Hi, I’m Braddlee and I serve as the Dean for Learning and Technology Resources for the Annandale Campus of Northern Virginia Community College. Over the past several years, I have helped facilitate the adoption of Open Educational Resources, or OER, to increase student success and lower educational costs. I recommend that evaluators in education look at OER when considering issues of access and expense, or when conducting cost-benefit analyses. Often, administrators, faculty, and teachers may not be aware of free resources available to their students that can reduce textbook costs and provide useful learning materials.
OER include teaching, learning, and research materials that reside in the public domain. These are sources that have intellectual property licenses that allow for their free use in education. In the past, OER were often isolated learning objects or modules. Now, many resources are available online, including complete courses, course materials, modules, textbooks, streaming videos, tests, software, and other materials for both K-12 and higher education. OER have been around for more than a decade, but now represent a growing alternative in online learning materials.
Lesson Learned: The National Association of College Stores claims a new textbook costs, on average, $62. The U.S. Pirg Education Fund estimate that higher education students pay approximately $100 per course for texts. Expensive texts present obstacles for students who may forego purchasing course materials due to costs, or incur larger debt to pay for school. Costs have also been shown to slow time to degree because dollars spent on texts cannot be spent on tuition.
Hot Tip: Creative Commons licensing is a system of “some rights reserved” fostering sharing of a given piece of content. Details can be found at Creative Commons . “5 R’s” of the Creative Commons (CC) license framework are the rights to “Retain, Reuse, Revise, Remix, and Redistribute” resources. The most popular, and most flexible license simply requires that credit be attributed to the author(s).
Hot Tip: The UKOER Evaluation Toolkit provides a broad ranging evaluation framework around OER use, ranging from initial awareness and adoption to institutional policies and sustainability.
Rad Resource: In higher education, innovative models are emerging including the OpenStax College, a nonprofit designed to assist with the creation of content.
Rad Resource: Projects like Open Washington
and the Zx23 Project in Virginia demonstrate state and national-level OER adoptions.
Rad Resource: The OER Research Hub presents research including distribution and impact analyses on OER.
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