My Students Share How OER Made a Positive Impact!
By Eszti Major-Rohrer
I’ve been open. Open with my intent to use open educational resources (OER) for my class. Open about the fact that I will ask questions about the experience to use OER. Open in my blogs about the wins and the difficulties of curating and using these wonderful open resources.
And now, that the Hungarian class I was teaching at Ohio University’s College of Business is over, my students are open with me.
I never intended to conduct scientific research about the impacts of OER. Frankly, my student pool wasn’t diverse or large enough to give a representative sample. But the group was wonderful to test my hypotheses that: 1) Teaching with OER makes me more prepared because I need to evaluate and review every piece of course content 2) Teaching with OER keeps my students engaged and ready to read/watch/listen to the course content.
I have to say; this class was a win all around. My teacher evaluation came back, and it made me feel proud. Evaluating the curated OER resources made me think about my class quite a bit, to make sure I plan out every move and every activity (like having the students take a free Hungarian practice driver’s test). And my students noticed this! They complimented the class structure, the openness, and the engagement. And what did they think about OER in general?
I put the question to the class. I asked to the students during the final exam (with no right or wrong answer): “This class used 100% open educational resources (free to you). Did you notice any difference? Did it impact your learning? Did it impact the class experience? If so, how? Please share your thoughts.”
Let the student evaluations speak for themselves:
“The only main difference that I noticed was the quality of the videos. I don’t believe it impacted my learning at all, we learned a lot and didn’t have to purchase a book to do so. I enjoyed it overall. I feel like this class was structured in a great way that helped me to learn.”
“Whenever educational resources are free and easy to access for students it is great. It creates less stress for the student, and they can concentrate more on the course material.”
“It was great because I didn’t have to worry about getting a book or selling it after. It also made it easier on my back for not having to carry books.”
“I did not notice any difference in the quality of learning. It was nice not to have to buy any resources. I also liked that all the resources we used could be found online and could be accessed outside the classroom.”
“It was nice not to have to pay for a lengthy book that probably wouldn’t be used to its fullest potential.”
“I liked that everything we used was easily accessible to us and on one page in the LMS. It made it a lot easier to study and reference things rather than getting lost in the Hungarian side of Google for info.”
“I feel that it increased my overall engagement in the course. It was a nice change not having to worry about buying textbooks or access codes. It was also nice having constant access to the resources and having them easy to understand and easy to find. I feel like this improved my learning experience.”
“No, I didn’t notice any difference. I thought it was taught just like any other class is taught with the same information and shown the same types of things. It didn’t impact my learning because I know what I needed to know. It didn’t impact my class experience, except I think we were shown more resources to use and that helped us.”
“I didn’t notice at all. All of the materials were relevant and helpful. There was that one map that was too small to see much of it, but it did not affect learning at all.”
“I enjoyed being able to access information any time. It was nice not having to buy an access code or book for this class. I did notice that I went to the course site more and explored the different tabs. My class experience was very good, and I felt like I had more independence with my work.”
“Yes, I noticed differences compared to textbooks. There was a lot more available information, ability to fact check new knowledge and bring in and discuss new information. This class was also more interactive with the videos.”
“I think that it was beneficial to have open resources because it was much more laid back than a typical language class.”
“Didn’t notice any difference. Wouldn’t have even known if you hadn’t mentioned it in class. I now notice more in other classes when we use paid resources.”
My conclusion? OER made a positive impact and I’d do this over and over again. Teaching with OER made me more prepared, it felt like I did my homework right. Offering OER to students made me feel proud, so they didn’t have the burden of spending too much on course content. Offering all content organized in the LMS was validated! Students do enjoy easy access to course content when it’s simple and explained to them.
The class is now over, and the group is heading over to Hungary in a couple of weeks. They will have a wonderful time, they’ll be prepared and ready to make a positive impact during their consulting projects.