Faculty: OER use could triple in the next 5 years

A new survey of higher-ed faculty indicates OER use is on the brink of a sizable expansion.

Open educational resources (OER) in higher education could triple in use as primary courseware in the next five years, according to a new survey of college and university faculty.

OER have the potential to jump from 4 percent use as primary courseware to 12 percent, noted a Cengage Learning survey of more than 500 faculty. And one of the main reasons for the projected increase in adoption is OER’s potential as a solution for students who skip or defer classes due to the price of required course textbooks or learning resources.

The survey, Open Educational Resources (OER) and the Evolving Higher Education Landscape, also found that OER use for supplemental learning materials may nearly quadruple in size, from 5 percent to 19 percent.

“Being able to afford a higher education—from tuition to living expenses and course materials—continues to be a challenge for many students. At Cengage, we are constantly working with faculty to create new, affordable learning options that are high quality and engaging. This includes integrating OER use into a growing number of digital learning solutions, including our MindTap and Learning Objects platforms,” said Cheryl Costantini, VP of Content Strategy, Cengage Learning.

Cengage interviewed industry experts and surveyed OER primary adopters, supplemental adopters and non-adopters. Overall, just 4 percent of the higher education respondents use OER as primary materials. Mathematics (13 percent) and computing (11 percent) had the highest OER use, while English (2 percent) and psychology (1 percent) had the lowest, according to the survey.

(Next page: How many faculty expect to move to OER soon?)

Laura Ascione

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