Babson Study: Faculty Report Low Awareness And Use Of Open Resources, But See Potential For The Future

Program aimed at reducing the costs of textbooks for students begins with faculty awareness of open educational resources

Article ID: 640928

Released: 6-Oct-2015 9:05 AM EDT

Source Newsroom: Babson College

Newswise — North Dakota University System faculty are just beginning to understand the potential for open educational resources (OER) according to a new report from Babson Survey Research Group (BSRG) and the North Dakota University System (NDUS).

The Open Educational Resources Initiative in North Dakota is the result of a 2013 Legislative interest urging the North Dakota University System to reduce the cost of textbooks. Thanks to funding from the 2015 Legislative session, the idea is becoming a reality with the launch of a state-wide initiative to reduce the cost of textbooks for students, estimated to be $1,100 per year per student.

The study is a statewide replication of a previous national BSRG investigation of OER adoption to 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 over 2,000 faculty members.

Key findings from the report include:

• NDUS faculty are more aware of open educational resources than their counterparts nationally. • Similar to their peers nationally, NDUS faculty are taking the initiative with OER adoption. NDUS faculty report similar barriers to adoption; however, they also report that they are currently using a variety of OERs for instruction (primarily videos). • More than half of NDUS faculty and those at national public institutions report that they are not sufficiently aware of OER to judge its quality. • The most significant barrier to wider adoption of OER remains a faculty perception of the time and effort required to find and evaluate it. • Faculty are the key decision makers for OER adoption. At the two-year Associates level, North Dakota University System faculty enjoy significantly more autonomy in the selection of course materials than their peers who teach at the associates level at public institutions nationally.• A majority of North Dakota University System faculty say that they “will” or “might” use open resources in the next three years.

“It’s a privilege to lead a project that brings so many people together to make a positive difference for students,” said Tanya Spilovoy, Director of Distance Education and State Authorization. “There has been tremendous interest and support from students, parents, faculty, administrators, and legislators.”

Dr. Jeff Seaman, Director of the Babson Survey Research Group, said, “We are pleased to be working with NDUS and to be able to help track the progress of this important project. We applaud them for their efforts in establishing an opening benchmark, so that they will be able to accurately measure their progress.”

The complete report, Opening Public Institutions: OER in North Dakota and the Nation, 2015 is released under a Creative Commons BY license and is available for download at

About the North Dakota University System

The North Dakota University System ( includes 11 unique campuses: two world-class research institutions, four outstanding regional universities and five vibrant community colleges. Through our investment in technology, students are now able to attend classes from wherever they are and choose course schedules that work for their busy lives, expanding access to North Dakota public higher education farther than ever before.

About Babson Survey Research Group

The Babson Survey Research Group at Babson College ( conducts regional, national, and international research projects, including survey design, sampling methodology, data integrity, statistical analyses and reporting.


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