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Chief Academic Officers And Faculty Survey Finds Use Of Open Educational Resources Remains Consistent But Low

New report from Babson Survey Research Group, Hewlett Foundation and Pearson cites key barriers to widespread adoption of OER material in higher education

BOSTON, Nov. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Chief Academic Officers and faculty at non-profit and for-profit institutions of higher education report that the adoption of open educational resources remains consistent but low, due to key barriers such as the lack of a single, comprehensive resource, according to a new report from Babson Survey Research Group, Hewlett Foundation and Pearson.

The survey of Chief Academic Officers from institutions of all types, and teaching faculty from across all types of higher education institutions, tracked attitudes and consumption of OER content from 2009 through 2011. The results focused on four main areas, including current use, potential value, awareness and barriers.

Key findings of the survey include:
  • Use of OER remains consistent but low, with little increase seen over time; 50 percent reported that they "Currently use" OER content in online courses in 2011, while 49 percent reported that they "Currently use" OER material in 2009
  • More than 50 percent of chief academic leaders have a very positive view of OER material and its potential value to their institution
  • Chief Academic Officers and faculty report that key barriers to adopting OER are the lack of a single, comprehensive catalog of content, difficulty finding content, and concerns about time and energy spent selecting and evaluating the material
  • Public non-profit institutions are most aware of OER material; nearly 60 percent report being "Aware" or "Very aware"
  • Open Education Resources are not well known among chief academic officers; one-half are either "Not aware" or are only "Somewhat aware"

Dr. Elaine Allen, Co-Director of the Babson Survey Research Group, said, "The increasing awareness and use of open education resources in higher education has the potential to radically increase the curriculum options available to faculty.  It also has the potential to reduce the cost of new course development."

Survey respondents also commented on the main criteria for selecting and using OER material. These include ease-of-use, affordability (free or low cost), ability to search and find content quickly, easy integration with any leading LMS, ability to align to particular learning outcomes, and ability for faculty to rate and comment on OER material.

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