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Open Educational Resources (OERs)
Open Educational Resources (OERs) are any type of educational materials that are in the public domain or have an open license.
"This literature review focuses on the concept of OER, its essential definitions, its potential benefits, its open nature, and various aspects of adoption. The research findings indicate that the OER movement has not expanded fully into educational sectors, and the level of faculty and student awareness is quite low. The research also reveals that the
current status of OER adoption in educational sectors is minimal. Additionally, OER adoption has encountered several obstacles; potential users have difficulty finding the proper OER materials, and there are quality control issues with resources."
"Based on a systematic search of research findings, there were no differences in learning efficacy between open textbooks and commercial textbooks (k = 22, g = 0.01, p = .87, N = 100,012). However, the withdrawal rate for postsecondary courses with open textbooks was significantly lower than that for commercial textbooks (k = 11, OR (odds ratio) = 0.71, p = .005, N = 78,593)."
"Hilton examines, critiques and synthesizes the results of 16 studies of OER use in higher education that were published prior to October 2015. Nine of the studies measured student learning outcomes when open educational resources were used in place of commercial textbooks. Hilton’s analysis of these studies revealed that the use of OER does not indicate a decrease in student learning and similar outcomes can be expected, regardless of the provenance of the content. A significant benefit of using OER is the financial savings for students, when the high cost of commercially produced textbooks is factored in. Seven other studies analyzed teacher and student perceptions of OER. The author’s synthesis of these studies indicates that both student and faculty perceptions of OER are positive. Hilton cautions that these conclusions were drawn from studies whose research methodologies were not consistently rigorous and provides useful strategies for future studies to consider and overcome these limitations."
"This paper reviews key literature on OER and ROER, in order to understand the roles ROER are said or supposed to fulfill in relation to furthering the aims of the OER movement. Four themes which should shape repository design are identified, and the following 10 quality indicators (QI) for ROER effectiveness are discussed: featured resources; user evaluation tools; peer review; authorship of the resources; keywords of the resources; use of standardised metadata; multilingualism of the repositories; inclusion of social media tools; specification of the creative commons license; availability of the source code or original files."
"Research regarding open educational resources focuses on methods of producing OER, methods of sharing OER, and the benefits of OER. Significant issues relating to OER remain unresolved, including business model and discovery problems."
"The purpose of this study was to analyze whether the adoption of no-cost open digital textbooks significantly predicted students’ completion of courses, class achievement, and enrollment intensity during and after semesters in which OER were used. This study utilized a quantitative quasi-experimental design with propensity-score matched groups to examine differences in outcomes between students that used OER and those who did not. The demographics of the initial sample of 16,727 included 4909 students in the treatment condition with a pool of 11,818 in the control condition. There were statistically significant differences between groups, with most favoring students utilizing OER...In three key measures of student success—course completion, final grade of C- or higher, course grade– students whose faculty chose OER generally performed as well or better than students whose faculty assigned commercial textbooks."
The Babson Survey Research Group's 2018 National Higher Education Report. Responses from over 4,000 faculty and department chairpersons paint a picture of steady improvement, with almost 50% of faculty now reporting OER awareness.
"Academic institutions are increasingly developing programmatic approaches to support the creation, adoption, and adaptation of affordable course content (ACC) and open educational resources (OER) as part of wider strategic initiatives to enhance the access to and affordability of higher education and to improve teaching and learning...Such materials share the idea of adaptability, low or no cost to students, and more control for faculty who use them."
"In this paper, 936 faculty free response reviews of open textbooks from the Open Textbook Library were analyzed for content and themes. The reviews were completed by faculty members at institutions in the United States and Canada. The textbooks were evaluated regarding their comprehensiveness, content accuracy, relevance longevity, clarity, consistency, modularity, organization structure flow, interface, grammatical errors, and cultural relevance. The results of the reviews found that the across 9360 comments regarding the quality of open textbooks, of these comments 97.3% reflected adequate or exceptional reviews of the textbooks. Faculty often compared the texts to traditional textbooks and in all mentions of comparison, the open textbook were regarded to be of equal or superior quality."
"The more faculty who use OER, the more these materials will be vetted. One of the most appealing features of OERs is that users are invited to modify the resources and with more faculty using OERs the better these resources will be. In many ways this is a form of academic freedom that will preclude having instructors bending the course to conform to a textbook. The sifting and winnowing of material will help OERs evolve. BPBs [Big Publisher Books] have inherited a veneer of quality not based in empirical tests of their links to learning."
" It is almost impossible for a university to institute a successful OER program without faculty support and involvement. Therefore, it is critical that campus OER leaders understand the faculty perspective and work to address their concerns."
A chapter in Open: The Philosophy and Practices that are Revolutionizing Education and Science (2017), the authors note "there was a high degree of satisfaction with OER across all types of user, with a large percentage willing to access further OER and to recommend them. However, OER brand recognition was weak compared with other popular resource sites, and finding appropriate OER was a major obstacle. Use of OER increases satisfaction and engagement with learning and is seen as saving students money. Users look for relevance, reputation and clear learning outcomes when selecting OER. The use of OER is not confined to one or two disciplines, with all subjects well represented, and a range of formats are accessed, although video remains the most significant...The use of OER is often couched in terms of benefit to the learner, but the impact on educators could be equally significant...An open license potentially allows an educator to take existing content from several different sources (for example, different open textbooks, videos) and adapt this to their own context, to produce something that is ideally suited to their specific learning outcomes in a way that a generic textbook can never be."
"This paper presents the results of collaborative research between open textbook provider OpenStax College (OSC) and the OER Research Hub (OERRH), a Hewlett funded mixed methods open research project examining the impact of open educational resources (OER) on learning and teaching."
"This report provides an overview of definitions of quality for OER, suggests a conceptual mapping and reviews the major issues related to the quality for OER. It also identifies recommendations for policymakers at European and Member State level on quality assurance and OER with a view to supporting the further development and use of OER in Europe."
"Open educational resources (OER), now in their 15th year of existence, consists of, in principle, fully open educational content, available for free to all and are adaptable to serve the needs of the user. They were created as a response to the high cost of textbooks and as a means of leveling the playing field in terms of ensuring equal access to education for disadvantaged populations. The selected resources below attest to the fact that a concerted effort is well underway to address and overcome these challenges. Institutions are increasingly investing in OER as research has demonstrated that they have a positive role to play in student learning. Libraries, already champions of copyright and open access initiatives, have the expertise to advocate for and collaborate on efforts to further the growth and impact of open educational resources both within their institutions and beyond."
"The Penn State OER Task Force was charged in February 2015 to explore OER adoption and creation at the university in support of President Barron’s access and affordability imperative. The Task Force met with several university stakeholders, benchmarked OER and affordable course content initiatives at peer institutions, hosted an OER Summit event, and conducted proof-of-concept pilots to investigate OER adoption underway and the support needed to scale adoption."
"The main obstacles for faculty using OER are no appropriate OER, no time, and limited sources. Although faculty are interested in using OER, they don't know where to find appropriate OER to fit in their curriculum."
"This article presents the findings of a research study conducted by the Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management of Education (ISKME) on CCOTP (The Community College Open Textbook Project). The study examined the adoption and use patterns of teachers and learners as end users of open textbooks, finding that important initial drivers of use included reduced cost, dependable quality and ease of use, and that teachers and learners use open textbooks in ways that reflect their existing teaching and learning practices. The study also showed the potential for new teaching and learning behaviours aligned to the use of open textbooks, including increased teacher collaboration on curriculum development and the interactivity of open materials as an enhancement of student learning. In addition, the study identified challenges for the sustainability of the open textbook model, including teacher technological efficacy and professional development that supports open textbook use."
"When MIT first announced its Open Courseware (OCW) initiative in October 2002, it shook the business model of traditional higher education institutions that had established "virtual universities" in an attempt to sell their brand and their educational resources worldwide....Fast-forward to October 2012: OERs have failed to significantly affect the day-to-day teaching of the vast majority of higher education institutions."
"To address the high cost of textbooks, Rice University's Connexions and the Community College Open Textbook Project (CCOTP) collaborated to develop a proof-of-concept free and open textbook. The proof-of-concept served to document a workflow process that would support adoption of open textbooks. Open textbooks provide faculty and students with a low cost alternative to traditional publishers' textbooks and can help to make higher education more affordable. Connexions provides a publishing platform for open textbook projects."