Does your faculty actually know what OER are?

A survey gauges higher-ed faculty's awareness of OER and their use in courses

“The exact wording of the question is critical in measuring faculty’s level of OER awareness,” according to the report. “Many academics have only a vague understanding of the details of what constitutes open educational resources. Many confuse ‘open’ with ‘free,’ and assume all free resources are OER. Still others will confused ‘open resources’ with ‘open source,’ and assume open educational resources refers only to open source software.”

The most-cited barriers to adoption are:

  • Not enough resources for the subject in question (49 percent)
  • Difficulty locating the resources needed (48 percent)
  • No comprehensive catalog of resources (45 percent)

The study also noted that faculty concerns about permission to use or change OER have decreased, while concerns about the quality of the materials have increased.

“Because the availability of open licensing and the ability to reuse and remix content is central to the concept of open educational resources, it is critical to understand faculty awareness of these concepts12. Most faculty continue to report a high degree of awareness of copyright status of their classroom content,” according to the report.

Faculty awareness around Creative Commons licensing has remained relatively stable, though it is lower than faculty copyright and public domain awareness.

“Faculty continue to have a much greater level of awareness of the type of licensing often used for OER than they do of OER itself. It is clear that they do not always associate this licensing with OER,” according to the report. “… Since licensing and the ability to reuse and remix content is critical to the concept of OER, examining the difference between faculty who report that they are aware of OER and faculty who report that they are aware of both OER and Creative Commons licensing provides us a good indication of the depth of understanding of OER among faculty members.”

When it comes to future OER use, 6.9 percent of surveyed faculty said they would use the resourcse in the future, while 5.3 percent are already using them. Thirty-one percent of surveyed faculty said they will consider future OER use.

Laura Ascione