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OER - Open Educational Resources

Research, explore, and learn how to use OER materials for instruction and learning.

OER Research & Literature

The resources below present information about OER and their impact and application for classroom instruction. Many of these articles provide evidence-based studies surrounding the development and/or adaption of OER. 


Bliss, T.J., John Hilton III, David Wiley, and Kim Thanos. "The Cost and Quality of Online Open Textbooks: Perceptions of Community College Faculty and Students." First Monday, vol. 18, no.1, 2013.

Studied satisfaction rates and perceptions of OER in a community college population. 

Colvard, Nicholas, and C. Edward Watson. "The Impact of Open Educational Resources on Various Student Success Metrics." International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, vol. 30, no. 2, 2018, pp. 262-275.

Investigated benefits for using OER beyond cost savings. Nearly 22,000 students were studied between 2010 and 2016, about half in non-OER classes and half in OER classes. 

Feldstein, Andrew, Martin, Mirta, Hudson, Amy, Warren, Kiara, Hilton III, John Levi, and David Wiley. "Open Textbooks And Increased Student Access And Outcomes." European Journal Of Open, Distance And E-Learning, 2012.

Core business courses at Virginia State University replaced traditional textbooks with OER content, resulting in more students accessing the textbook (compared to sales of hard copies) and higher grades. Students surveyed reported very high satisfaction with OER materials.

Fischer, Lane, Hilton III, John, Robinson, Jared T., and David Wiley. "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, vol. 27, no. 3, December 2015, pp. 159-172.

Research study across multiple institutions on the efficacy of OER materials in undergraduate classes. 

Pawlyshyn, Nancy,  Braddlee, Bradlee,Casper, Linda, and Howard Miller. "Adopting OER: A Case Study of Cross-Institutional Collaboration and Innovation." Educause Review Online, 4 Nov. 2013.

Study of OER implementation at an underperforming first-year seminar at Mercy College (NY). 

Cost Savings

Hilton III, John Levi, Gaudet, Donna, Clark, Phil, Robinson, Jared, and David Wiley. "The Adoption of Open Educational Resources by One Community College Math Department." The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, vol. 14, no. 4, September 2013.

Community college students and faculty react favorably to the use of OER texts in five different math classes. OER adoption is credited with significant cost savings for students. 

Hilton III, John Levi, Robinson, T. Jared, Wiley, David, and Ackerman, J. Dale. "Cost-Savings Achieved in Two Semesters Through the Adoption of Open Educational Resources." The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, vol. 15, no. 2, 2014.

Students enjoyed significant savings in eight colleges where OER materials were used. Study data and comparisons to traditional textbook prices are examined.

Surveys & Reports

Babson's Freeing the Textbook: Open Education Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2018

2017-2018 survey on teaching materials in U.S. higher education that shows a steady growth in awareness of open educational resources (OER). Responses from over 4,000 faculty and department chairpersons.

Findings from Year 2 of Achieving the Dream’s OER Degree Initiative, 2018

Initiative spurred significant expansion of OER courses and enrollments at participating college, with students finding OER materials more relevant, easier to navigate, and better aligned with learning objectives than traditional textbooks. Faculty saw increased student engagement with OER materials while college leaders saw OER degrees connected to other institutional strategic goals, including affordability, increased access and equity, decreased time to degree, and improved pedagogy.

OER at Scale: The Academic and Economic Outcomes of Achieving the Dream's OER Degree Initiative, 2020

Final report sharing findings from a three-year research and evaluation study on the Achieving the Dream (ATD) OER Degree Initiative, involving 38 community colleges across 13 states. Expands on findings from first two studies, as well as highlighting critical results, including cost savings to students and programs and promising academic outcomes with students enrolled in multiple OER courses earning more credits than those not enrolled.