Open educational resources may hold significant promise for contributing to the kind of progress that genuinely improves higher education. While breathless pronouncements of "Ödisruptive innovations' seem to accompany the predicted demise of universities, a relatively small group of advocates, researchers, and practitioners have been working on projects that seem to have actually made a difference.
Bliss et al., (2013) suggest that there are four primary categories of effects from OER use, including cost, outcomes, use, and perceptions. These four categories, which form the acronym COUP may be useful in identifying specific, measurable benefits of OER."Â
The 5R permissions, (retain, reuse, revise, remix, redistribute) may provide opportunity for faculty to teach with OER differently than they might with commercially produced resources. In a blog post in March 2015, David Wiley introduced the idea of the Remix Hypothesis, which states that "changes in students outcomes occurring in conjunction with OER adoption correlate positively with faculty remixing activities."
Wiley suggests that OER adoptions will roughly fall into three categories of remix activity: replace, realign, and rethink. Faculty who simply replace commercial resources with OER may do so for the financial benefit to their students, but without changing their courses in any other meaningful way, leading to very limited or no gains in learning outcomes. Those who realign will identify OER which align with their current learning outcomes in order to better support learning, leading to modest positive improvements in learning outcomes. Finally, those who rethink their courses will remix their resources but will take the additional step of remixing the learning activities and assessments, leveraging the 5R permissions of OER to change what students are required to do in order to attain the intended learning outcomes. Wiley refers to the rethink level of remixing activities as 'open pedagogies'.
This presentation will describe a study undertaken to explore Wiley's remix hypothesis by investigating how the use of OER influences both learning outcomes and perceptions of OER using data from a survey of faculty at Thompson Rivers University who have adopted a textbook from the BCcampus open textbook repository. Slightly modified versions of the survey were also sent to students in these courses, administrators, and instructional designers. The study explored how open textbooks, open platforms, and open pedagogies influence the ways in which faculty and students use OER to enhance learning outcomes.
This study was supported by the Open Education Group through an Open Education Research Fellowship.