Why Use OER?
OER has been shown to increase student learning while breaking down barriers of affordability and accessibility. Feldstein et al. (2012) conducted a research study at Virginia State University, where OER were implemented across nine different courses in the business department. Researchers found that students in courses that used OER more frequently had better grades and lower failure and withdrawal rates than their counterparts in courses that did not use OER.
- According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, 7 in 10 students didn’t purchase a textbook because it was too expensive.
- One in five college students has skipped or deferred a class due to the price of the required learning resources.
- The cost of textbooks is rising at a rate of 4 times inflation
- 60% of students have delayed purchasing textbooks until they’ve received their financial aid.
OERs give faculty the ability to customize course materials, creating the “perfect” course packet or textbook instead of being bound to a traditional one-size-fits-all model. Customization gives faculty control over the quality of their course materials as well as the type and timing of updates to textbooks and other resources.
A Review of Research on Efficacy and Perceptions of Open Educational Resources
Hilton, J. (2016) Open educational resources and college textbook choices: a review of research on efficacy and perceptions. Education Tech Research and Development, 64(4), 573 – 590. synthesizes the results of 16 studies that examine either (1) the influence of OER on student learning outcomes in higher education settings or (2) the perceptions of college students and instructors of OER. Results across multiple studies indicate that students generally achieve the same learning outcomes when OER are utilized and simultaneously save significant amounts of money.
This video summarizes the available research synthesized in the article.
Advantages of using OERs include:
- expanded access to learning. Students anywhere in the world can access OERs at any time, and they can access the material repeatedly.
- scalability. OERs are easy to distribute widely with little or no cost.
- augmentation of class materials. OERs can supplement textbooks and lectures where deficiencies in information are evident.
- enhancement of regular course content. For example, multimedia material such as videos can accompany text. Presenting information in multiple formats may help students to more easily learn the material being taught.
- quick circulation. Information may be disseminated rapidly (especially when compared to information published in textbooks or journals, which may take months or even years to become available). Quick availability of material may increase the timeliness and/or relevance of the material being presented.
- showcasing of innovation and talent. A wide audience may learn of faculty research interests and expertise. Potential students and donors may be impressed, and student and faculty recruitment efforts may be enhanced.
- ties for alumni. OERs provide an excellent way for alumni to stay connected to the institution and continue with a program of lifelong learning.
- continually improved resources. Unlike textbooks and other static sources of information, OERs can be improved quickly through direct editing by users or through solicitation and incorporation of user feedback. Instructors can take an existing OER, adapt it for a class, and make the modified OER available for others to use.
Faculty and Student Experience with the Use of an Open Textbook at the University of Georgia
Peggy Brickman, biology professor at the University of Georgia, chose OpenStax College’s Concepts of Biology to use in her non-majors biology course.
To learn more, visit http://openstaxcollege.org
Student Experience with OER at San Francisco State University
Did you know that 66% of SF State student’s surveyed did not purchase one or more required textbooks for their classes because they were too expensive? Almost half of those students felt that not purchasing the required textbook negatively impacted their learning.
You can learn more at the Affordable Learning at San Francisco State Website and from the videos below.
Feldstein, A., Martin, M., Hudson, A., Warren, K., Hilton, J., & Wiley, D. (2012). Open textbooks and increased student access and outcomes. European Journal of Open, Distance and E–Learning.