Hilton III, J. L., Guadet, D., Clark, P., Robinson, J., & Wiley, D. (2013). The adoption of Open Educational Resources by One Community College Math Department. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 14(4), 37-50.


This study reports on one community college’s adoption of open educational resources (OER) across five different math classes. 2,043 students had access to OER during Fall Semester 2012. Surveys based on Bliss, et al. (2013) were administered to faculty and students during class time.

The study pursued three research questions: (1) How much money did students save because of the use of open textbooks? (2) Did the patterns of retention and student success change after OER was implemented? (3) How did students and faculty perceive OER quality, compared to other materials? The researchers also compared the previous two years’ retention rates as well as the number of students who passed their courses (C grade or better).

Findings suggest that there was little to no change in educational outcomes after switching to OER and that students saved a considerable amount of money. Both students and faculty held favorable perceptions of the materials. That said, questions about textbook quality are going to be rooted in understandings of what textbooks typically are and how they are expected to function. Hence the disagreement among faculty respondents about perceived quality.


Hilton III, J. L., Lutz, N., & Wiley, D. (2012). Examining the reuse of open textbooks. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 13(2), 45-58.


Prior research has found rates of revision and remixing to be relatively low among faculty using open educational resources (OER). To test this trend, the researchers study the revision and remixing practices of faculty who have adopted Flat World Knowledge FWK textbooks.

To examine the extent to which teachers reused, revised, and remixed FWK texts, the researchers assumed a multistep approach: matching corresponding course sections based on customized and original open texts, eliminating custom texts with no match, and pairing shared text for analysis.

Overall, they found that only 7.5% of textbooks had been customized. A strong relationship existed between user customization and the simplicity by which one was able to customize. FTW texts, as a particular brand of OER, have their own unique limitations to customizing content. This study could valuably be applied to other OER ecosystems for greater understanding of the findings.

Gallant, J. (2015). Librarians transforming textbooks: The past, present, and future of the Affordable Learning Georgia initiative. Georgia Library Quarterly, 52(2). 1-6.


The Affordable Learning Georgia (ALG) project seeks to provide faculty with support to reduce educational costs and make textbooks more affordable for students. As a result of this project, ALG is expected to save students over an estimated $9 million in course materials between the 2015 and 2016 fiscal years.

Textbook Transformation Grants are at the heart of the initiative, encouraging faculty, librarians, and instructional designers to explore the use of open educational resources (OER) and partnerships by way of load releases and financial compensation to accommodate any additional workload. For those instructors making use of ready-made OER, the strain is said to be no different than that which one encounters when adopting new course texts. In addition to monetary benefits of adopting OER under ALG,  faculty have valued this project as it allows them to rethink their courses and seek a new way to engage their students.

Though the details on this initiative are valuable, this article does little more than recount the rationale and execution behind this project.

Filippou, J., Cheong, C., & Cheong, F. (2015). Designing persuasive systems to influence learning: Modeling the impact of study habits on academic performance.


Persuasive technology (e.g. social media) has proven efficacy in influencing the behavior of users. This study seeks to understand how persuasive technology might be used to improve student study habits. They hypothesize that positive change to a student’s study habits would lead to improvement in their learning outcomes.

An online survey was administered, consisting of two sections: (1) questions about demographic information and (2) the Motivated Strategies for Learning Questionnaire (MSLQ) which is commonly used to evaluate study habits. Not only is participation self-selected, it stands to reason that a modifying a version of the MSLQ to address technology-based learning would have produced more appropriate results.

The researchers found that learning is complex. When study habits proved most impactful, they related to resource management, perceptions of task value, and learning expectations. By targeting these habits, the researcher suggests that designers stand to gain from targeting these habits.

Everard, A., & Pierre, K. S. (2014). A case for student adoption of open textbooks. Journal of the Academy of Business Education, 15. 66-76.


This study investigates the experience of 148 students who used an open textbook in their upper-level Management Information Systems class. OER was adopted in response to more common student options to rent, buy used, or not purchase textbooks at all. Flat World Knowledge published the textbook used, and faculty made some modifications to the text: deleting unnecessary chapters and pulling in content from other open textbooks.

Analysis of survey results found that users’ satisfaction with the quality and usability of the open textbook was comparable to those of a traditional textbook. Because open textbooks (a) have great potential to lower the cost of higher education while still (b) delivering reliable content, the findings provide empirical support for the viability and reliability of open textbooks as alternatives to traditional student resources. Where some students might struggle the digital media constituting most OER, the largest burden falls to faculty whose adoption is limited to the small number of resources available and whose time must be allocated to revising materials.

The authors place valuable stress on the importance of supporting and involving faculty if the OER movement seeks to enrich and enhance education beyond simply trading out materials.

Fischer, L., Hilton, J., Robinson, J. T., & Wiley, D. A. (2015). A multi-institutional study of the impact of open textbook adoption on the learning outcomes of post-secondary students. Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 27(3), 159–172.


This study sought to uncover whether the adoption of open textbooks significantly contributed to students’ course completion, class achievement, and enrollment intensity during and after semesters of exposure to open educational resources (OER). Utilizing a quantitative, quasi-experimental design with propensity-score matched groups to examine the differences in outcomes between students who did and did not use OER in coursework.

4128 students enrolled in undergraduate courses from four four-year institutions (Chadron State College, Mercy College, Peru, and Pittsburg State University), and 12,599 students from six community colleges (Middlesex Community College, Middle Valley Community College, Onondaga Community College, Santa Ana Community College, Salt Lake Community College, and Tompkins Cortland Community College) comprised the  data set. In favor of clarity of prediction and persistence of outcomes, the researchers used propensity score matching to group like subsets of students in therms of age, gender, and minority status.

This is the largest study of its kind to date, which is important considering the consistency of outcomes found across traditional and open textbook populations. Findings also concluded a clear rise in enrollment intensity among OER classes. Further investigation into the role of instructional design seems like a necessary compliment to these findings.

Fejes, A. (2008). What’s the use of Foucault in research on lifelong learning and post-compulsory education? A review of four academic journals. Studies In The Education Of Adults, 40(1), 7-23.


This article takes up discussions centered on uses of Foucault’s theories on governmentality, genealogy, power, knowledge, discipline, subjectivity, and so on in relation to lifelong learning and post-compulsory education. The researcher conducted a qualitative analysis of four academic journals’ related publications between 1999 and 2006, finding 56 articles in total.

Analyses focused on the different uses of Foucault in the articles, categorizing in response to questions about the type, form, and extent of which authors draw on Foucault’s theories. Though the researcher strongly believes that researchers might productively use Foucauldian analyses in studies of lifelong learning, the application of such theories is the literature studied often seemed superficial. And so there is room to play in using Foucault’s work as a primary interpretive strategy.

Farrow, R., Pitt, R., de los Arcos, B., Perryman, L.-A., Weller, M., & McAndrew, P. (2015). Impact of OER use on teaching and learning: Data from OER research hub (2013-2014). British Journal of Educational Technology, 46(5), 972–976.


The dataset behind this study is an openly shared asset of the OER Research Hub, an open research project based at The Open University (UK). The project has conducted surveys, focus groups, and gathered data about the use of open educational resources worldwide.

Looking to a dataset populated by more than 20 separate surveys of different sizes and samples but with common core questions, certain bands of information emerged through analysis: profiles of learners and teachers, behaviors toward OER, motivations behind particular OER use, challenges faced in OER use, the impact of OER on pedagogical practice, and so on. Unlike other studies, the scale of their dataset allowed for examples of OER beyond just basic textbooks (e.g. course elements, multimedia, lectures, lesson plans, assessments, datasets, and learning tools.

Generally, the metrics that the OER Research Hub is capable of collaboratively uncovering posthoc seems an impressive argument in favor of open data. Because of variation in survey instruments and collection methods among resulting data, however, it seems imperative that large-scale data sharing efforts should prioritize the standardization of metrics as much as possible before collection.

Clements, K., Pawlowski, J., & Manouselis, N. (2015). Open educational resources repositories literature review – towards a comprehensive quality approaches framework. Computers in Human Behavior, 51, 1098–1106.


Researchers systematically analyzed technology-enhanced learning literature as it relates to learning object repositories (LOR). LORs have been expanding in number and scale with the growing adoption of the OER they curate. LORs have struggled, however, to find sustainable business models for quality assurance, which previous studies have shown to be critical to predicting the success of a repository.

The literature review method used in this study was borrowed from Fink (2005) and Kitchenham (2004). During analysis, the researchers used synonyms for OER and LOR for identifying related studies, most of which addressed the last five years of research.

Findings suggest that while expert review might not be the most economic approach, it seems necessary to evaluating the “substance” of resources in a repository. Once a community is established enough, however, peer reviews and other user-generated collaborative quality assurance mechanisms may be trusted. Final recommendations formed what the researchers called the LOR quality approaches framework (LORQAF).

Bliss, T., Robinson, T. J., Hilton, J., & Wiley, D. A. (2013). An OER COUP: College teacher and student perceptions of open educational resources. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, Spring.


This study was developed in response to the lack of empirical research on Open Educational Resources (OER). Collecting data from eight community colleges that participated in Project Kaleidoscope (PK)–an initiative supporting faculty adoption of ready-made OER–teachers and students were surveyed about cost, outcomes, uses, and perceptions (COUP) associated with OER use.

Over 80 community college teachers who used PK texts in their Winter 2012 courses were asked to complete an online questionnaire regarding COUP. All instructors were then provided links to administer surveys to their students. 490 students from all eight PK institutions participated. This self-selected survey approach is naturally the weakness of this study.

Faculty and student perceptions of cost for traditional and open textbooks were aligned. In terms of outcomes, teacher preparation time was consistent between textbook types, the majority of teachers adjusted their pedagogy to fit the digital media of open texts, student preparedness was consistent between textbook types, and few students found that OER impeded their learning. No meaningful increase in student use of texts was indicated by faculty or students. And generally all respondents percieved their OER to be quality resources.