OER Citations

Return on investment from an Open Online Course on Open Educational Resources


Panda, S. (2020). Return on investment from an Open Online Course on Open Educational Resources. In S. Mishra & S. Panda (Eds.), Technology-Enabled Learning: Policy, Pedagogy and Practice (pp. 199–212). Commonwealth of Learning.


While it has been objectively authenticated that textbooks and associated assignments have for years significantly contributed to increasing student engagement and enhancing student academic performance (Darwin, 2011; Skinner & Howes, 2013), at the same time, the undisputed supremacy of textbooks as the main source of learning has in the recent past been challenged due to high cost, the availability of free-of-cost open educational resources, and developments in social technologies and social networks. The high cost of textbooks has been reported to be an impediment to student access to higher education (Seaman & Seaman, 2018), and it can considerably influence student withdrawal from courses (Broton & Goldrick-Rab, 2016; Butcher & Hoosen, 2012; Colvard et al., 2018; Hilton III & Wiley, 2011). In some instances, students decide against buying textbooks even if this will have an adverse impact on their course grade ( Jhangiani & Jhangiani, 2017). In the community college context, a study by Bliss et al. (2013) on the cost and quality of open textbooks suggested that both faculty and students found them to be low cost and high quality. Similar findings were also reported by Brandle et al. (2019), where students of a premier university in the USA reported both cost savings and ease of access with respect to zero-textbook-cost courses. Open textbooks and open publishing have gained currency in the past decade, and openly licensed textbooks and digital/e-books have emerged as alternatives to traditional textbooks. An increasing number of initiatives by organisations and educational institutions offer zero-cost digital textbooks to teachers and students, including Athabasca University (McGreal & Chen, 2011), MERLOT, MIT, the Hewlett Foundation, the Commonwealth of Learning and UNESCO. Open educational resources (OER), a term coined at the 2002 UNESCO Forum on the Impact of Open Courseware for Higher Education in Developing Countries, are now being viewed by many national governments, schools and dedicated platform launched in August 2018. The findings reported in this chapter are based on a post-facto evaluative research study of this course (hereafter, LearnOER) offered through the dedicated platform, specifically from the point of view of return on investment/return on expectations (ROI/ROE).

Citation Type: Book Chapter