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.
- open educational resources,
- open textbooks,
- Allen, G., Guzman-Alvarez, A., Molinaro, M., & Larsen, D. S. (2015, January). Assessing the impact and efficacy of the open-access ChemWiki textbook project. Educause learning Initiative Brief. Retrieved from https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/elib1501.pdf
- Allen, E., & Seaman, J. (2014). Opening the curriculum: Open educational resources in U.S. Higher Education. Babson Survey Research Group. Retrieved from http://www.onlinelearningsurvey.com/oer.html
- Bliss, T., Hilton, J., Wiley, D., & Thanos, K. (2013a). The cost and quality of open textbooks: Perceptions of community college faculty and students. First Monday, 18, 1.
- Bliss, T., Robinson, T. J., Hilton, J., & Wiley, D. A. (2013b). An OER COUP: College teacher and student perceptions of open educational resources. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, 1-25.
- Bowen, W. G., Chingos, M. M., Lack, K. A., & Nygren, T. I. (2014). Interactive learning online at public universities: Evidence from a six-campus randomized trial. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 33(1), 94-111. doi: 10.1002/pam.21728
- Chen, S.-J. (2016). College costs, freshman enrollment, and student quality: Evidence from an urban state university. International Journal of Information and Education Technology, 6 (9), 664-671. doi: 10.7763/IJIET.2016.V6.771
- Fischer, L., Hilton, J., Robinson, T.J., & Wiley, D. A. (2015). A multi-institutional study of the impact of open textbook adoption on the learning outcomes of post-secondary students. Journal of Computing in Higher Education. 27(3), 159-172.
- Florida Virtual Campus. (2012). 2012 Florida student textbook survey. Tallahassee. Retrieved from http://www.openaccesstextbooks.org/pdf/2012_Florida_Student_Textbook_Survey.pdf
- Hewlett Foundation (n.d.). Open educational resources (Blog post). Retrieved from http://www.hewlett.org/programs/education-program/open-educational-resources
- Hilton, J. (2016). Open educational resources and college textbook choices: a review of research on efficacy and perceptions. Educational Technology Research and Development. doi: http://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-016-9434-9
- Hilton, J. L., Robinson, T. J., Wiley, D., & Ackerman, J. D. (2014). Cost-savings achieved in two semesters through the adoption of open educational resources. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 15(2). Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1700
- Jhangiani, R. S., Pitt, R., Hendricks, C., Key, J., & Lalonde, C. (2016). Exploring faculty use of open educational resources at British Columbia post-secondary institutions. BCcampus Research Report. Victoria, BC: BCcampus.
- Kelly, H. (2014). A path analysis of educator perceptions of open educational resources using the technology acceptance model. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 15(2), 26-42. Retrieved from http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/1715/2881
- Lindshield, B., & Adhikari, K. (2013). Online and campus college students like using an open educational resource instead of a traditional textbook. Journal of Online Learning & Teaching, 9(1), 1-7.
- Mitchell, M., & Leachman, M., (2015). Years of cuts threaten to put college out of reach for more students. Retrieved from https://www.luminafoundation.org/resources/years-of-cuts-threaten-to-put-college-out-of-reach-for-more-students
- Murphy, A. (2013). Open educational practices in higher education: Institutional adoption and challenges. Distance Education, 34(2), 201-217.
- Pawlyshyn, N., Braddlee, D., Casper, L., & Miller, H. (2013). Adopting OER: A case study of cross-institutional collaboration and innovation. Educause Review. Retrieved from http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/adopting-oer-case-study-cross-institutional-collaboration-and-innovation
- Petrides, L., Jimes, C., Middleton-Detzner, C., Walling, J., & Weiss, S. (2011). Open textbook adoption and use: implications for teachers and learners. Open Learning, 26(1), 39-49. doi: http://doi.org/10.1080/02680513.2011.538563
- Rowell, J. L. (2015). Student perceptions: Teaching and learning with open educational resources (Doctoral dissertation). ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. (Accession Order No. 3727487)
- Senack, E. (2015). Open textbooks: The billion-dollar solution. The Student PIRGs. Retrieved from https://studentpirgs.org/sites/student/files/reports/The%20Billion%20Dollar%20Solution.pdf
- Shin, J., & Milton, S. (2006). Rethinking tuition effects on enrollment in public four-year colleges and universities. Review of Higher Education, 29(2), 213-237. doi: 10.1353/rhe.2005.0086
- The College Board (2016). Annual survey of colleges. Retrieved from https://trends.collegeboard.org/sites/default/files/trends-college-pricing-web-final-508-2.pdf
- UNESCO. (2002). Forum on the impact of open courseware for higher education in developing countries. Final report. Retrieved from http://www.unesco.org/iiep/eng/focus/opensrc/PDF/OERForumFinalReport.pdf
- Wiley, D., & Green, C. (2012). Why openness in education? In D. G. Oblinger (Ed.), Game changers: Education and information technologies (pp. 81-89). Retrieved from https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/pub72036.pdf
- Wiley, D., Hilton III, J.L., Ellington, S., & Hall, T. (2012). A preliminary examination of the cost savings and learning impacts of using open textbooks in middle and high school science classes. The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 13(3).