PORTLAND, Ore.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--The trend toward increased use of open educational resources (OER) is evident in preliminary figures from Lumen Learning’s OER projects this fall. Twenty institutions have partnered with Lumen to offer open content options for high demand, high enrollment courses that serve more than 6,000 students in total. Because these students are no longer required to purchase commercial textbooks or course materials, cost savings are estimated at approximately $700,000.
“More colleges and universities than ever before are offering courses based on open educational resources”
“More colleges and universities than ever before are offering courses based on open educational resources,” said Dr. David Wiley, a long-time open education advocate and co-founder of Lumen Learning. “For many general education and high enrollment courses, comparable or higher quality educational resources are available at a much lower cost than what most institutions are using today. With a growing body of research to demonstrate the positive impact on student success, academic leaders recognize it’s time to take advantage of OER.”
The number of OER initiatives supported by Lumen has more than doubled since spring semester 2013. Metrics to date indicate that student success rates in Lumen-supported open courses average 2-10% higher than for courses based on commercial materials, attributed in part to giving every student free digital access to all course materials on the first day of class. The combination of immediate cost savings and student success improvements paints a compelling picture for the future of OER.
“Colleges are finally saying, ‘Enough!’ to commercial textbook publishers and their annual textbook price increases of 5% or more,” said Kim Thanos, CEO and co-founder of Lumen Learning. “The momentum we are seeing is remarkable. Beginning in fall 2014, we project student savings to exceed $5 million every term because Lumen-supported open courses will eliminate the need for commercial textbooks in many high-enrollment courses.”
New York’s Mercy College is a case in point. In fall semester 2011, Mercy College offered no OER-based math courses. After successfully piloting a Lumen-developed open course in several sections of College Algebra during spring 2012, the College shifted all sections of College Algebra to OER in fall semester 2012. This change eliminated costs for College Algebra textbooks and online practice software for all students and resulted in success rates improving by over 5%. Starting this term, Mercy College is also using open courses from Lumen Learning for all sections of Pre-Algebra.
“We are so pleased with our transition to Lumen’s open math resources,” said Linda Casper, assistant professor of mathematics at Mercy College. “Our students are significantly more successful, and our faculty members are very comfortable with the new tools and materials. Our students have so many other challenges to navigate that wherever we can make the path to learning easier, we must be willing to make these kinds of improvements.”
Lumen makes its OER-based courses freely available under open licenses, with curriculum suitable for face-to-face, online and hybrid courses. The company also offers Candela OER Services: subscription-based service packages that support institutions’ successful transitions to and ongoing success with OER. These packages include open course development, faculty training and support, content curation, learning analytics, LMS integration and other elements that make OER a viable and sustainable academic strategy.
Lumen Learning recently announced availability of a Spring 2014 Math Pilot Program. The low-cost program will allow twenty institutions to try Lumen’s OER-based math courses supported by Candela OER Services.
About Lumen Learning
Lumen Learning provides an evidence-based approach for using open educational resources (OER) to eliminate textbook costs and improve student success. Founded by open education innovator Dr. David Wiley and education technology strategist Kim Thanos, the Lumen team has played an integral role in several of the most influential OER initiatives to date in secondary and higher education. Lumen’s Candela OER Services guide educators in integrating OER into academic strategy, training and supporting faculty, measuring success, and improving the quality of OER-based courses over time. Learn more at www.lumenlearning.com.
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