“In the past I only had the official adopted textbook to choose from. Now I have the whole world, using open courseware from people who are worldwide experts in the fields I teach. I’m finding incredibly creative and innovative approaches to concepts that I wouldn’t have come up with myself. That kind of freedom is amazing.” - Linda Williams, Professor of Business, Tidewater Community College
“My students in open courses are doing better than the average students in the non-OER courses. They are more engaged, and they’re getting the math. I’m giving them the same exams, and they are outperforming students in the non-OER courses.” - Suzanne Mosdy, Math Department Head, Salt Lake Community College
“Our students are significantly more successful, and our faculty members are very comfortable with the new tools and materials. Our students have so many other challenges to navigate, that wherever we can make the path to learning easier, we must be willing to make these kinds of improvements.” - Linda Casper, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, Mercy College
There are new tools available that allow teachers to gather content from numerous places into one platform. Here are a few examples.
Lowering textbook costs can not only help improve the lives of students, but also improve the teaching experience for faculty. Here's how:
Studies have shown an increase in enrollment for courses that adopt OER. Tidewater Community College created an all-OER major that has been wildly successful. In the first year, the program had reached 800 students with a total textbook cost savings estimated at $128,000. As word about the all-OER major spread, students began enrolling at unprecedented rates. College leaders estimate the enrollment for this degree doubled in its second year, from 800 to 1500 students.
Faculty gain an increase in choices. OER provide faculty with the choice to maintain their pedagogical status quo (while saving students money and possibly improving outcomes), as well as the choice to pair truly customized instructional materials with innovative pedagogical experiences for students, and a range of choices in between. Because they increase faculty’s ability to be true teaching professionals while expanding their pedagogical degrees of freedom, OER are better for faculty.
Students have improved academic performance. Data from OER courses indicate that students get higher grades, are less likely to drop the course, and are more likely to be engaged with the instructional materials. Plus, students are generally thrilled when their professors do not require a costly textbook.