Open Educational Resources

Detailed State Examination

Opening Public Institutions: OER in North Dakota and the Nation, 2015

Opening Public Institutions: OER in North Dakota and the Nation, 2015

North Dakota University System faculty are just beginning to understand the potential for open educational resources. The Open Educational Resources Initiative in North Dakota is the result of a 2013 Legislative interest urging the North Dakota University System (NDUS) to reduce the cost of textbooks estimated to be $1,100 per year per student. The idea is now becoming a reality with the launch of a statewide initiative.

This study is a statewide replication of the Babson Survey Research Group national investigation of OER adoption and will be used as a benchmark, against which future advances will be measured. The North Dakota results, based on responses from faculty at the 11 NDUS campuses, are compared with those from the national sample of over 2,000 faculty members. Some of the key findings:

  • Faculty are not very aware of open educational resources. Depending on the strictness of the awareness measure, between two-thirds and three-quarters of all faculty classify themselves as unaware on OER.
  • NDUS faculty are more aware of open educational resources than their counterparts nationally.
  • Similar to their peers nationally, NDUS faculty are taking the initiative with OER adoption. NDUS faculty report similar barriers to adoption; however, they also report that they are currently using a variety of OERs for instruction (primarily videos).
  • More than half of NDUS faculty and those at national public institutions report that they are not sufficiently aware of OER to judge its quality.
  • The most significant barrier to wider adoption of OER remains a faculty perception of the time and effort required to find and evaluate it.
  • Faculty are the key decision makers for OER adoption. At the two-year Associates level, North Dakota University System faculty enjoy significantly more autonomy in the selection of course materials than their peers who teach at the associates level at public institutions nationally.
  • A majority of North Dakota University System faculty say that they “will” or “might” use open resources in the next three years.

The report is available for download: Opening Public Institutions: OER in North Dakota and the Nation, 2015 (pdf)

National Reports

Opening the Curriculum: Open Education Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2014

Opening the Curriculum: Open Education Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2014

This report, funded by a grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation with additional support from Pearson, examines the attitudes, opinions, and use of Open Educational Resources (OER) among teaching faculty in U.S. higher education. Some of the key findings:

  • Faculty are not very aware of open educational resources. Depending on the strictness of the awareness measure, between two-thirds and three-quarters of all faculty classify themselves as unaware on OER.
  • Faculty appreciate the concepts of OER. When presented with the concept of OER, most faculty say that they are willing to give it a try.
  • Awareness of OER is not a requirement for adoption of OER. More faculty are using OER than report that they were aware of the term OER. Resource adoption decisions are often made without any awareness of the specific licensing of the material, or its OER status.
  • Faculty judge the quality of OER to be roughly equivalent to that of traditional educational resources. Among faculty who do offer an opinion, three-quarters rank OER quality as the same as or better than traditional resources.
  • The most significant barrier to wider adoption of OER remains a faculty perception of the time and effort required to find and evaluate it. The top three cited barriers among faculty members for OER adoption all concern the discovery and evalua- tion of OER materials.
  • Faculty are the key decision makers for OER adop- tion. Faculty are almost always involved in an adoption decision and — except for rare instances — have the primary role. The only exceptions are in a minority of two-year and for-profit institutions, where the administration takes the lead.

The report is available for download:

Opening the Curriculum: Open Educational Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2014 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Growing the Curriculum: Open Education Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2012

Growing the Curriculum: Open Education Resources in U.S. Higher Education

This 2012 report, funded by a grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation with additional support from Pearson, examines the role of Open Educational Resources in higher education. As part of the ongoing Babson Survey Research Group’s online learning reports, we have asked institutional academic leaders questions on their knowledge, use and opinion of OER as part of the 2009 - 2011 surveys. In addition, BSRG conducted surveys asking faculty in higher education and academic technology administrators their opinions of these resources. Our survey of faculty on their use of social media also asked for faculty opinions on OER. This report uses data from all of these sources. Some of the key findings from the executive summary:

  • Most academic leaders are at least somewhat aware of open education resources (OER) and slightly over half list themselves as ‘Aware’ or ‘Very aware.’
  • Only one-half of all chief academic officers report that any of the courses at their institution currently use OER materials.
  • In 2011, most surveyed academic leaders report that open education resources will have value for their campus; 57 percent agree that they have value and less than five percent disagree.
  • Nearly two-thirds of all chief academic officers agree that open education resources have the potential to reduce costs for their institution.
  • There is wide agreement among academic leaders that open education resources will save time in the development of new courses.
  • Over one-half of academic leaders agree or strongly agree that open education resources would be more useful if there was a single clearinghouse.
  • Among faculty, cost (88% reporting as important or very important) and ease of use (86%) are most important for selecting online resources.
  • The time and effort to find and evaluate are consistently listed as the most important barriers by faculty to the adoption of open education resources.
  • Older faculty have a greater level of concern with all potential barriers to open education resource adoption than do younger faculty.

The report is available for download: