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Are Open Education Resources the Next Big Thing?

Open educational resources (OER) are educational materials that any professor or student can access and adapt.

April 12, 2022

With the continuous rise in online educational opportunities, particularly the shift to hybrid learning and virtual classrooms, the need for varied and accessible educational resources is growing as well. 

Whether it is the professor that needs to adapt a course to suit the students' needs or a student who is in need of additional support, open educational resources are cost-efficient and beneficial options for the educational sector. 

Open educational resources have the opportunity to transform the online learning experience for educators and teachers when utilized to their fullest potential, so it is important to recognize the many benefits they provide. 

What are Open Educational Resources?

Open Education Resources (OER) are free, open-copyright licensed or public domain teaching resources and materials. Users can access, reuse, revise, remix, or redistribute the material at any time. Essentially, educators are able to use and adapt open educational resources as part of their course, and students can freely access materials for their course, or on their own, for additional support. 

There are many types of OER materials, which can include: 

  • Online courses
  • Open textbooks 
  • video and audio resources 
  • Slideshows 
  • Virtual labs or other types of virtual simulators 
  • Syllabi or course outlines
  • Quizzes, assignments, or other supplementary materials 

How Can Open Educational Resources Benefit Professors? 

Open educational resources give educators the ability to create and design a customized course, textbook, or learning materials. Professors can create and use open educational resources as a supplement to augment or enhance other course materials or as a primary resource. 

Educators are no longer tied down to the conventional textbook or teaching model. Most educators find that the quality of open educational resources is equal in quality to their commercial counterparts, and that these resources can be used to reduce costs and improve pedagogy, but the hesitation for using them is often a matter of practical implementation. 

However, for the professors that have taken the time to learn how to use and implement open educational resources in their classrooms, they recognize that there are many benefits to utilizing OER, including: 

  • Students will essentially have immediate access and will be better able to fully participate and engage in the class right from the beginning.
  • Instructors can edit and adapt content to individual and/or group needs - promoting equality and differentiation. 
  • Their authored resources can be released openly and available to anyone.
  • Traditionally marginalized voices in education can be empowered by reducing or eliminating barriers to publication.

Open Educational Resources also give educators the opportunity to supplement other course materials when deficiencies exist. 

Additionally, when various resources are used to present the same concepts, some students may better understand the material when approaching it through a different lens.  

The opportunity to improve student learning should be at the forefront of educators' minds when choosing course materials. 

How Do Open Educational Resources Benefit Students? 

Professors are not the only ones who can benefit from open educational resources. Studies show that many students often have to choose between eating and educational expenses, with up to 66% of students admitting they will delay or avoid the purchase of course materials because of costs whenever possible. 

This means that if students choose living expenses, they will likely have to sacrifice their learning opportunities. Open educational resources, however, are more affordable and accessible, which eliminates a significant cost burden for many college students. 

Studies point to the many benefits, beyond affordability, that students receive from using OER resources. 

Because open educational resources are generally free or very low cost, it increases student accessibility almost immediately. 

Rather than waiting for financial aid or having to pick up extra shifts to afford textbooks, students taking courses that utilize OER start the term with higher engagement and on stronger academic footing - they are shown to have better grades, lower failure rates, and lower withdrawal rates than students in classes with traditional materials. 

How Does Classavo Support the Concept of Open Educational Resources? 

The ability to create and customize courses is made even easier with the right online platform. Classavo has the tools that allow professors to create unique courses that align with their teaching styles and their students' needs. Creators Rohan Shah and Huy Duc Pham have built this innovative EdTech platform to help professors and students alike.

Shah has a desire to "motivate and empower students," and Classavo is just one tool in that broader goal. On a more practical level, one goal of Classavo is based on Shah's own experiences as a student, and that is to reduce costs for students, such as those associated with conventional print textbooks, digital access codes, and handheld clickers. The all-in-one platform is truly all-in-one for students and professors. 

Professors will find the opportunity to edit digital textbooks, add photos, graphics, or other features, and even add questions that students can answer directly in the text. 

Having all course materials on one platform will greatly enhance and improve the online teaching experience for educators and the learning experience for their students. 

We Believe OER is the Future of Education

The classroom has transformed significantly with the transition to online courses and digital textbooks, but open educational resources have the capability of truly transforming the educational experience for everyone involved. 

Professors can create and customize course content to be relevant and accessible to their entire student body. Students, particularly those who may otherwise be faced with food or housing insecurity, may not have to choose between regular meals and textbooks. 

Guaranteed access to educational materials makes for a more productive, fulfilling, and successful learning experience.

Not only does Classavo support customized courses, it has easy attendance tracking options, live polling, discussion boards, data-driven analytics tools to monitor student engagement and progress, and more. 

With our commitment to accessibility, Classavo is free for professors and inexpensive for students - they can save up to 72% of the costs associated with traditional learning materials. To find out more about how your classroom can benefit from Classavo and integrate open education resources into your coursework, contact us today to get started.

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