Resolved, that a special commission is hereby established to review and study the feasibility of improving the utilization of digital learning technology in institutions of higher education in order to reduce the cost of course materials, textbooks and other costs of higher education. The study shall include, but not be limited to, examining the costs of purchasing textbooks and study materials, reviewing information concerning the choice of lower cost texts, such as soft cover, one color and digital texts. It shall also explore the effective use of e-textbooks and open source material; digital learning platforms; and, other educational technology in order to encourage colleges and universities to implement comprehensive technology driven educational programs to reduce the overall cost of a higher education degree. It shall discuss the feasibility of providing incentives to those campuses that offer such programs and the methodology to provide cost containment information to the purchasers of textbooks and educational materials so that administrators, faculty and students are provided with a complete view of all available textbooks and technology for comparison purposes.
The commission shall consist of 11 members as follows: the house chair of the joint committee on higher education, the senate chair of the joint committee on higher education, the secretary of technology services and security, the commissioner of higher education, or their designee(s); and 7 members appointed by the governor: one of whom shall be from the University of Massachusetts, one of whom shall be from the Council of Presidents of the Massachusetts State Universities Executive Office, one of whom shall be from the Massachusetts Community Colleges Executive Office, one of whom shall be from the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts, two of whom shall be representatives of the college textbook/technology publishing industry with offices in the commonwealth, one of whom shall be a representative of higher education book stores in the commonwealth. Appointments to the commission shall be made within 90 days of the Governor’s approval of this Resolve. The commission shall report to the general court the results of its study and recommendations to improve utilization of comprehensive educational technology , together with drafts of legislation necessary to carry such recommendations into effect, by filing the same with the clerk of the house of representatives on or before December 1, 2019.
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