- A study is showing potentially promising results for utilizing open educational resources in college classrooms, with students reporting that they engage more with OER material than their peers who don't use it, while professors were more likely to report changes in their teaching methods when using OER, according to Community College Daily.
- The study was conducted by Achieving the Dream and surveyed 38 community colleges, with initial results indicating that students could save about $134 per course (between 5% and 22% of annual textbook costs) by using OER materials — though the report notes that these results were preliminary.
- 71% of instructors said they were likely to promote OER to other professors, and Achieving the Dream’s $9.8 million initiative to promote OER usage might make such materials available to at least 76,000 students within the next three years.
OER usage looks likely to triple within the next five years, with a survey from September indicating a jump in faculty members utilizing OER as their primary resources jumping from 4% to 12% in that time. There are cost benefits for institutions, which may be able to attract applicants wary of onerous student debt by the lower cost per class. However, faculty members do report that it takes more time to prepare a class using OER materials as opposed to personalized materials, which will be a greater investment from staff.
Administrators and schools, whether in higher ed or K-12, must also be cognizant of the quality of the OER materials they are using, ensuring that educators have the support and time to properly vet such materials. In an interview with Education Dive last year, OER expert and Knovation founder Randy Wilhelm said that educators were spending up to 12 hours each week searching for OER content, and while he said there was “ample OER on the web to instruct virtually any class,” finding quality OER can take more time than expected. Planning for that additional time is a necessity, and can also be compounded when dealing with OER content that has not been maintained and may have a dead link, another problem Wilhelm described.