Note: This post is cross-posted from the main BCcampus site.
Do Open Educational Resources make a difference in the classroom? An online survey developed by BCcampus and U.K.-based OER Research Hub is being used to collect data to quantify the efficacy of OER
Open Educational Resources have been popular topics for BCcampus; we’ve explored the economics of open, the intersection of open education and technology, and additional relevant posts. Collaborating with the OER Research Hub to gather empirical evidence about the efficacy of open education provides an opportunity to accurately analyze the challenges facing the faculty and administration throughout the province regarding the Open Textbook project.
BCcampus was chosen to provide support for the Open Textbook project by The BC Ministry of Advanced Education. The goal of the project is to help reduce costs to students and make higher education more accessible by creating a collection of open textbooks. The initial project was to create textbooks to support the top 40 subject areas in the province with the highest enrolment, and in 2014 was expanded to include an additional 20 textbooks to target trades and skills training.
The Open Educational Resources Research Hub was created to identify and quantify the value of openness, answering the question, “What is the impact of OER on learning and teaching practices?” The project is supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and is based out of the Open University’s Institute of Educational Technology. The OER Research Hub is currently comprised of seven individuals, and the team was carefully selected for their ability to apply the academic and research proficiency required to ensure the success of the project. “There are many great projects creating Open Educational Resources, but not a huge amount of research on the impact of OER,” said Dr. Beck Pitt, research assistant at the OER Research Hub. “Our methodologies enable us to conduct the comparative research across different contexts and is structured by eleven hypotheses focused on a range of impacts of OER.”
To compile data to better understand the needs of the faculty and students in B.C., an online survey has been created and approved through the ethical advisory board at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, led by Dr. Rajiv Jhangiani. The survey will be used to provide faculty across the province a voice in the project and the opportunity to contribute to its success.
The survey will examine the efficacy of OER, providing empirical data to better understand the barriers to OER adoption in the classroom and how the faculty and administration feel about the process. The timing of the survey is appropriate, as the research is expected to uncover opportunities that BCcampus can address and correct while there is time left in the project.
“We’ll have a pool of data we can add to other sources of data, from projects like OpenStax and Siyavula, that we can aggregate to get a global snapshot as to where open educational resources are,” said Clint Lalonde, BCcampus Senior Manager of Open Education. “Collaborating with OER Research Hub gives us the opportunity to ensure our project has an impact not only within B.C., but outside of the province as well.”
“Many people think my prediction that “80% of all US general education courses will be using OER instead of publisher materials by 2018″ is crazy talk. But it isn’t. It’s not crazy at all. OER align better with faculty’s top adoption priorities than traditional materials do, and the majority of current non-users will try OER between now and 2017” Dr. David Wiley, Co-Founder and Chief Academic Officer of Lumen Learning via opencontent.org
“Based on the results of the survey, the use of OER may potentially increase greatly over the next three years. When faculty members that are not current users of open educational resources were asked if they expected to be using OER in the next three years, a majority (77.5%) reported that they either expected to use OER or would consider using OER.” Opening the Curriculum: Open Educational Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2014