Academics and Academia

I had a trip to the UK this month and only had time to read media coverage of the recent Babson Survey Research Group (BSRG) survey on open educational resources (OER). What a mistake. The Chronicle of Higher Education had a flawed description of a key question – actual and planned adoption of OER material by faculty – that misinformed readers like me who didn’t read the actual survey report, at least initially.

The open-educational-resources movement, commonly known as OER, is an effort to encourage academics to use open-licensed materials in their classrooms as a way to lower costs. Some nonprofits, like OpenStax, have produced textbooks based on this material. The survey shows that OER has made inroads: 22 percent of people who teach introductory courses, subjects in which free textbooks are most commonly available, use it as required material, up from 15 percent last year.


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