The Impact of Open Educational Resources on Various Student Success Metrics

Nicholas Colvard
University of Georgia
(nicholas.colvard@uga.edu )

C. Edward Watson
Association of American Colleges and Universities

Hyojin Park
Ewha Womans University

There are multiple indicators which suggest that completion, quality, and affordability are the three greatest challenges for higher education today in terms of students, student learning, and student success. Many colleges, universities, and state systems are seeking to adopt a portfolio of solutions that address these challenges. This article reports the results of a large-scale study (21,822 students) regarding the impact of course-level faculty adoption of Open Educational Resources (OER). Results indicate that OER adoption does much more than simply save students money and address student debt concerns. OER improve end-of-course grades and decrease DFW (D, F, and Withdrawal letter grades) rates for all students. They also improve course grades at greater rates and decrease DFW rates at greater rates for Pell recipient students, part-time students, and populations historically underserved by higher education. OER address affordability, completion, attainment gap concerns, and learning. These findings contribute to a broadening perception of the value of OERs and their relevance to the great challenges facing higher education today.

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