Teaching and Learning Tip #24: Supporting Student Success Through Open Educational Resource

February 27, 2018

Tip #24: Supporting Student Success Through Open Educational Resources

Contributed by Kyle Morgan, Library

Multiple studies have reported students not buying textbooks due to cost. These students report lower grades and longer graduation rates.  The solution: Open Educational Resources.

What are OER?

Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning, and research resources that permit free use and re-purposing.

Why use OER?

  • Improved student success: “…the cost of textbooks is negatively impacting student access to required materials (66.6% did not purchase the required textbook) and learning (37.6% earn a poor grade; 19.8% fail a course).”
  • Improved graduation rates: Because of the cost of textbooks “students reported that they occasionally or frequently take fewer courses (47.6%); do not register for a course (45.5%); drop a course (26.1%), or withdraw from courses (20.7%).” 1
  • Improved class design: Requiring students to buy a textbook means an obligation to use that textbook and teach to its goals. Conversely, OER can be edited and organized to fit your own goals for the class.
  • Elevated profile of a course or department: A course or department offering zero-cost textbooks will be able to market this to current and incoming students.

Where to find OER?

The Humboldt State Library OER Research Guide lists OER content by department. Contact a librarian to locate additional resources or an instructional designer to integrate them into your course.

How to create OER?

Integrating students in OER development is a high-impact practice with real-world deliverables. Here is a sample assignment modeled on a capstone course offered by Professor Scott Paynton:

  1. Organize the class into teams, assign textbook topics, and set goals and deadlines.
  2. Direct the teams to build resource lists and bibliographies. Test students for content knowledge.
  3. Use Google Drive for the creation and curation of content. Weekly team presentations can help monitor progress and allow for peer advice.
  4. Have teams conduct peer-review on each other’s finals drafts using a predefined rubric. Allow teams time to integrate edits and resubmit for final grading.
  5. If needed, revise and refine across multiple courses or internships, then publish with HSU Press.

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1 Research provided by the 2016 Florida Student Textbook and Course Materials Survey. Studies by the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission and Student Public Interest Research Groups corroborate the findings.