You have /5 articles left.
Sign up for a free account or log in.

To the Editor:

The conclusion drawn by your March 18 article, Awareness of Open Educational Resources Grows, but Adoption Doesn't, that the proportion of instructors who said they had required the use of open resources had not changed from 2018-2019 numbers, may be true nationally. Once the pandemic forced most in-person classes into a remote learning situation in Spring of 2020, faculty were left to “build the plane as they flew.”

Quantitative Data From UNC Study

  • Early adopters who used resources from a collection reported that the OER project was a valuable initiative. 97% agreed the creation of the resources was worthwhile and 77% reported the resources would improve their ability to deliver high-quality instruction.  
  • Faculty found the resources to be very valuable and exposure to the resources resulted in a strong level of interest in making changes to courses.   
  • Over all, the vast majority of early adopters were very enthusiastic about the value the collections added to their online teaching (as seen in their comments below).  
  • The majority of student responders reported that the classes with openly available resources were as good as or better than other online classes they had taken. Over half reported that the student learning outcomes were clearer and more tightly linked to activities and assignments in the current class than in other online classes.  

Based upon a recently published survey by Bayview Analytics (Seaman & Seaman) on behalf of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, both faculty awareness of as well as belief in the quality of open educational resources has risen, but usage of open educational resources remains unchanged.

This is not the case within the 17 publicly funded UNC System institutions, but only because of a significant investment in an OER collaboration from the System’s academic and strategic leadership. Awareness of and faculty belief in open educational resources has indeed improved over 2018-19, but adoption of OER for high-enrollment course offerings within the UNC System also continues to increase because of leadership from the UNC System Office.

Perhaps the question of OER adoption should not be solely focused on individual faculty usage, but on the institutional supports put in place for faculty, in promoting collaboration, and in pursuit of innovative teaching methodologies across institutions. Not only were strong inter-institutional bonds formed between formerly distanced disciplinary tenured and non-tenure track faculty, instructors were able to workshop and collaborate around new methods of teaching and learning, and focusing on student learning outcomes across institutions, while creating a set of high-quality, vetted, openly available materials for use by peers. Particularly during a time of educational upheaval and redesign, perhaps it’s a good idea to rethink how we support our instructors as well.

The UNC System OER project can be accessed at, and some of the faculty comments about our initiative can be found below.

-- Michelle Solér
Director of Undergraduate Programs and Assessment
University of North Carolina System Office


The video material selections are priceless and I appreciate the time and effort put into collecting these together in one place. Activities that can create additional participation for all students (virtual or not) is appreciated and found to be very useful as well.

The materials have allowed me to fully flip my course and transition away from a standard lecture + heavily weighted exams model. So far, my students love all of the external videos that complement the videos we made. The activities have been a perfect starting point for my value-added synchronous meetings, and I am utilizing TILT assignments and writing assignments to assess learning in lieu of long, comprehensive exams. The materials allowed me to realize a well-rounded online course.

It takes years of teaching this course for an instructor to develop a resource library this extensive, and most likely not one as complete. Even then, it can take many hours perusing the internet for quality supplemental resources.

What these materials have created is a collection of resources that allows the senior instructor a way to enhance their course material and offer more current and focused examples of biological processes. At the same time, these resources can help a first year instructor more quickly develop their course and diversify their teaching materials. In both cases, these resources allow any instructor to reach more total students and more types of students as well as enriching the teaching and learning experience for everyone involved in the course. 

These materials will definitely be a safeguard for an instructor that on the fly needs to switch the delivery of their materials from face to face to remote. For a professor sticking with face to face, this can be used to supplement a just-in-time teaching approach or for flipping the classroom

I knew about some of the sources but never really explored them, and now I will. This was very valuable to me and I have been teaching for over 20 years. It must be priceless for a new instructor.

Next Story

Found In