This presentation will synthesize the results of two surveys completed within the last two years. The first focus will be on examining barriers to and incentives for faculty adoption of OER. Our research found that faculty members are concerned with the high costs students face in education and considered the cost savings associated with OER as an incentive to overcome adoption barriers. Little research has been done, however, to explore how students use, or would use, the money saved from OER implementation. We will present results from a survey in which students who used OER in their courses provided insight into how they repurposed these funds.
The first study will report on 218 faculty free responses regarding OER perceptions. Responses were qualitatively analyzed and ten categories were discovered in the coding process. The top three categories that indicated barriers to the adoption of OER were need more information (faculty wanted more information before they would be willing to adopt OER), lack of discoverability (faculty wanted to be able to easily find repositories of OER, and confusing OER with digital resources (faculty were unaware of the difference between digital resources and OER). The top incentives identified in this analysis to overcome these barriers include student cost benefits (saving students money), student pedagogical benefits (faculty being able to make changes to OER to improve course content and instruction), and institutional support for the adoption of OER (whether in the form of course load reduction, curricular research assistance, or library support for finding and adopting OER).
Understanding that cost savings for students is identified as the greatest incentive for faculty that may motivate them to overcome adoption barriers, looking at how students use these saved finances is valuable.
This second report presents the results of a study conducted with students at a Virginia community college who took courses that used OER. At the end of the semester, students were asked to rate their perceptions of the OER quality and their level of engagement with OER as compared to traditional textbooks. Results indicate that a majority of students found the OER to be as good as or better than traditional textbooks in both quality and engagement. These results will be mentioned, but the main purpose of the study that we will discuss is the way in which students used the money saved by using OER in their courses. Many students indicated they used the money to reinvest in their education by paying tuition, purchasing materials for other courses, or taking additional courses; day-to-day expenses and savings were the next most common responses.
It is our hypothesis that should faculty be aware of the reinvestment of these finances into paying tuition and into other facets of students' education, they would be more motivated to overcome potential adoption barriers of OER.