Awareness of open educational resources

Publication Year: 
Category of Information: 
Sample size: 
2711 faculty
Sample description: 

A total of 2,711 faculty responded to a sufficient number of questions to be included in the analysis, representing the full range of higher education institutions (two-year, four-year, all Carnegie classifications, and public, private nonprofit, and for-profit) and the complete range of faculty (full- and part-time, tenured or not, and all disciplines). More than 73% of the respondents report that they are full-time faculty members. Over 26% teach at least one online course and 28% teach at least one blended course.



Many faculty members have only a vague understanding of the details of what constitutes open educational resources. Some confuse “open” with “free,” and assume all free resources are OER. Others confuse “open resources” with “open source,” and assume OER refers only to open source software. Because of these differing levels of understanding, the phrasing of the awareness question needs to be specific. […]

When faculty members were asked to self-report their level of awareness of open educational resources, a majority (56%) said that they were generally unaware of OER (“I am not aware of OER” or “I have heard of OER, but don't know much about them”). These results were confirmed by faculty comments, and some showed excitement or desire to learn more. Only 10% reported that they were very aware (“I am very aware of OER and know how they can be used in the classroom”), and twice that many (20%) said that they were aware (“I am aware of OER and some of their use cases”). An additional 15% of faculty reported that they were only somewhat aware (“I am somewhat aware of OER but I am not sure how they can be used”).


The 2016-17 results reinforce the trend of increased awareness of OER observed over the past two surveys. Faculty claiming to be very aware doubled from 5% in 2014-15 to 10% in the most recent year. Those saying that they were “aware” grew from 15% to 20%, and those “somewhat aware” from 14% to 15%. The proportion that reported no awareness dropped from nearly two-thirds (66%) in 2014-15 to just over 50% (56%) this year.