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Working with individual institutions to assess the efficacy and impact of OER


OpenStax College produce peer reviewed open textbooks in a range of subjects. With 22 open textbooks published to date since their inception in June 2012, in April 2016 OpenStax reported that almost a quarter (22%) of US colleges/universities were using at least one OpenStax open textbook. You can remix OpenStax College textbooks and browse other OER on their repository and remix platform, OpenStax CNX (formerly Connexions).

This case study originally appeared on the OER Hub website at http://oerhub.net/what-we-do/case-studies/

OpenStax College

January 2013 – Spring 2015

Collaborative research with OER Hub comprised of two phases. During 2013 and 2014/2015 the OER Hub ran questionnaires for both students and educators utilising OpenStax materials. These questionnaires aimed to both find out more about participants use of OER but also the impact of OpenStax materials. We also gathered feedback on behalf of OpenStax on the perceived quality of the textbooks. A small number of interview impact case studies were also carried out with educators as part of this research phase.

A second phase of separately funded research took place during autumn and winter 2014. This comprised of targeted case studies with select institutions to assess the impact of OpenStax textbooks, their efficacy and user feedback. Interviews with educators and a small student focus group took place both online and face-to-face during a trip to Washington in November 2014. A range of perceived benefits were reported by students during this study, including higher levels of increased independence and self-reliance than other students using OER as part of their formal studies and perceived grade improvement.


Pitt, R. Mainstreaming Open Textbooks: Educator Perspectives on the Impact of OpenStax College open textbooks The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning (IRRODL) Volume 16, No4 (2015) 133-155. http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/2381

OpenStax infographic OER Research Hub Student Survey <https://openstaxcollege.org/news/oer-research-hub-student-survey and OER>

Research Hub Educator Survey https://openstaxcollege.org/news/oer-research-hub-educator-survey

Exploring the Impact of Open Textbooks around the World. BCcampus: Open Textbooks Summit, Vancouver, British Columbia (28 May 2015) http://www.slideshare.net/BeckPitt/exploring-the-impact-of-open-textbooks-around-the-world