What is OER & How does it Help Higher Education Students in WV?
OER – Open Educational Resources – are low to no cost course materials (textbooks, for example) – that higher education institutions and their instructors can adopt for their classes so that the materials students need for their classes are as inexpensive as possible. Using OER helps every student because it greatly decreases the cost of textbooks and course materials.
In short, OER can save students hundreds of dollars every year.
The COVID-19 pandemic greatly exacerbated the country’s economic challenges, making it even more difficult for many students to afford the costs of higher education, especially high-priced textbooks. To help students, the West Virginia legislature passed legislation encouraging the adoption of OER courses in higher education.
OER materials are considered to be teaching, learning and resource materials in any medium, digital or otherwise, that reside in the public domain or have been released under an open license that presents “low cost or no cost” access, use, adoption and redistribution by others with limited or no restrictions.
According to Lumen Learning, OER includes:
- Full Courses
- Course Materials
- Streaming Videos
- Any other Tools, Materials or Techniques to Support Access to Knowledge
Purpose of OER
The purpose of OER is to provide high-quality course materials to students at low to no cost, so that more West Virginians have access to higher education.
West Virginia’s Higher Education Policy Commission and Community and Technical College System have GRANT OPPORTUNITIES to support faculty who want to create or adopt OER for use in college courses.
OER Grants Help WV Students
Converted to OER
Course enrollments compared to the cost of course materials before OER implementation, show that students experienced an aggregate savings of over $620,000 – well over a half a million dollars. This savings comes in only three semesters.
Spending a one-time $147,000 on faculty grants generated nearly $620,000 in savings that will be sustained – a strong return on investment. For everyone one dollar spent on faculty grants, students save four dollars. This is unlike other scholarships or grants, where a one dollar investment saves the student one dollar. Further, the savings will grow every semester, as over 93% of faculty members agree that they plan to convert additional courses to OER in the future.
96% of the faculty who adopted OER strongly agree or agree that switching to OER was worthwhile, and 95% strongly agree or agree that the OER materials they used were high-quality.
OER Grants Help WV Students
in which OER was adopted said the following:
of students prefer future courses to have low-cost course materials, and 89% are more likely to take a course with a low-cost option in the future.
Faculty & Student Reviews
Although the OER initiative in West Virginia is still fairly new, participating faculty and students are giving it excellent reviews! See all their quotes below.