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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Faculty Awareness of OER Continues to Lag

The use of open educational resources (OER) is becoming more popular each year, but faculty still trail behind in awareness. Babson Survey Research Group reported in a new study that 25% of faculty are either aware or very aware of OER, up from 20% a year ago, but 58% remained unaware or didn’t know much about open content.

Another 17% of faculty said they were aware of OER but weren’t sure how to use them. More than 3,000 teaching faculty responded to the survey for the report Opening the Textbook: Education Resources in U.S. HigherEducation 2015-16.

The study found that instructors of large-enrollment, introductory-level classes adopted OER at twice the rate (10%) of other faculty members. Nearly 50% of the respondents said they felt there weren’t enough OER resources for the subject they taught and 45% cited the absence of comprehensive catalogs of the resources, but 30% said they would consider using OER in the future.

“There is potential for growth for OER, as many faculty report that they are willing to try these resources,” said Jeff Seaman, co-author of the report. “However, while faculty cite cost to the students more than any other factor in selecting educational materials, concerns about the time and effort it takes to find and evaluate these materials remain a significant barrier to wider adoption.”

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