The California Learning Resource Network passed away at 11:59PM June 30th due to complications caused by the Local Control Funding Formula. CLRN is survived by two sister projects, TechSETS and TICAL, by two offspring, the eLearning Strategies Symposium and the California eLearning Census and by several dedicated employees.
CLRN began as a CUE public domain software project, located at the San Mateo County Office of Education, where its mother, Ann Lathrop, worked as a library consultant. Given the name SOFTSWAP in 1980, the project was a staple at CUE conferences and in the CUE Newsletter. In 1982, when Governor Brown established the Teacher Education and Computer Centers (TECC), SOFTWAP was renamed the California Software Clearinghouse, with Ann continuing to shepherd reviews. When the Software Clearinghouse was asked to evaluate instructional video, Harry Bakker, later the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction at the Stanislaus County Office of Education, stepped forward to create the California Instructional Video Clearinghouse. By 1987, both Clearinghouses were reviewing resources from six subject areas and were publishing their reviews in Technology in the Curriculum (TIC) guides.
In 1989, Ann Lathrop moved to CSU Long Beach and took the Software Clearinghouse with her. At this time, work began to broadcast evaluations online. Then, in 1995, both Clearinghouses combined to form the California Instructional Technology Clearinghouse. John Vaille, former CUE Executive Director, became the Clearinghouse’s first director. Brian Bridges was hired a year later.
When the content standards movement began in the late 1990s, new legislation to formalize the California Technology Assistance Project and several Statewide Educational Technology Services created an RFP for an electronic learning resource project. In 1999, the Clearinghouse became the California Learning Resource Network, and Brian moved to work with CTAP Region 6. Several CLRN directors followed, but he returned as CLRN’s director in 2007.
CLRN will best be remembered for its impact on course quality, its development of national standards for quality online courses, the increasingly popular eLearning Strategies Symposium, and the California eLearning Census. While initially only 25% of online courses qualified to be CLRN Certified, publishers utilized reviewer comments to supplement content and add more interactive components. By CLRN’s passing, 70% of all courses earned certification, providing more high-quality teaching and learning experiences for California’s educators and students.
CRLN’s body will lie at rest at http://clrn.org for several years, hosting nearly 700 online course reviews, 3000+ electronic learning resource reviews, and 6000+ reviews of open educational resources. Remembrances should be sent to Governor Brown and the California legislature to remind them of the damage that the Local Control Funding Formula has created.