OER and College Financial Readiness

The 1,000 Dreams Fund is a non-profit organization with a mission of providing financial support to women attending college. Recently, the organization surveyed 1,092 young college females and males, some of which were recent college graduates about college cost expectations (Campus Technology).

The survey found that among those that did not complete college, finances were an issue, with 60% of Hispanic students who did not complete college, reporting financial limitations. Unexpected college costs were also more of an issue for females than males (Campus Technology).

The report concluded that the unexpected college costs which include textbooks, housing, food, school exams and fees, and moving expenses are more likely to keep first generation students, and females from participating in extracurricular college activities, and internships, both which are advantageous when recent college graduates enter the workforce (Campus Technology).


Source: Campus Technology, Dian Schaffhauser, 10/30/17

OER and other properly licensed free course materials can assist students especially those who are at risk of leaving college early to not only satisfactorily complete their goals but can also be beneficial in providing opportunities for these students to engage in campus extracurricular activities, internships, tutoring, and other student success behaviors outside of the classroom. This potential benefit of having faculty use OER is not often examined or taken into account when institutions consider saving students money on textbooks costs through openly licensed course materials. The findings from this 1,000 Dreams Fund survey can also be helpful when designing Zero Textbook Cost degree (ZTCD) pathways.


Use of Free Course Materials Is on the Rise

New reports show that openly licensed resources and other cost saving behaviors are making an impact on the high cost of textbooks. Business Wire reported that student spending on textbooks and course materials has declined by approximately 15% over the last decade or $100. In 2016-2017 the average spending on textbooks and course materials was approximately $543. Various reports contribute this decline to more smarter student behaviors rather than a decline in textbook pricing (Business Wire).

According to the National Association of College Stores, while the overwhelming majority of college students purchase new traditionally copyrighted textbooks, 25% of students in spring 2017, and up from 19% in 2016, accessed free course materials.

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Source: National Association of College Stores

The increase in the use of free course materials is most likely related to the OER outreach efforts taking place at many colleges and universities. In its 2016-2017 Connect OER Report, SPARC found that among its member institutions of higher education, libraries are the most engaged institutional sources of OER information, and about half of the institutions have a staff or faculty with OER related responsibilities (SPARC, 2017). The survey conducted by SPARC of its members also found that the most common OER program is funded through grants, with most of them beginning in 2016 and 2017 (SPARC, 2017).


Source: Connect OER Annual Report, SPARC, 2016-2017

What is Open Pedagogy?

Open pedagogy is a relatively new term having emerged out of the open educational resources/open education movement. David Wiley who coined the concept of the 5Rs to understand the ways in which Creative Commons open licenses can be utilized, also believes that the definition of open pedagogy should be understood within the context of the 5Rs: retain, reuse, revise, and remix, and redistribute open content (David Wiley).

Rajiv Jhangiani encourages us to think about open pedagogy within the context of the what as illustrated in the following slide.


Open pedagogy through the use of open educational resources is a paradigm shift in that the values and tools of openness enable students to be active creators of knowledge as opposed to passive consumers of knowledge. “All too often we are giving students cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants” John W. Gardner.

In a presentation by CCCOER on the topic of open pedagogy, a question to consider: how does the instructor’s relationship to material change, if we’re changing the relationship between student and material?

The thoughts this question inspires are provoking, stimulating, challenging, and liberating.

Students as active creators is different from students as active learners.

“And where we claim to value being ‘student-centered’ when in practice faculty, course content, accreditation or testing requirements, and budgetary concerns drive the learning process far more than students” – Rajiv S. Jhangian.

What does open pedagogy look like in the classroom?  Imaginations free to wonder lead to endless possibilities.

Additional Open Pedagogy Resources

Year of Open 2017: What is Open Pedagogy?

What an Open Pedagogy Class Taught Me About Myself

Launching OER Degree Pathways

Achieving the Dream is a non-profit organization working to improve student success for community college students across the country through leadership, support, innovative strategies, and projects.

The organization awarded grant funding as part of its Open Educational Resources (OER) Degree Initiative to 38 community colleges across 13 states to develop zero textbook cost degree pathways. Recently Achieving the Dream detailed progress on its initiative in a report titled: Launching OER Degree Pathways: An Early Snapshot of Achieving the Dream’s OER Degree Initiative and Emerging Lessons.

Here are some of the main findings from the report: Continue reading

Join the Rebus Community

The Rebus Community is a non-profit organization funded by the Hewlett Foundation and dedicated to supporting and collaborating with faculty, librarians, and others to write and develop open educational resources and open textbooks. Faculty and others can collaborate on OER projects or receive support to develop their own OER materials.

The main goal of the Rebus Community is “to help a global community publish great Open Textbooks and associated content in every subject, in every language” (Rebus Community). The Rebus Community also partners with numerous organizations working to advance open textbooks and resources such as BC Campus, Open Oregon, and the Open Textbook Network among others. Continue reading