Archive

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Use of Open Textbook shows increased retention and completion rates

Type: Evidence | Hypothesis: Student retention | Polarity: | Sector: | Country:

The University System of Georgia (USG) announced the following results from their Summer and Fall 2013 use of an open textbook for US History:

“The first USG Open Textbook was made for the core curriculum US History I course and implemented in eCore in Summer and Fall 2013.

  • In Spring 2013, prior to open text implementation: 88% HIST 2111 retention rate.
  • In Summer 2013, the first semester with the Open Textbook, retention increased to 94%.
  • Successful completion (grades A, B, and C) rose from 56% in the spring to 84% in the summer with the open textbook.

–Retention is the measure of non-withdrawals (grades A,B,C,D,F)

–Successful course completion is the measure of grades A, B, and C. Non-successful course completion is the measure of grades D, F, W, and WF.”

Source: Slide 11 on http://slidegur.com/doc/353707/retention-and-completion-with-oer-implementation

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Finding OER as ‘difficult’ as finding traditional resources

Type: Evidence | Hypothesis: OER choice | Polarity: | Sector: | Country:

In 2014 the Babson Survey Research Group surveyed 2,144 teaching faculty members in U.S. higher education to find out about their attitudes, opinions and use of OER. One of the key findings in their report talks about the time and effort required to find and evaluate resources:

The level of effort in searching for OER reported by faculty is only slightly more difficult than the effort that they perceive in searching for traditional resources, so why is it that issues of finding and evaluating OER tops faculty’s list of potential barriers for OER adoption? The answer appears to be that faculty see barriers for the adoption of any new teaching resource – OER or traditional. The effort to find and evaluate new resources (of any kind) and integrate them into the curriculum is substantial. Over a quarter of faculty see this as “difficult” or “very difficult” for traditional resources – even with their well-established mechanisms and considerable faculty experience with the process. Moving to an OER, where the faculty member is far less familiar and the cataloging and search mechanism less well developed only make this issue more important.” (p. 30)

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OER superior to traditional resources on cost

Type: Evidence | Hypothesis: OER saves money | Polarity: | Sector: | Country:

Opening the Curriculum, a report examining the attitudes, opinions and use of OER among teaching faculty in U.S. higher education, published by Babson Survey Research Group in 2014, found that 85.7% of respondents rated OER superior to traditional resources on cost. However, as a Social Sciences Faculty member points out:

Increasing concern about the cost of course materials makes OER a more attractive option. I find that more and more ‘traditional’ resources are also available for free on the Internet so I’m not sure the difference between the two forms is as significant as it might seem.” (p. 23)

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Low awareness of open licenses among teaching faculty

Type: Evidence | Hypothesis: Openness | Polarity: | Sector: | Country:

In 2014 Babson Survey Research Group published Opening the Curriculum, a report examining the attitudes, opinions and use of OER among teaching faculty in U.S. higher education. In relation to faculty members’ awareness of open licensing, they found that:

Most faculty report that they are aware of copyright licensing of classroom content (77.6% “Very aware” or “Aware”) and public domain licensing (67.9% “Very aware” or “Aware”) but fall short on awareness of Creative Commons licensing. Less than two-thirds of faculty report that they are at least somewhat aware of Creative Commons licensing, with the remaining one-third saying that they are unaware”. (p. 16)

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Awareness of OER not a requirement for adoption of OER

Type: Evidence | Hypothesis: Openness | Polarity: | Sector: | Country:

In 2014 Babson Survey Research Group published Opening the Curriculum, a report examining the attitudes, opinions and use of OER among teaching faculty in U.S. higher education. One of the key findings highlights the disparity between lack of awareness of OER and actual use of OER:

More faculty are using OER than report that they were aware of the term OER. Resource adoption decisions are driven by a wide variety of factors, with the efficacy of the material being cited most often. These decisions are often made without any awareness of the specific licensing of the material, or its OER status.” (p.2)

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No applications for accreditation of ‘Vampire Fictions’ MOOC

Type: Evidence | Hypothesis: Transition support | Polarity: | Sector: | Country:

The first UK massive open online course to offer students the option to pay for academic credit has ended, with none of its participants opting to fork out for official recognition.

The Edge Hill University Mooc, entitled Vampire Fictions, was announced in May last year and attracted about 1,000 students.

Of these, 31 reached the end of the course, with none opting to hand over the £200 that Edge Hill was charging in exchange for 20 credits at level 4 – the equivalent of a module on a first-year degree course.

One of the 31 completing students did sign up for a three-year creative writing degree at Edge Hill, with fees of £9,000 per year. They could have applied for their Mooc to be recognised for credit towards their degree, but opted not to do so.

This counts against the idea that open education supports learners in moving to formal study – though they may well experience high levels of satisfaction with their private study.

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Southampton MOOC attract students declaring disability

Type: Evidence | Hypothesis: Improving access | Polarity: | Sector: | Country:

The report Engaged learning in MOOCs: a study using the UK Engagement Survey (UKES) published by the Higher Education Academy found that learners on two MOOC at The University of Southampton reported a higher proportion of students declaring a disability than national averages for higher education.  This supports the idea that open education may be more accessible for students with disability.  From p.22 of the report:

The generic survey reflects a lower proportion than the UKES of participants describing themselves as disabled. The latter reflects both the UK norm (16%)23 and the European average of one-sixth of working age people. Given that 20% of UKES participants are over 65 years of age, when disability increases to 45% of the UK population, this overall proportion seems low. Dyslexia alone is estimated to affect 10% of the population. However compared with disabled students in higher education, the proportions are relatively high. HESA (2013) found only 7% of students to be in receipt of disabled students’ allowance (DSA). Many disabled students do not register for or qualify for DSA, but even in terms of self-reporting only 8% report a disability on application.

However, this should be tempered by the fact that “the demographic profiles of learners resemble other MOOC cohorts; that is, an older and well-educated majority, with many working in education” (p.41).

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MOOC pilots fail to lead to significant policy change

Type: Evidence | Hypothesis: OER policy change | Polarity: | Sector: | Country:

At the MOOC Research Conference, December 5-6, 2013 in Texas, Arlington, Deborah Keyek-Franssen, associate vice president for digital education and engagement at the University of Colorado System outlined some of the results from MOOC pilots:

“I don’t see revenue, and we’re not going to see revenue in Colorado for … ever — or for a long time,” Keyek-Franssen said. “We are not ready for Signature Track…. We’re not ready for credit…. We will probably not license anyone else’s content.”

The university system has experimented with MOOCs through Canvas and Coursera, but the results have yet to provide a definite answer.

“What I’ve been trying to is reframe the question,” Keyek-Franssen said. “The question is: Is it worth it? Is it worth it to the faculty? Is it worth it the financial investment? Is it worth it to restructure our support units to be able to provide significant among of expertise that we currently don’t have in-house?”

Keyek-Franssen wasn’t asking the questions rhetorically. “For us, we’ll continue to do them because there are so many enthusiastic faculty members,” she said. “But we don’t have that [return on investment] piece, and without that, you can’t convince leadership or financial planners.”

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Pre-course availability of OERs could help to attract students to an institution

Type: Evidence | Hypothesis: Transition support | Polarity: | Sector: | Country:

The HEA/NUS Study Students‟ views on learning methods and Open Educational Resources in higher education found evidence to support the view that availability of OER can help attract students to an institution.

A majority of both traditional and non-traditional students expected the use of OERs to increase during the rest of their course, approximately a fifth in each case thought it would increase “a lot”. Non-traditional learners were more likely to have accessed OERs from their university prior to starting their courses. In some cases, accessing OERs prior to starting had a strong, positive impact on their decision of where to study – this was more the case for non-traditional students than traditional. This finding suggests that pre-course availability of OERs could help to attract students to an institution.

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Students use many methods to find and select OER

Type: Evidence | Hypothesis: OER choice | Polarity: | Sector: | Country:

The HEA/NUS Study Students‟ views on learning methods and Open Educational Resources in higher education found that learners use a variety of methods to find and evaluate OER.

Students reported that they found out about OERs through a variety of means. There were some interesting differences between the traditional and non-traditional student groups, with non-traditional students more likely to be informed about OERs via the virtual learning environment (VLE) or website. Focus groups with traditional students revealed that many looked first to their lecturers to signpost OERs. There was also a sense that using OERs required different skills from those for using more traditional learning resources, so if universities were going to promote greater OER usage, there
was a need to ensure that all students were equipped with the necessary skills.

[…]

Students recognised that being able to search for resources was an important skill in order to succeed on their course. A number talked about how their knowledge of where and how to find relevant resources improved as they progressed through their course and they became more confident and knowledgeable

[…]

In general, however, many said they were overwhelmed by the quantity of results obtained when they searched on Google. Google Scholar was felt to be easy to use and produced relevant results, but was frequently frustrating when the resources identified were only available via subscription. Using library databases also presented problems as students were unsure which databases to use and struggled to understand how best to search various databases.

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