New report from Babson Survey Research Group and Pearson finds faculty concerned about the effort to find and evaluate teaching materials

Page Content 1

Teaching faculty at institutions of higher education remain largely unaware of open educational resources (OER), but the potential exists for much wider adoption, according to a new report from Babson Survey Research Group(BSRG) and Pearson.

The project, funded by a grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, surveyed a national sample of over 2,000 faculty members and found that OER status is not yet a driving force in adoption decisions for educational material.

Key Findings From the Report

  • Similar to BSRG’s previous findings for Chief Academic Officers, faculty have little awareness of open educational resources. Depending on the strictness of the awareness measure, between two-thirds and three quarters of faculty classify themselves as unaware of OER.
  • Faculty appreciate the concepts of OER. When presented with the concept of OER, most state they are willing to give it a try.
  • Awareness of OER is not a requirement for adoption of OER. Resource adoption, including OER materials, is often made without any awareness of the specific licensing of the material or its OER status.
  • Faculty judge the quality of OER to be roughly equivalent to that of traditional educational resources.
  • The most significant barrier to wider adoption of OER remains a faculty perception of the time and effort required to find and evaluate it.
  • Faculty are the key decision-makers in the OER adoption process.

Dr. Jeff Seaman, Co-Director of the Babson Survey Research Group, said, “While awareness of OER remains low among teaching faculty, it is not the critical barrier to wider adoption. The time and effort required to find, evaluate, and adopt these materials is the critical factor for faculty.”

John Tweeddale, SVP of Efficacy & Quality, Pearson, said, “With increasing demand for effective course content that keeps students engaged and improves learner outcomes, it’s anticipated that more educators will require proven OER material that demonstrates measurable results.”

The complete report, Opening the Curriculum: Open Educational Resources in Higher Education, 2014 (pdf) is released under a Creative Commons BY license and is available for download. An Opening_the_Curriculum_infographic of the report’s findings is also available.  

About Pearson

Pearson is the world’s leading learning company, with 40,000 employees in more than 80 countries working to help people of all ages to make measurable progress in their lives through learning. 

About Babson Survey Research Group

The Babson Survey Research Group at Babson College conducts regional, national, and international research projects, including survey design, sampling methodology, data integrity, statistical analyses and reporting.

About Babson College

Babson College is the educator, convener, and thought leader for Entrepreneurship of All Kinds™. The College is a dynamic living and learning laboratory, where students, faculty, and staff work together to address the real-world problems of business and society—while at the same time evolving our methods and advancing our programs. We shape the leaders our world needs most: those with strong functional knowledge and the skills and vision to navigate change, accommodate ambiguity, surmount complexity, and motivate teams in a common purpose to create economic and social value. As we have for nearly a half-century, Babson continues to advance Entrepreneurial Thought and Action® as the most positive force on the planet for generating sustainable economic and social value. ​​​​​​

By Barbara Spies Blair, blairb@babson.edu, 781-239-4621 | 10/29/2014 04:00