigate the exciting topic of open and digital learning resources (ODLR) in education. ODLRs are a fairly broad categorization of educational technologies and practices that include the use and integration of in-class and online digital media, hardware, and software, a variety of openly licensed and freely available open educational resources (open textbooks, open courses, open content, etc.), augmented reality, and other tools used to deliver or enhance instruction in postsecondary settings. The conference organizers are particularly interested in examining ways these resources can be created and shared effectively and efficiently among college campuses across the Commonwealth in order to build a shared repository of openly licensed content.

This conference will tap into the a wide-range of expertise, innovation, and transformative ideas from across the Commonwealth of Virginia not only to showcase current ODLR projects and practices, but also actively link higher educational institutions together in order to develop and support a vibrant community of practice around the use of ODLR. This conference is an exciting opportunity to systematically explore how digital learning resources and networked educational experiences can lower costs, create new collaborative partnerships, and positively impact student outcomes, as well as establish a community of postsecondary institutions interested in continuing to explore this issue.