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Monday, October 18 • 1:45pm - 2:25pm
OER Awareness and Adoption Trends in US Higher Education through the COVID-19 Pandemic (2019-2021)

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This presentation examines the changing nature of factors impacting OER awareness and adoption across US Higher Education, using data collected in Bay View Analytics surveys conducted in 2019, 2020, and 2021. The surveys include those conducted as part of our William and Flora Hewlett Foundation project tracking OER awareness and adoption, as well as several additional research efforts exploring changes to teaching and learning arising from the pandemic.

Bay View Analytics studies have shown a string of steady, year-over-year increases in OER adoption, up through 2020. However, the factors impacting OER awareness and adoption were starting to change, and the COVID-19 pandemic further disrupted trends with Fall 2020 marking the first year with no increase in OER adoption rates. What, then, can we expect the pattern to look like in 2021 and beyond?

Many of the pandemic-induced changes in higher education bode well for OER adoption. Faculty adopted digital materials in larger numbers than ever before, reporting a much more positive view of digital materials and expressing a greater desire to use them in the future than we’ve seen in prior years. Many faculty moved away from using a single source of materials for their courses, instead adopting a mix-and-match approach to assembling material for their curricula — a core component of OER. Faculty also adopted new teaching methods, reexamining what course materials would best serve their new teaching approaches.

For all the factors that suggest that OER adoption gains will resume, there are also aspects of the changes in higher education that indicate a more challenging time for OER. Commercial publishers accelerated their transition to digital distribution models, muting the OER advantage in digital materials. Additionally, commercial inclusive access arrangements, which were already growing into a serious alternative to OER before the pandemic, were adopted in even greater numbers as institutions scrambled for solutions.

This presentation uses data from multiple nationally representative surveys of faculty and academic administrators to examine how their approach to discovering, evaluating, and selecting teaching materials is changing. The most recent results are compared to those from 2019 and 2020 to highlight how the factors impacting OER awareness and adoption are changing.

After participating in this session, attendees will be able to:
  • Understand how awareness and adoption of OER has grown over time among U.S. education
  • Know what factors have impacted this growth, and how they are changing
  • See how the pandemic-induced changes in higher education are having both a positive and negative impact on OER awareness and adoption
  • Understand several possible scenarios for future pattern of OER adoption among U.S. higher education


Jeff Seaman

Director, Bay View Analytics

Julia Seaman

Director, Bay View Analytics

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Monday October 18, 2021 1:45pm - 2:25pm EDT
Room C