Digital Texts in the Time of COVID: Educational Resources in U.S. Higher Education, 2020 | Julia E. Seaman and Jeff Seaman | Bay View Analytics, 2021

This report presents the results of a survey conducted among a representative sample of full-time and part-time faculty teaching online and blended courses at higher education institutions in the United States in the Fall 2020, which comprised 3,232 respondents from 1,316 colleges and universities.

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Pablo Markin

Community Manager, Open Research Community


Go to the profile of Pablo Markin
10 months ago

This report indicates a growing awareness of Open Educational Resources (OERs) among the teaching faculty members in recent years, such as those developed by OpenStax,  which promote inclusive access to higher education by lowering associated cost barriers, such as by removing the need for textbook purchasing, provided that their ebook and other online formats are available in Open Access. In this respect, whereas information on OERs can be driving its usage, especially at minority-serving institutions, publisher agreements are likely to play an important role as well. Yet, the qualitative findings of this report also suggest that faculty continue to be insufficiently informed about OERs and associated topics (42%: unaware of OERs; 16%: somewhat aware), such as Creative Commons licensing, which can serve as a further obstacle for the adoption of OERs in curricular design across the breadth of undergraduate and graduate courses. Thus, the complexity of interrelations between copyrights restrictions, Creative Commons terms and the public domain may demand further clarification beyond their general notion. While the awareness of specific OER initiatives, in contrast, may assist with OER adoption, the presence of support or ancillary materials can also sway the decisions of instructors on whether to use OERs in their teaching activities. Furthermore, OERs in the form of textbooks can be generally oriented, which also demands supplementary materials for eventual course development on their basis. Yet, teaching methodologies used in existing courses can be at variance with what textbooks in Open Access offer, which may limit the extent of their adoption.