November 4th, 2014
When faculty members choose which textbooks to assign to their students, they look for trusted names and a track record of quality -- not the price tag, a new survey suggests.
While those priorities may stymie the growth and adoption of open educational resources (OER), the Babson Survey Research Group’s report on faculty members’ attitudes and opinions about those resources contains both “terrible” and “incredible” news for proponents of OER, depending on your interpretation. On one hand, faculty see open resources as just as good -- if not better -- than the products produced by traditional publishers. On the other, few faculty members have actually heard about OER.
David Wiley, founder of the OER support provider Lumen Learning, said the disappointing top-level numbers overshadows the fact that many faculty members are satisfied with the quality of open content.
“I look at this and I think, holy smokes, this is just some of the best possible news we could have gotten,” Wiley said in an interview. “The ‘problems’ with OER adoption are so eminently solvable.”