An Open Educational Resources Journey: OERs in Multi-Section Courses in an Access College

An Open Educational Resources Journey: OERs in Multi-Section Courses in an Access College

Barbara Graham Tucker (Dalton State College, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 20
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1200-5.ch010
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The open educational resources movement in higher education has largely been driven by concerns over increasing textbook costs and the resulting barriers to access. As the movement has gained traction in sectors of higher education, research has focused on achievement of student learning outcomes. Advocates of OERs point to research indicating that students do as well, and sometimes better, with OERs as with traditionally published textbooks. A study of 10 grant-funded OER projects in a Southeastern access public college found comparable results with the adoption of OERs but not the same level of improvement found in other studies. A deeper investigation into the work involved in the creation of an OER for a multi-section communication course found interesting patterns of use by students as well as a set of lessons learned for the creators.
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Anyone venturing into the world of research on Open Educational Resources (OERs) will first encounter the theme of access and cost savings. Certainly, students across the United States and the world are saving millions, possibly more, from faculty adoption and use of OERs (Hilton, Robinson, Wiley, & Ackerman, 2014; Affordable Learning Georgia, 2019). That statement is indisputable. Also indisputable are students’ positive attitudes about these OERs and their cost savings (Grissett & Huffman, 2019). Any student who walks into an introductory biology or principles of macroeconomics class the first day and learns the textbook will be zero-cost, in contrast to $300 or more, will probably be elated. Further research indicates that students also perceive OERs to be of high quality (Ikahihifo, Spring, Rosecrans, & Watson, 2017). In fact, Grissett and Huffman (2019) concluded that existing research suggests that “there are few if any differences between outcomes . . . of open textbooks as compared to traditional textbooks” (p. 22).

The Open Educational Resources movement in higher education has been driven by concerns over increasing textbook costs and over desires for greater accessibility in higher education (Hewlett Foundation, 2013). According to Weller, de los Arcos, Farrow, Pitt, and McAndrew (2015), the movement took initial shape in 2001 with MIT’s OpenCourseWare Project. These authors also noted that open educational resources are characterized in the minds of those who are aware of them by sharability, contextualization, access, and low cost.

However, even with more than 17 years as a movement in higher education, the majority of faculty members are unaware or only vaguely aware of OERS, their driving factors, their benefits, and the research base supporting their quality in comparison to traditional publishers’ texts (Seaman & Seaman, 2017). Those who are aware of OERs but nonusers may avoid them out of a number of reasons, such as the following:

Key Terms in this Chapter

Affordable Learning Georgia Textbook Transformation Grants: Beginning in 2014, the legislator of the State of Georgia began the funding of grants to faculty its 29 colleges and universities in the University System of Georgia for creation, compilation, curation, revision, and adoption of open resources. Faculty either individually or in groups, may submit proposals outlining how they will adopt, create, or compile open resources in their classrooms, forecasting cost reductions for students as well as sustainability.

Public Domain: These are published works that are no longer protected by copyright law, for various reasons. The most common reason is copyright expiration after a certain amount of time. This time element varies based on current copyright law in the nation where copyright was granted.

Mobile-Friendly: A text and images can be seen on a mobile device (usually a smartphone) as it should be seen and would be seen on a desktop or laptop screen.

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