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Monday, March 2, 2015

OER Can Keep Students in Class

Open educational resources (OER) are often presented as a way for college students to save money. The discussion should perhaps focus on how OER can keep students in class.

Many studies report that some students put off buying textbooks because of cost. When that happens, they often fall behind in their assignments, which can lead them to withdraw from the institution. Matt Reed, vice president for academic affairs, Holyoke Community College, Holyoke, MA, said he believes OER should be considered a retention solution, since having course materials at little or no cost would contribute to student success.

Institutions will still have to find affordable ways to put larger electronic devices in the hands of all students, but Reed is optimistic it’s an issue that can resolved.

“I can’t help but think that the device issue is much more solvable than, say, the political opposition to free community college,” Reed wrote in his Inside Higher Ed blog. “And the payoff isn’t merely economic. Students who have class materials from day one are likelier to succeed academically than students who don’t. This is an economic issue, but it’s also a retention issue. And it’s one we can solve without waiting for the political winds to shift.”

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