Encouraging Impacts of an Open Education Resource Degree Initiative on College Students’ Progress to Degree

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Griffiths, R., Mislevy, J., & Wang, S. (2022). Encouraging impacts of an Open Education Resource Degree Initiative on college students’ progress to degree. Higher Education. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10734-022-00817-9


Textbooks are traditional and useful learning resources for college students, but commercial texts books have been widely criticized for their high costs, restricted access, limited flexibility, and uninspiring learning experiences. Open Education Resources (OER) are an alternative to commercial textbooks that have the potential to increase college affordability, access, and instructional quality. The current study examined how an OER degree—or pathway of OER courses that meet the requirements for a degree program—impacted students’ progress to degree at 11 US community colleges. We conducted quasi-experimental impact studies and meta-analysis examining whether OER course enrollment was associated with differences in credit accumulation and cumulative GPA over multiple terms. Overall, we found a positive effect of OER degrees on credit accumulation and no significant difference on cumulative GPA. Taken together, these results suggest students are maintaining their GPAs despite taking more courses, on average. This suggests that students taking OER courses were making faster progress towards degrees than their peers who took no OER courses.

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