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Research on the Impact of OER [clear filter]
Wednesday, November 2

10:30am EDT

The SUNY Open Education Research Lab
The Open Education Research Lab's learning scientists use a methodology that blends theory and practice of learning - Design Based Research (DBR). As a methodology, DBR enables inquiry into complex problems facing educators and learners. DBR mandates study in-vivo using an iterative and responsive process in order to understand how a theory of learning operates in a real-world setting. A researcher using DBR works to understand and inform practice at both a micro, local level while also improving the macro, understanding within the Learning Sciences. A result of a study that utilizes DBR could be the refinement of an educational theory or the development of a new theory. The presentation will focus on the creation of the SUNY OE Research Lab at the University at Buffalo and discuss the results from an Innovative Instruction Technology Grant (IITG) where students and faculty were surveyed on their perceived benefits of OER.


Mark McBride

SUNY, Monroe Community College

Wednesday November 2, 2016 10:30am - 10:55am EDT

10:55am EDT

Student Survival: Improving Course Throughput in TCC's Z Degree
Data from Tidewater Community College's Z Degree will be presented in support of the hypothesis that the most powerful educational interventions may be those that lead to increases in the overall course survival rate, which could in turn lead to higher graduation rates. In this session, the presenters will share results from a current study that appears to demonstrate that OER adoption by faculty is associated with improvements in course survival rates.

avatar for David Wiley

David Wiley

Co-Founder and Chief Academic Officer, Lumen Learning
I've spent over 20 years creating, clarifying, elaborating, and evangelizing the core ideas of open education to students, faculty, institutions, companies, and governments. I've also worked to place a solid foundation of empirical research beneath these core ideas. Now, my colleagues... Read More →
avatar for Linda Williams

Linda Williams

Professor, Business Administration, Tidewater Community College
Business Professor Linda Williams has become the face of TCC’s Textbook Free Degree. She’s been featured in countless articles and television interviews about the cutting edge program that enables TCC business students to earn an entire degree while spending zero funds for textbooks.“It... Read More →

Wednesday November 2, 2016 10:55am - 11:20am EDT

11:30am EDT

The Impact of OER at Salt Lake Community College
At SLCC we have one of the larger OER initiatives nationally. In fall 2016, we will be running close to 500 OER-based sections. We have flipped entire courses open, including courses in Biology, Math, and History. We also have larger numbers of sections in Education, Sociology, History, and Business. Finally, we have emerging OER projects in Geology, Economics, and Psychology. While we haven't yet built an open degree, we have scaled OER laterally so that we're now poised to save a majority of SLCC students significant money with the initiative.

Now that we have achieved scale, we're turning our attention to researching the efficacy of the OER initiative. Our study utilizes a mixed methods approach, combining survey and institutional data, to evaluate student success outcomes. We are interested in understanding if easing the textbook cost burden leads to higher retention, persistence, transfer, and completion rates.

We have three waves of survey data on student attitudes toward textbooks--both traditional and OER. In addition, the scale of our OER initiative allows us to mine a rich institutional data source and draw firm conclusions about the effectiveness of open educational resources. Taken together, these qualitative and quantitative methodologies allow us to make an important contribution to the study of the impact of OER.

avatar for Jessie Winitzky-Stephens

Jessie Winitzky-Stephens

Research Analyst, Salt Lake Community College

Wednesday November 2, 2016 11:30am - 11:55am EDT

3:15pm EDT

Does it matter how much open? Impact in learning and degrees of openness
The International Development Research Centre IDRC proclaims "openness" as a pivotal condition for development in disadvantaged contexts as an "Open Development" produces increased access, inclusion, efficiency, engagement, increased distribution, informed decision making, policy outcomes around enabling environments, and changes to political processes (empowerment). IDRC's cutting-edge research raises the issue of "quality of openness" as the range of qualities of openness within open initiatives, and the quality of the outcomes from those initiatives.

There is a great diversity of educational resources referred to as OER, but nevertheless, previous studies cluster the resources as OER with different characteristics, making it difficult to isolate openness and make meaningful conclusions about use practices and added value. This issue, what the OER Research Hub refers as a dimension of OER: "Level of Openness", is relevant as we need to dig deeper into specific types of openness as enablers for educational quality, innovation and sustainability, consequently, promoting development.

These reflections have emerged with the findings of a OER adoption and impact research investigation, "The effectiveness of OER use in student's mathematical outcomes: A case study of first and second year higher education students in Chile", sub-project 9 of the Research on Open Educational Resources for Development (ROER4D) framework (http://roer4d.org/sp-9-oer-use-in-first-year-mathematics). One of the settings of the present research, compared what we call a "less-open" OER (Khan Academy CC-BY-NC-SA) and "more-open" resource (CC-BY Teacher produced Open Textbook), where the more or less depends on the type of licensing they were coined.

As major agreement grows that a "more open" licenses (CC-BY and CC-BY-SA) are better suited for education in the institutional level policy making because they exploit the possibilities of openness, maximizing its flexibility for different type of uses, in specific, re-purpose/re-use, some questions arise:

* does this presumption also apply to impact issues in the institutional level?

* does a "more open" OER rank higher from the quality perspective?

* is a "more-open" OER or a higher level of openness of an OER make a better or bigger difference in student educational performance or teacher's practice?

* does the degree of openness an issue for underserved or developing countries from the impact or efficacy perspective?

* does the degree of openness urge to be taken into account for OER infrastructure, deploying a "more open" scenario?

avatar for Werner Westermann

Werner Westermann

Civic Education Program, Coordinator, Library of National Congress
History, Geography and Civics teacher, kidnaped by open technologies and practices to amplify access and raise quality of learning and reaching. Open Education advocate for more than a decade, more enthusiastic/less academic OER researcher, CC IOL fellow pushing Open Educational Policy. On the way of building spanish-language Open Textbooks platform... Read More →

Wednesday November 2, 2016 3:15pm - 3:40pm EDT

3:40pm EDT

Open Textbook Student Usability Research Results
Most research on open textbooks concentrates on student savings from faculty switching from traditional texts to open texts. John Hilton III and Barbara Illowsky researched student perceptions of the quality of and value of learning from an open textbook, instead of an assigned traditional textbook. Two studies were completed. The first study focused on student perceptions of "Collaborative Statistics," one of the first open textbooks produced by Connexions. This open textbook was produced in in single text color. The second study was conducted two years after the first study and with a different group of students. It focused on perceptions of the more fully developed "Introductory Statistics" by OpenStax College. The OpenStax OER was produced in color and looks more like a traditional textbook, when printed, than the original text did.

The authors discovered that most students considered both versions of the open textbook, whether used online or printed, as good as or better than traditional textbooks they typically used. Most students would prefer to continue using open textbooks in order to save money. The authors were surprised that there was not a significant difference in quality perception between the original and the improved versions, even though faculty perceive the color version a higher quality.

The presenters will share the results of the studies. They will also facilitate a discussion among the participants, as to the implications for future open textbook development and use.

avatar for Barbara Illowsky

Barbara Illowsky

Chief Academic Affairs Officer, Foothill-De Anza Community College District, CCC Online Education Initiative
Dr. Barbara Illowsky is Chief Academic Affairs Officer for the California Community Colleges Online Education Initiative. In addition, she has been a mathematics and statistics professor at De Anza College, Cupertino, CA since 1989. She is currently on the Board of Directors for the... Read More →

Wednesday November 2, 2016 3:40pm - 4:05pm EDT
Thursday, November 3

9:00am EDT

Beyond the Textbook: Student Performance in an Anatomy and Physiology Lab with an OER and a Traditionally Published Lab Manual
Data on textbook costs reveals hard science courses have the highest per-book cost of any discipline (Kopf, 2015). These costs are further compounded by additional expenditures students in these courses must incur such as lab fees, equipment costs, and lab manuals. Given in hard science courses, almost 30 percent of students do not purchase the textbook (Schick & Marklein, 2013), this can contribute to the high withdrawal and failure rates observed in these courses (Chen & Soldner, 2013).
One option to help mitigate these costs is to focus on open educational resources (OER); OER represent a resource that can be shared at no cost, where content is freely available and open for use via public domain or an open license. OpenStax College has been a main facilitator in the creation and distribution of open peer-reviewed textbooks, especially for introductory courses in the hard sciences. While this is a strong first step, it does not address the additional costs faced by students, particularly with associated lab manuals, which can average $150 per lab.

This presentation focuses on the learning outcomes and student perceptions associated with a new, open lab manual developed to pair with the current OpenStax Anatomy and Physiology textbook. This lab manual was developed and will be piloted in both lab sections of the anatomy and physiology course sequence at the University of Georgia with 160 undergraduate students in Summer 2016.

For this study, students will be randomly assigned within their lab section to using the open lab manual or the traditionally published lab manual. The university department is covering the cost of the traditionally published lab manual for the purposes of this study to assure all students receive no-cost learning materials. By using the randomized design within the lab sections, differences between the teaching assistants should be mitigated.

This presentation details the results of this initial lab manual implementation by addressing the following:

- How did students perceive the quality of the open lab manual versus a traditional lab manual at the beginning of the semester versus the end of the semester?

- Was there a difference in lab performance (class final course average, number of students receiving a C or better) between students who used the open lab manual and students in past semesters who used a traditional text?

At the end of the summer semester, data is expected to show that while students may have had hesitations or quality concerns regarding the OER at the beginning of the term, these were mitigated over the course of the semester. Data is also expected to reveal there were no student performance differences between the groups using the OER versus the groups using the traditional lab manual. The goal is that this study would offer a compelling case for both the implementation of OER as the primary learning material in hard science courses, as well as for the development of accompanying lab manuals to continue to decrease costs for students and increase retention in hard science programs.


Deanna Cozart

Coordinator of Open Educational Resources, The University of Georgia

Thursday November 3, 2016 9:00am - 9:25am EDT

9:50am EDT

A Quantitative Analysis on the Efficacy of OER
At the core of the discussion of OER adoption, one of the main questions raised is the efficacy of OER. There is currently very limited research done to address this question. In our study, we conduct a quantitative analysis on the efficacy of OER for a calculus course with a large enrollment at Purdue University to contribute to the literature in this area.

We compare students' performances on the final exam in Fall 14 and Fall 15, where commercial versus OER materials are used respectively. The comparison is conducted at the course wide level, as well as at the subgroup levels based on students' demographic, socioeconomic and academic backgrounds.

avatar for Huimei Delgado

Huimei Delgado

Continuing Lecturer, Purdue University

Thursday November 3, 2016 9:50am - 10:15am EDT

11:10am EDT

Quantitative and Qualitative Evidence on the Efficacy of Lumen Learning's Waymaker Platform
This presentation by a faculty member and student will provide both qualitative and quantitative evidence on whether Lumen Learning's Next Generation Waymaker platform leads to better student outcomes, in terms of engagement and learning, than commercial texts for the courses.

The Waymaker platform was released in beta in August 2016 and pilot-tested at a variety of universities across the country for four courses over the 2015-2016 academic year. The courses were Introduction to Business, Principles of Marketing, Principles of Macroeconomics and Principles of Microeconomics. We participated in the pilot test, as student and instructor in using the platform while taking/teaching the two principles of economics courses at the University of Mary Washington.

Waymaker is more than a digital text. Modified from the OpenStax Principles of Economics text, Waymaker includes video, animations and simulations, which are particularly helpful in learning analytic subjects like economics. Waymaker also includes several aspects of personalized learning, based on a mastery-learning approach.

Waymaker is more than a source of course content. It is designed to promote metacognition by the students, as well as to provide actionable intelligence about student learning to both the student and the instructor.

Students begin each module with a formative assessment to identify what content they already know, and therefore where they should efficiently put their learning effort-namely, the content they do not know. As students progress through the content, they take a series of short formative quizzes. If they do not achieve mastery on a quiz, Waymaker suggests they review the content before attempting the quiz again. At the end of the module, students take a module quiz, which is summative but weighted very little. Again, if they fail to achieve mastery, they are encouraged to study again before redoing the module quiz. The philosophy is that assessments are activities to support the learning activities; they are not simply or primarily about grades.

The instructor receives reports from the module quizzes whenever a student fails to achieve mastery. This allows the instructor to reach out to offer help and encouragement to students who are struggling. We used the Waymaker platform in online courses where often it is difficult for the instructor to know how students are faring. The Waymaker reports allow instructors to efficiently allocate their time to the students that need it.

In this presentation, we will

1. Briefly demonstrate the Waymaker platform;
2. Present our personal perspectives (student & instructor) on how the platform worked;
3. Present survey results of student perceptions from the two classes; and
4. Present results of a statistical analysis comparing student outcomes on the final exam compared to outcomes obtained using commercial textbooks.

We will end with time for Q&A with the audience.

avatar for Steven Greenlaw

Steven Greenlaw

Professor of Economics, University of Mary Washington

Thursday November 3, 2016 11:10am - 11:35am EDT

11:35am EDT

Student learning gains after replacing traditional textbook with open source instructor-created website readings and videos
Biological Principles (BIOL 1510) at Georgia Tech is required course for many science and engineering majors and is typically taught in a 200+ seat flipped lecture format. Until this Fall 2015, students were required to purchase a textbook and subscription to an on-line homework system, Mastering Biology. In Fall 2015, a team of three faculty replaced the textbook with an open source collection of instructor-created written content and instructor-curated video materials. We also replaced the on-line homework system with instructor-written questions delivered to students outside of class in Learning Catalytics. In-class activities remained the same, where students submitted Learning Catalytics responses while working with informal student groups in class. Here we report the results of a comparison of student learning gains between Fall 2015 and Fall 2014, with a traditional textbook, using student learning metrics of comparable test questions, homework questions, and in-class activity questions, as well as student perceptions of their learning from participant surveys.

avatar for Chrissy Spencer

Chrissy Spencer

Biological Sciences Faculty, Georgia Tech

Thursday November 3, 2016 11:35am - 12:00pm EDT

1:15pm EDT

A Synthesis of OER Efficacy and Perceptions Research: 2015-2016
In this presentation we will synthesize all of the efficacy and perceptions OER studies that have been published in 2015-2016. This will include the research of the Open Education Group as well as other research initiatives. Specifically, we will categorize and critique the different studies. We will discuss gaps in the literature and suggest future research initiatives that will strengthen our understanding of efficacy and perceptions of OER.

avatar for John Hilton III

John Hilton III

Researcher, Open Education Group at Brigham Young University
I began researching issues related to OER in 2008. I'm passionate about increasing OER research - especially research related to efficacy and student perceptions. See http://openedgroup.org/review.
avatar for David Wiley

David Wiley

Co-Founder and Chief Academic Officer, Lumen Learning
I've spent over 20 years creating, clarifying, elaborating, and evangelizing the core ideas of open education to students, faculty, institutions, companies, and governments. I've also worked to place a solid foundation of empirical research beneath these core ideas. Now, my colleagues... Read More →

Thursday November 3, 2016 1:15pm - 1:40pm EDT

1:40pm EDT

Exploring the Remix Hypothesis
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.

avatar for Colin Madland

Colin Madland

Manager, Online Shenanigans, Trinity Western University

Thursday November 3, 2016 1:40pm - 2:05pm EDT

2:40pm EDT

Khan Academy in Chinese: A Case Study in OER Revision
Khan Academy videos have 700,000,000+ views in English. The website "Netease" has used the CC-BY-NC-SA license to create Chinese Khan Academy videos. This represents an outstanding example of revision of open materials. Over 100 courses and 2,000 specific videos have been translated into Chinese. As stated on the Khan Academy website, "NetEase is the first portal site in China to partner with Khan Academy to localize its content and this greatly enhances NetEase Open Courses' content and user base. Meanwhile, the cooperation with NetEase will promote the localization of Khan Academy courses in China, to achieve the purpose of providing a world class education for anyone anywhere" (https://www.khanacademy.org/about/blog/post/29838569844/netease-subtitles-videos-in-chinese).

This research study will quantify the impact of the revison of the Khan academy videos by exploring (1) the number of times these videos have been watched, (2) classifying which courses have been of greatest interest to viewers, (3) user habits in watching Khan Academy vides (4) comparing the number of views of dubbed videos with subtitled videos, and so forth. We frequently hear that "people don't take advantage of the 5Rs - this study shows that this is not true.


Allen Rao

Director, Netease Online Open Courses

Thursday November 3, 2016 2:40pm - 3:05pm EDT