Teaching and Learning with Open Educational Resources

Achieving the Dream, with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, has partnered with SRI International to conduct research on teaching and learning with open educational resources (OER) in community colleges, including minority serving institutions (MSIs).

Research Study

The goal of the study is to understand whether and how use of OER, together with institutional supports, leads to the adoption of new pedagogical strategies in the classroom. In particular, we are interested in whether the use of OER enables open educational practices (also referred to as open pedagogy), as well as culturally responsive teaching practices.

Achieving the Dream is seeking 8-10 institutions

The main requirement for these institutional partners will be to host a site visit (either virtual or in-person) that will include class observations and interviews with faculty, staff, and students. Colleges are not required to be members of the ATD network to participate. Additional benefits and requirements of participation are described in more detail in the section below.

About the Research Study

Research Purpose
Achieving the Dream (ATD), with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, has retained SRI Education, a non-profit research institute, to conduct research on teaching and learning with open educational resources (OER) in community colleges, with a particular interest in minority-serving institutions (MSIs). The goal of the study is to understand whether and how use of OER, together with institutional supports, leads to the adoption of new pedagogical strategies such as Open Educational Practices (OEP) in the classroom, as well as culturally responsive teaching practices (CRP) and equity-minded instructional practices more generally.

Research Questions
The questions we are interested in researching are:

  1. How do community college and MSI faculty and staff conceptualize Open Education Practices, and to what extent does this conceptualization emphasize use of OER and culturally relevant practices?
  2. How did a select group of innovative instructors use OER materials to redesign their courses using OEP and/or culturally relevant practices? What types of teaching practices were observed in these courses?
  3. What college institutional policies and practices support or impede implementation of OER-enabled OEP and CRP?
    1. How did centers for teaching and learning and other academic support units engage with faculty to support OER/OEP in their courses?
  4. How does use of OEP enabled by OER relate to students’ learning experiences?

Participants
ATD and SRI are recruiting 8-10 community colleges and Minority Serving Institutions to participate in this study. We are seeking institutions with strong OER programs and innovative instructors who have implemented OER, OEP and/or culturally relevant teaching practices in their courses. 

Data Collection Activities
Data collections will include interviews with instructors, instructional designers, and other administrative and support staff; student focus groups; class observations; and collection of course artifacts such as syllabi and assignments. For classes that are meeting online in spring 2021 due to the COVID19 pandemic, we will conduct site visits virtually.

Benefits for Participation
Participating institutions will have an opportunity to gain insight into: ·how OER programs are enabling the transformation of instruction on their campuses ·what kinds of innovative pedagogical strategies and culturally relevant teaching practices are being used in connection with OER programs ·how students experience and perceive these instructional practices ·which institutional practices, policies, and conditions support or impede changes to instructional practices with OER.  Achieving the Dream will award institutions participating in the study a $5,000 travel stipend and waive registration costs for up to four staff to attend a 2022 ATD conference or learning event to share their insight and experiences. Instructors who participate in interviews will receive $40 gift cards; students who participate in interviews will receive $25 gift cards.

Timeline and Milestones

Activity

Anticipated Time Frame

Recruitment of study sites

January 2021 - February 2021

Conduct site visits

March 2021 - August 2021

Analysis & Reporting

September 2021 - February 2022

Outcomes
The products of this research will include:

  1. A framework for how open education practices are conceptualized and practiced in community colleges and the extent to which conceptions of OEP incorporate culturally relevant practices.
  2. A report on our findings about the ways in which OER enables open educational practices, including culturally relevant practices, and how these practices are experienced by students and supported by institutions.
  3. Tools to support colleges and instructors to implement these practices in their classes.

Support Required from Participating Sites

  • Recruit instructors who use OER and open education practices for the study
  • Assist SRI in obtaining any necessary institutional permissions to conduct research
  • Help to coordinate site visit scheduling
  • Participate in instructor, administrator, and support staff interviews, classroom observations, and student focus groups
  • Assist project team in collecting course artifacts

For further details, please contact Dr. Richard Sebastian, ATD’s Director of Open and Digital Learning, at rsebastian@achievingthedream.org.

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