Retention and Completion with OER Implementation

Retention and Completion
with OER Implementation
• OERs have been around for a long time:
– MERLOT: 1997
– MIT Open Courseware: 2002
– BCCampus OpenEd: 2003
• State- or region-wide OER Textbook
replacement programs are rather new:
– CSU Affordable Learning Solutions: 2010
– UMN Open Textbook Library: 2012
– Affordable Learning Georgia: 2013
OER and Retention / Completion
• Large retention and completion analyses in
these new statewide programs are still
• We can look at both related and measurable
factors to retention and completion within
case studies to predict the effects OER will
have in the future.
Related Retention Factors
• Availability of Academic Resources
• Satisfaction with Costs
From research literature, we do know that:
• Medium or high levels of academic resources
available at an institution lead to a higher
probability of degree completion.
• Correlation was even stronger with students of
lower socioeconomic status (SES), but positively
correlated at all SES levels.
Potential Impact from OER:
• The creation, adaptation, and adoption of OER
within courses increases the availability of
academic resources.
Academic Resources
Cabrera, A. et al. (2012). Pathways to a four-year degree. In Seidman, A., ed. (2012). College Student Retention, 2nd ed. Lanham:
Rowman and Littlefield, Inc.
Also from the literature:
• Satisfaction with the costs of a four-year degree program
leads to higher degree completion rates among low-SES
Potential Impact from OER:
• OERs reduce the associated costs of a degree program,
leading to increased satisfaction with costs.
• OER replacements of commercial textbooks have saved
students millions of dollars, including over $1 million in USG
FY 2014.
• The UGA Biology pilot project alone saved students over
$150,000 in one year—6 times the cost of the project’s
Incubator Grant.
Satisfaction with Costs
Cabrera, A. et al. (2012). Pathways to a four-year degree. In Seidman, A., ed. (2012). College Student Retention, 2nd ed. Lanham:
Rowman and Littlefield, Inc.
Measurable Retention Factors
Grade Performance
Retention and Successful Completion in Courses
Passing Percentage per Student Dollar Spent on
Learning Materials
Grade performance obviously affects retention and
completion, but how do OER fit in?
In an Open University student survey:
• OER textbook replacements improved grades for 47%
of respondents
• 66% had an increase in the subject’s interest after
using OER in courses
• 64% of respondents had an increase in learning
experience satisfaction in OER courses over other
• 45% reported an increase in lesson engagement with
OER courses
Grade Performance
• In a one-year pilot program to replace
commercial textbooks with OER:
– 30-40% increase in GPAs
– More than $200,000 in student savings
Case: Virginia State College of Business
• In a college-wide adoption or OER: All 27
sections of Basic Mathematics replaced
commercial textbooks with OER in fall 2012.
• The pass rate for the course increased from
48.40% in spring 2011 to 68.90% in fall 2012.
• Students saved $125,000 during the first year.
• According to a new measure proposed by David
Wiley of Lumen Learning: This is an over 50x
increase in passing percentage per dollar spent
by students on course materials.
Case: Mercy College Mathematics
The first USG Open Textbook was made for the core
curriculum US History I course and implemented in eCore in
Summer and Fall 2013.
• In Spring 2013, prior to open text implementation: 88%
HIST 2111 retention rate.
• In Summer 2013, the first semester with the Open
Textbook, retention increased to 94%.
• Successful completion (grades A, B, and C) rose from 56% in
the spring to 84% in the summer with the open textbook.
– Retention is the measure of non-withdrawals (grades A,B,C,D,F)
– Successful course completion is the measure of grades A, B, and
C. Non-successful course completion is the measure of grades
D, F, W, and WF.
Case: University System of Georgia
• OER implementation directly improves these related
and measurable retention and completion factors:
– Academic Resources Available
• Open Textbooks available at all times with no cost-related barriers
to access
– Satisfaction with Costs
• Open Textbooks are free
• Especially increases completion in low SES students
– Grade Performance
• Increased course retention, successful completion rates, and
overall GPAs in case studies
• Increased student performance per dollar spent on learning

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