The Babson Survey Research Group recently published the results of a large survey that “examines the attitudes, opinions, and use of Open Educational Resources (OER) among teaching faculty.” The report, which was funded by Pearson and the Hewlett Foundation, found that while faculty are not very aware of open educational resources, they do appreciate the concepts of OER. Additional findings include:
- More faculty are using OER than report that they were aware of the term OER. Resource adoption decisions are driven by a wide variety of factors, with the efficacy of the material being cited most often.
- Faculty judge the quality of OER to be roughly equivalent to that of traditional educational 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.
- Faculty are the key decision makers for OER adoption. Faculty are almost always involved in an adoption decision and have the primary role.
The Hewlett Foundation has released a white paper on Open Educational Resources (OER). The paper explores the potential of OER to enable “anyone to tap into, translate and tailor educational materials previously reserved only for students at elite universities.” The paper explores infrastructure investments that will move OER adpotion to the mainstream and “deliver high quality content, promote supportive policies, and develop practical standards for OER materials.” See also the related report on OER ecosystems (PDF).
Two U.S. Senators have introduced the Affordable College Textbook Act, a bill that would “encourage the creation of free online textbooks by offering grants for pilot projects that produce high-quality open-access textbooks, especially for courses with large enrolments.” Grant money would be available to help faculty find and review open textbooks, as well as to conduct research on how well open-access textbooks meet students’ and faculty members’ needs.
The Commonwealth of Learning has published a report on the findings and lessons learned from an investigation into the “economics of disaggregated models for assessing and accrediting informal learners within the OER University consortium.” The report examines potential models to address assessment, certification and accreditation issues for formal and informal learning contexts using open educational resources (OER).