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Open Educational Resources

This guide is designed to assist faculty in the exploration, identification, evaluation, selection, and adoption of Open Educational Resources.

The Open Education Group

The Open Education Group is an interdisciplinary research group that (1) conducts original, rigorous, empirical research on the impact of OER adoption on a range of educational outcomes and (2) designs and shares methodological and conceptual frameworks for studying the impact of OER adoption. 

Their website summarizes all known empirical research on the impacts of OER adoption. Abstracted from of an article submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. New articles added as they are published.

Selected Current Research

Clinton, V. & Khan, S. (2019). Efficacy of open textbook adoption on learning performance and course withdrawal rates: A meta-analysisAERA Open, 5(3), 1-20.

This study found that there were no differences in learning efficacy between open and commercial textbooks. However, the withdrawal rate for postsecondary courses with open textbooks was significantly lower than that for commercial textbook.

Colvard, N.B., Watson, C.E., & Park, H. (2018). The impact of open educational resources on various student success metricsInternational Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 30 (2), 262-276. 

Reports the results of a large-scale study of students enrolled in courses using OER. The article concludes that OER have benefits to students beyond affordability, including improved course grades, and lower incidence of course grades of D, F, or W (withdrawn). 

Senack, E., Donoghue, R., O'Connor Grant, K., & Steen, K. (2016). "Access denied: The new face of the textbook monopoly." Student Organizing, Inc. 

Presents research from Student Public Interest Research Groups that explains how textbook access codes eliminate no- and low-cost options for students and create a direct link between the ability to pay for course materials and the ability to get good grades.

Learn More about OER

Stay Updated

Want to stay updated on OER updates and news? Subscribe to the OER Digest here! The OER Digest is your bi-weekly newsletter for open education updates, opportunities, and reminders. Subscribe to get it delivered to your inbox every other Thursday.

The State of Higher Education

  • A 2020 report found that 63% of surveyed students had skipped buying or renting a textbook because they couldn’t afford them. 17% of surveyed students had skipped buying an access code.
  • Between 1977 and 2015, textbook costs rose more than 1,000 percent, with the cost increasing 88% just between 2006 and 2016.
  • According to the College Board, the average student spends $1,200 on course materials each year. 
  • In 201913% of surveyed instructors reported using OER in their courses - more than double than that of the previous year.