Open Educational Resources

2017 K-12 Report

What We Teach: K-12 School District Curriculum Adoption Process, 2017

What We Teach: K-12 School District Curriculum Adoption Process, 2017

Over three-quarters of K-12 districts have made at least one full-course curricula adoption decision over the past three years, with the need to meet changing standards driving most of these decisions, according to the results of a new survey from the Babson Survey Research Group (BSRG).

The project, funded by a grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, surveyed a national sample of over 500 decision makers in K-12 school districts to examine the process by which they made curriculum adoption decisions and the extent to which open educational resources (OER), freely available materials that can be copied, edited and shared, factor into those decisions. Key findings from the report include:

  • Most districts make an adoption decision for Mathematics (59 percent), followed by English Language Arts (44 percent), Science (29 percent), and History and Social Studies (19 percent).
  • The overwhelming reason districts cite as the reason to engage in an adoption decision is a need to select new material to meet changing standards.
  • Teachers have decision-making power in the adoption process for 94 percent of districts, followed by district-level administrators (75 percent), and principals (73 percent).

Dr. Jeff Seaman, Co-Director of the Babson Survey Research Group, said, “A district curriculum adoption decision is a long and complicated process that involves many players and the consideration of multiple alternatives. The driving force is typically the perception that the existing materials no longer meet current standards.”

Dr. Seaman continued that “districts often have only a vague understanding of the term 'open educational resources' and of specifics of licensing, but they are well aware of open full-course curriculum products, even if they remain somewhat fuzzy on what makes them 'open'."

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Previous reports

2016 National Report

Opening the Textbook: Open Education Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2015-16

Opening the Textbook: Open Education Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2015-16

Awareness of open educational resources (OER) among U.S. higher education teaching faculty has improved, but still remains less than a majority, according to a new report from the Babson Survey Research Group.

Survey results, using responses of over 3,000 faculty, show that OER status is not a driving force in the selection of educational materials – with the most cited barrier being the effort required to find and evaluate such materials. While use of open resources is low overall, it is somewhat higher among large enrollment introductory-level courses. Key findings from the report include:

  • Faculty awareness of OER has increased, with 25% of faculty reporting that they were “Aware” or “Very Aware” of open educational resources, up from 20% last year.
  • Only 5.3% of courses are using open textbooks (includes public domain and Creative Commons licensed).
  • Large enrollment introductory undergraduate courses have adopted openly licensed OpenStax College textbooks at twice the rate (10%) as openly licensed textbooks among all courses.

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Detailed State Examination

Opening Public Institutions: OER in North Dakota and the Nation, 2015

Opening Public Institutions: OER in North Dakota and the Nation, 2015

North Dakota University System faculty are just beginning to understand the potential for open educational resources. The Open Educational Resources Initiative in North Dakota is the result of a 2013 Legislative interest urging the North Dakota University System (NDUS) to reduce the cost of textbooks estimated to be $1,100 per year per student. The idea is now becoming a reality with the launch of a statewide initiative.

This study is a statewide replication of the Babson Survey Research Group national investigation of OER adoption and will be used as a benchmark, against which future advances will be measured. The North Dakota results, based on responses from faculty at the 11 NDUS campuses, are compared with those from the national sample of faculty members.

Opening Public Institutions: OER in North Dakota and the Nation, 2015 (pdf)

2014 National Report

Opening the Curriculum: Open Education Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2014

Opening the Curriculum: Open Education Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2014

This report, funded by a grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation with additional support from Pearson, examines the attitudes, opinions, and use of Open Educational Resources (OER) among teaching faculty in U.S. higher education.

2012 National Report

Growing the Curriculum: Open Education Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2012

Growing the Curriculum: Open Education Resources in U.S. Higher Education

This 2012 report, funded by a grant from The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation with additional support from Pearson, examines the role of Open Educational Resources in higher education. As part of the ongoing Babson Survey Research Group’s online learning reports, we have asked institutional academic leaders questions on their knowledge, use and opinion of OER as part of the 2009 - 2011 surveys. In addition, BSRG conducted surveys asking faculty in higher education and academic technology administrators their opinions of these resources. Our survey of faculty on their use of social media also asked for faculty opinions on OER. This report uses data from all of these sources.