Faculty Survey Finds Awareness of Open Educational Resources (OER) Up Amid Growing Concern with Textbook Costs
Babson Survey Research Group study finds faculty also tend to make changes to textbooks in ways that align with OER use.
Jan 09, 2019, 10:42 ET
WELLESLEY, Mass., Jan. 9, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Awareness of open educational resources (OER) among U.S. higher education teaching faculty has increased by 12 percentage points over the past three years, but remains less than a majority, according to the new report.
The study by the Babson Survey Research Group, Freeing the Textbook: Educational Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2018, was supported by a grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and is based on responses from over 4,000 faculty and department chairpersons. The study shows improvements in OER awareness, and growing concern among faculty regarding the cost of course materials.
Key findings from the report include:
- Faculty awareness of OER has increased every year, with 46 percent of faculty now aware of open educational resources, up from 34 percent three years ago.
- For the first time, more faculty express a preference for digital material over print in the classroom.
- 61 percent of all faculty, 71 percent of those teaching large enrollment introductory courses, and 73 percent of department chairpersons, "Strongly Agree" or "Agree" that "the cost of course materials is a serious problem for my students."
- Department chairpersons overwhelmingly believe that making textbooks less expensive for students would be the most important improvement to course materials.
- Less than one-in-five faculty members are aware of any departmental-, institution,- or system-level initiative to deal with the cost of course materials.
- Faculty are acting independently to control costs by supporting used textbooks and rental programs, placing copies on reserve, and selecting materials based on cost.
- Faculty often make changes to their textbooks, presenting material in a different order (70 percent), skipping sections (68 percent), replacing content with their own (45 percent), replacing with content from others (41 percent), correcting errors (21 percent), or revising textbook material (20 percent).
- Overall faculty satisfaction with required textbooks is high, with over 80 percent either "Extremely Satisfied" or "Moderately Satisfied" although faculty express considerable resentment about price, unnecessary frequent updates, and other issues with commercial textbooks.
"OER could provide an answer to the cost concerns that faculty have, while also supporting the 'revise' and 'remix' approach to textbook content that faculty are already using," said Dr. Julia Seaman, Research Director for the Babson Survey Research Group. "Growth of OER has been slow but steady for the past four years, held back by a lack of awareness of OER and a perceived lack of offerings. That said, factors like a growing acceptance of digital media and concerns over the cost of textbooks could accelerate the expansion of OER awareness and use in the future."
The complete report, Freeing the Textbook: Educational Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2018 is released under a Creative Commons license and is available for download at https://www.onlinelearningsurvey.com/oer.html.
About Babson Survey Research Group
The Babson Survey Research Group at Babson College (https://www.onlinelearningsurvey.com/) conducts regional, national, and international research projects, including survey design, sampling methodology, data integrity, statistical analyses and reporting.
About Babson College
Babson College is the educator, convener, and thought leader of Entrepreneurship of All Kinds®. The top-ranked college for entrepreneurship education, Babson is a dynamic living and learning laboratory where students, faculty, and staff work together to address the real-world problems of business and society. We prepare the entrepreneurial leaders our world needs most: those with strong functional knowledge and the skills and vision to navigate change, accommodate ambiguity, surmount complexity, and motivate teams in a common purpose to make a difference in the world, and have an impact on organizations of all sizes and types. As we have for nearly a half-century, Babson continues to advance Entrepreneurial Thought & Action® as the most positive force on the planet for generating sustainable economic and social value.
SOURCE Babson Survey Research Group
Share this article