Slow But Steady Growth in OER Awareness

Slow But Steady Growth in OER Awareness

HOT OER NOT? Open Educational Resources (OER) are easing into public consciousness according to the most recent report from the Babson Survey Research Group. This year 25 percent of higher education faculty report knowing about OER, up from 20 percent last year.

According to the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, a funder of the research, OER “are teaching, learning, and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that permits their free use and re-purposing by others.”

Of the 3,000 nationally representative faculty members, 5.3 percent reported using open textbooks in their courses, though that number is around 10 percent for large, introductory courses. Faculty report low rates of satisfaction around the price of textbooks, while also citing textbook costs as a chief reason for using or not using a textbook. Many faculty report an interest in the benefits of OER resources, but cite the lack of a common, trustworthy catalogue as a barrier to find available resources.

The report comes after a flurry of OER coverage, including the growth of OER on community college campuses, the launch of Amazon Inspire and the introduction of public funding for zero-textbook-cost degrees from the state of California.

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