4 OER + Student Impact

The Role of OER in Student Retention and Enrolment

The empirical research on the use of OER reveals the following impacts on students:

  • Increase in success rates:
    • University of Georgia researchers found that access to an open textbook on the first day of class improved end-of-course grades and decreased the rates of receiving a D, F, or withdrawal for all students, with the greatest impact on historically underserved student populations (Colvard et al., 2018).
  • Increase in enrolment:
    • Nusbaum & Cuttler (2020) found that students were more likely to enroll in courses that had zero textbook costs than courses that used traditional textbooks, and that students rated instructors more positively when OER were used.
  • Decrease in costs:
    • Researchers at Tidewater Community College showed a 25% decrease in student cost to graduate through its Z-Degree programs (zero textbook cost programs), compared to traditional programs where proprietary texts were used (Wiley et al, 2016).


Colvard, N.B., Watson, C.E.,  & Park, H. (2018). The impact of open educational resources on various student success metrics. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher  Education, 30(2), 262-276.

Nusbaum, A.T. & Cuttler, C. (2020). Hidden impacts of OER: Effects of OER on instructor ratings and course selection. Frontiers in Education, 5(72). doi: 10.3389/feduc.2020.00072

Wiley, D., Williams, L., DeMarte, D., & Hilton, J. (2016). The Tidewater Z-Degree and the INTRO model for sustaining OER adoption. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 23(41). http://dx.doi.org/10.14507/epaa.v23.1828



Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

OER @ Niagara College: A Quickstart Guide for Faculty Copyright © by Jackie Chambers Page and Siscoe Boschman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book


Comments are closed.