Lowering the price of education is important for enrollment numbers, retention, inclusivity and student success at every grade level. Offering used books, rentals, course packs and digital options can cut immediate costs, but adding open educational resources (OER) can take efforts a step above by enhancing learning and further decreasing expenses.
There is a lot of excitement brewing in the educational world about this resource, but why? This year New York’s proposed budget sets aside $8 million to invest in OERs to help lower the costs of course materials. Thirteen other states have also started their OER initiatives. While OERs are hardly new to the educational world, demands have grown for a real, sustainable solution to skyrocketing course material costs.
OERs are customizable. Creating a collection of openly licensed content that can then be enhanced with videos, assessments and other materials designed to increase student engagement allows teachers, departments or schools to distribute specific, up-to-date content for their students.
Students frequently choose not to purchase course materials. Finding ways to reduce costs can make the difference between a student passing or failing or an at-risk student staying in school. OERs are openly licensed and freely shared. They can include a variety of materials that augment the course or fill the needs of the course with enough time and planning on the part of the educator.
Increased student success
Recent studies have demonstrate students receive higher grades when using interactive materials and personalized digital platforms improve student learning. Digital tools have also increased student retention. Having access to quality resources like OpenStax, Junction Education or eText Builder ensures the educational quality of the material upholds school’s high standards while providing a much needed financial break.
However, OERs have drawbacks. They require more work to organize and distribute to students. Instructors have to keep them up-to-date and make sure all the links remain active.
Learn more about how OER is changing the landscape of education. Check out MBS Direct’s five-day OER email course.