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COTC: Open Educational Resources: OER Research

Research Articles

Open Educational Resources and Student Course Outcomes: A Multilevel Analysis

International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning; June 2017, Vol. 18 Issue 4, p35-49.  From the abstract: Salt Lake Community College’s OER initiative was implemented in Summer 2014, and has since expanded to include 125 sections in Spring 2016. We examine OER’s impact on three measures of student success: course grade, likelihood of passing, and likelihood of withdrawing. We use a multilevel modeling (MLM) approach in order to control for student, instructor, and course effects, and found no difference between courses using OER and traditional textbooks for continuing students. For new students, there is evidence that OER increases average grade.

The Impact of Enrollment in an OER Course on Student Learning Outcomes

International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning; June 2017, Vol. 18 Issue 4, p231-238.  From the abstract: This study analyzed the effect enrollment in an OER course had on student academic achievement when controlling for prior academic achievement in an introductory online history course at a large community college. Correlation analysis and simple linear regression were conducted. The results of this research indicate a significant positive moderate correlation between OER and student achievement. 

Maintaining Momentum Toward Graduation: OER and the Course Throughput Rate.

International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning. Dec2016, Vol. 17 Issue 6, p18-27. From the abstract: In this case study, we compared students using traditional textbooks with those using OER at Tidewater Community College to compare their performance on what we call course throughput rates, which is an aggregate of three variables - drop rates, withdrawal rates, and C or better rates. Two self-selecting cohorts were compared over four semesters, with statistically significant results. The study found that, subject to the limitations discussed, students who use OER perform significantly better on the course throughput rate than their peers who use traditional textbooks, in both face-to-face and online courses that use OER.

Open educational resources and college textbook choices: a review of research on efficacy and perceptions. 

Educational Technology Research and Development Vol. 64, Iss. 4, August 2016, pp. 573-590.  From the abstract: This article synthesizes the results of 16 studies that examine either (1) the influence of OER on student learning outcomes in higher education settings or (2) the perceptions of college students and instructors of OER. Results across multiple studies indicate that students generally achieve the same learning outcomes when OER are utilized and simultaneously save significant amounts of money. Studies across a variety of settings indicate that both students and faculty are generally positive regarding OER.

Assessing the Savings from Open Educational Resources on Student Academic Goals

International Review of Research in Open & Distance Learning. Nov2017, Vol. 18 Issue 7, p126-140  From the abstract: Our study found that most students considered OER to be as good or better in terms of quality and engagement as traditional texts, while also allowing them to put saved funds toward their educational pursuits.  As rising costs in higher education affect current and potential students, faculty and students are looking for ways to cut costs where possible.  Open educational resources (OER) are a viable option to replace expensive traditional textbooks without sacrificing quality.  This article presents the results of a study conducted with students at a Virginia community college who took courses that used OER.  At the end of the semester, students were asked to rate their perceptions of the OER quality and their level of engagement with OER as compared to traditional textbooks.  Results indicate that a majority of students found the OER to be as good as or better than traditional textbooks in both quality and engagement.  While similar studies have been conducted, this study also asked students to briefly describe how they used the money saved by not having to purchase a textbook.  Many students indicated they used the money to reinvest in their education by paying tuition, purchasing materials for other courses, or taking additional courses; day-to-day expenses and savings were the next most common responses.  Further research needs to be conducted to understand the effect these savings and reinvestment have on students’ completion of academic goals.