The OER Research Hub (OERRH) at Open University is conducting research funded by the William and Flora Hewlett foundation on the impact of OER in four educational sectors: kindergarten through secondary school (K-12), community college, university, and informal learning. They are collaborating with OER practitioners and researchers in these sectors to gather evidence for eleven hypotheses related to OER usage. All the collaborations are looking at how OER can improve learner performance and satisfaction and how open licensing creates different usage and adoption patterns for learning materials
The OpenCourseWare Consortium’s community college affiliate (CCCOER) is collaborating on the community college sector research and Una Daly, OCW Community College Outreach Director, is an OERRH fellow. She and Dr. Rob Farrow, lead researcher for community colleges, are exploring how institutional policy is affected by OER usage with an emphasis on development of accessible formats of OER and the long term sustainability of open educational projects. She has had the opportunity to consult with Learning & Teaching Services staff including accessibility and usability experts, the Open Media Unit director and staff, TESS-India project directors, and senior staff of Instructional Education Technology.
OERRH is gathering evidence through surveys and focus groups with faculty and staff of CCCOER institutions. Interviews with policy makers at colleges, districts, and regional departments of education are in progress and will continue in 2013-14
The full set of hypotheses for the collaboration include:
- Use of OER leads to critical reflection by educators, with evidence of improvement in their practice
- OER adoption at an institutional level leads to financial benefits for students and/or institutions
- Participation in OER pilots and programs leads to policy change at institutional level
- Open education models lead to more equitable access to education, serving a broader base of learners than traditional education
More details about the community college research can be found in the fellowship-in-progress presentation made to the extended team on August 13.