open educational resources

Use of Open Educational Resources on the Rise

Awareness of open educational resources (OER)—freely accessible, openly licensed text, media, and other digital assets that are useful for teaching, learning, and assessing—among U.S. higher education teaching faculty has increased by 12 percentage points during the past three years but remains less than a majority, according to a new report.

The study by the Babson Survey Research Group, Freeing the Textbook: Educational Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2018, was supported by a grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and is based on responses from more than 4,000 faculty and department chairs. The study shows improvements in OER awareness, and growing concern among faculty regarding the cost of course materials.

Key findings from the report include:

“OER could provide an answer to the cost concerns that faculty have, while also supporting the ‘revise’ and ‘remix’ approach to textbook content that faculty are already using,” said Dr. Julia Seaman, research director for the Babson Survey Research Group. “Growth of OER has been slow but steady for the past four years, held back by a lack of awareness of OER and a perceived lack of offerings. That said, factors like a growing acceptance of digital media and concerns over the cost of textbooks could accelerate the expansion of OER awareness and use in the future.”

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