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Last year Achieving the Dream began a $9.8-million project to use open educational resources (OER) to create degree programs at 38 community colleges. A study on early returns, which was conducted by SRI International and the rpk GROUP, found that faculty members are changing their teaching in the OER courses and that students are at least as engaged in the courses as they are in conventional ones.

The project focuses on faculty members that have previous experience with OER or teaching online. While the study found that instructors were very positive about the advantages of OER, they said creating the courses takes up to twice as long. The study also found that 71 percent of participating instructors said they are likely to promote the use of open resources to their colleagues.

“OER gives all students a chance of being equally ready on day one of class and has the promise of cutting costs to students, especially when deployed in full degree pathways," Karen Stout, Achieving the Dream's president and CEO, said in a written statement. "Equally important, OER has the promise of improving student engagement with course materials and can re-energize faculty engagement in course design and spark more dynamic approaches to teaching.”