Research on OER

Research is ongoing on outcomes of using OER, student perceptions of OER, social justice and OER, and many other aspects of OER creation and use. Check out these resources to get acquainted with this research.

Collections and Reviews of the Research

  • CUNY OER Publications
    This list of publications by people affiliated with CUNY is maintained by Stacy Katz, the Open Resources Librarian at Lehman College, CUNY. The publications present research on Open Education, including Open Educational Resources and Open Pedagogy.
  • The Review Project
    “This review provides a summary of all known empirical research on the impacts of OER adoption (including our own).” It is updated periodically.

Selected Articles and Resources

  • “As Good or Better than Commercial Textbooks: Students’ Perceptions and Outcomes from Using Open Digital and Open Print Textbooks”
    This study from Kwantlen Polytechnic University “investigates the perceptions, use, and course performance of Canadian post-secondary students assigned a commercial or open textbook in either print or digital format.”
  • “But What Do The Students Think: Results of the CUNY Cross-Campus Zero-Textbook Cost Student Survey”
    “The results of the first cross-campus survey of student opinions on Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) courses are in: City University of New York (CUNY) students like their ZTC courses, primarily for the cost savings and ease of access. The survey results yield rich data about how positively students feel about their Zero Textbook Cost (ZTC) courses as well as ways to improve the design and delivery of Zero Textbook Cost courses to make them more beneficial for student learning.”
  • “Efficacy of Open Textbook Adoption on Learning Performance and Course Withdrawal Rates: A Meta-Analysis”
    “The purpose of this study is to meta-analyze the findings of studies of postsecondary students comparing learning performance and course withdrawal rates between open and commercial textbooks. Based on a systematic search of research findings, there were no differences in learning efficacy between open textbooks and commercial textbooks. However, the withdrawal rate for postsecondary courses with open textbooks was significantly lower than that for commercial textbooks.”
  • Evaluating OER for Social Justice
    “There are many open educational resources (OER) available today. But how do you select resources that are high-quality and just? Evaluating OER for Social Justice is a result of the thinking and work that was done during an undergraduate honors seminar on Open Education and Social Justice. Our aim is to support instructors and students in evaluating OER for their use through the principles of social justice, including redistributive justice, recognitive justice, and representational justice.”
  • “The Impact of Open Educational Resources on Various Student Success Metrics”
    “This article reports the results of a large-scale study (21,822 students) regarding the impact of course-level faculty adoption of Open Educational Resources (OER). Results indicate that OER adoption does much more than simply save students money and address student debt concerns. OER improve end-of-course grades and decrease DFW rates for all students. They also improve course grades at greater rates and decrease DFW rates at greater rates for Pell recipient students, part-time students, and populations historically underserved by higher education.”
  • OER Research Toolkit
    Among other resources, this toolkit includes the OER Research Guidebook, which provides ideas on how faculty, librarians, and others can research the effects of their OER adoptions.
  • “Open educational resources, student efficacy, and user perceptions: a synthesis of research published between 2015 and 2018”
    “This present study synthesizes results from sixteen efficacy and twenty perceptions studies involving 121,168 students or faculty that examine either (1) OER and student efficacy in higher education settings or (2) the perceptions of college students and/or instructors who have used OER. Results across these studies suggest students achieve the same or better learning outcomes when using OER while saving significant amounts of money. The results also indicate that the majority of faculty and students who have used OER had a positive experience and would do so again.”
  • “What Impacts do OER Have on Students? Students Share Their Experiences with a Health Psychology OER at New York City College of Technology”
    “This article reports findings from a study conducted with students in three sections of a Health Psychology course that replaced a traditional textbook with open educational resources (OER) as the primary course material. […] Findings indicate that most students were able to access the OER more easily than traditional textbooks and responded positively to the variety of learning materials and assignments the OER assembled. Most students reported that course readings were equal to or better than traditional textbooks and would be willing to register for a course offering a similar resource in the future. A small amount of students reported minor usability issues. Also, few students had difficulties obtaining technology necessary to access the OER.”

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