About this Research Topic
Research on the cost, outcomes, use, and perceptions (COUP) related to Open Educational Resources (OER) has developed considerably in recent years. Findings have generally shown no effect of OER on student learning. However, this could be explained by the access hypothesis, which posits that only some students benefit from having course materials freely available. Indeed, recent evidence showed that students who were from lower income backgrounds (based on financial aid eligibility) experienced more of a benefit from OER than their peers from other backgrounds. However, there are a number of other student characteristics important to learning such as prior academic achievement, background knowledge, motivation, and learning needs that may be relevant to OER. One goal of this Research Topic is to present research involving subgroup analyses in order to better understand which students benefit most from OER.
Another goal of this collection of peer-reviewed articles is to address methodological concerns inherent in much of the published OER research. There has been a wealth of research comparing students in courses using OER with students in courses using commercial materials. These findings have great ecological validity as they involve examinations of actual students enrolled in real courses. However, many of these studies have been critiqued for failing to consider or control for potential confounds such as student background knowledge and prior achievement, awareness of the costs of OER compared to commercial materials, and different learning measures across courses. To address this problem with the research, we are seeking manuscripts of research studies on OER that control for confounds. Ideally, such studies would use random assignment and involve participants who were naive to the costs of the materials they were assessing. Studies that include controls for student characteristics or other confounds would also be of interest.
Finally, there is a need for research findings that better represent the actual use of OER. For example, OER use is global, but much of the research on OER is conducted in the United States or Canada. In addition, OER use in K-12 education is becoming more common, but most of the reported research on OER is from post-secondary institutions. Similarly, much research has been conducted on perceptions and efficacy of OER, but less on pedagogy involving OER. As such, we particularly welcome research from countries outside of the United States and Canada, from K-12 education, and on open pedagogy.
Along with the above issues, we welcome both quantitative and qualitative articles addressing additional underexamined areas in OER research.
Keywords: Open Textbook, Open Educational Resources, Open Pedagogy, Open Source, Open Education
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.