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Open Educational Resources: Benefits of OERs

The Cost of Textbooks and Materials

During the 2017-2018 academic year, students enrolled in public in-state schools spent an average of $484 for required course materials (National Association of College Stores, 2018). At the start of the fall 2017 academic year, Marshall University had 13,259 enrolled students. If just ONE of their courses each semester (assuming a 12-hour course load on average) adopted an Open Textbook or Open Educational Resource, Marshall students would save around $1.6 million per year ($484/4 X 13,259).

Benefits of Adopting OER

Free or low-cost: OERs are typically free or have very minimal costs associated with them, helping to alleviate the burden students face when attempting to access the materials they need to help meet their course's learning outcomes and to succeed (Cannon & Brickman, 2015; Hatzipanagos & Gregson, 2015). 

Provides flexibility to faculty: The adoption of OER provides faculty the flexibility and freedom to select different types of materials to suit the needs of their courses. David Wiley, the Chief Academic Officer of Lumen Learning and a Marshall University alum, argues that OER can facilitate more meaningful and inclusive pedagogical practices.

Improves student success: Students had better performance on exams, had higher final grades, were more likely to stay enrolled in a class, and were more likely to meet other course learning outcomes when they were enrolled in a course that had adopted an OER compared to being enrolled in the same course where a traditional/commercial textbook was adopted (Hilton & Laman, 2012; Clinton, 2018; Chia-Wen & Pei-Di, 2014). Worst case scenario is that students performed similarly when the OER was adopted instead of a commercial text (Choi & Carpenter, 2017).

Their ease of use, ability to take the materials anywhere, and the inclusion of diverse and interactive materials were also cited as benefits to OERs (Kinsky, King, & Miller, 2018).

*Yes, we understand the irony of not having open access to all the linked articles.

An Introduction to OER Benefits

Video by Abbey Elder is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 International license: