Why Supporting OER Is a Smart Decision [video]

min read

MJ Bishop: So the USM initiative started in 2013 as a grassroots initiative. We have converted 66 courses across the state to OER over the last four years and saving in total about $3 million for students, but we're just scratching the surface.
Vernon Smith: Those open educational resources have been digitized, and are no longer confined to textbook or a physical format. And so, as we use that we can reduce the cost significantly of the textbooks. We don't have printing costs. We don't have shipping costs. We can do it at the speed of light, which is the speed of electricity and the Internet. And we can provide those to students, which of course reduces that cost for them, and that's really a student success issue.
Dale Johnson: What's the product going to cost the students? And that's often a negotiation with the vendor. We try to keep it under $100. We think that the textbook market's averaging $120 to $150, so if we can come in under $100 we save the students a significant amount of money. And often times we can even get it as low as $50.
MJ Bishop: One of the biggest advantages to working with OER is the student access piece. Unfortunately right now a lot of our students have to wait for their financial aid check to arrive, which can be two, three, four weeks in order to have the money they need to purchase their instructional materials, their textbook and so forth. So when we're able through OER to make instructional materials available on the first day of class, that's a huge advantage right off the bat and allows our students to help them be more successful in their courses.
Vernon Smith: The use of open educational resources, that's just a strong trend that's going to, as we have more openness in societies, that's gonna have the opening of the glasnost, right? The opening of education across and access to those things. That's gonna be a deeper trend. So I try to look at the deeper trends.
Dale Johnson: We did spend a lot of time on a couple of introductory courses where we had to take all of that OER material and integrate it into the adapted system. I like that a lot because it gives the faculty members the opportunity to do what they want to do. They can edit that material. They can reconfigure it. It's a much more viable and flexible solution.
MJ Bishop: The faculty work very hard and they're pulled in many, many different directions. When we add to their loads by suggesting that they're now gonna have to take a textbook or what they had been using that was pre-packaged, had all the Powerpoints, had the assessments, allowed them to pretty much follow along through the table of contents, and now suggest that they need to recreate that themselves, it can be a daunting thought, a daunting task. When we can support their efforts as much as possible by providing the instructional design support, the library support, and support through the various vendors that are now available to help us with these initiatives, I think we can lower that challenge and make that, overcome that barrier.