Using open education isn't just a 'nice to have' when students are starving (opinion)
peter.suber's bookmarks 2019-02-28
"Replying to a recent blog post, Jonathan Poritz argues that lowering students' costs by using open educational resources isn't just a nicety in an era when many students are hungry and textbook "quality" is exaggerated....
[H]igh textbook costs mean that students:
- enroll in fewer courses -- and consequently take longer to graduate,
- choose courses based on textbook price rather than for academic reasons, and
- don’t buy required textbooks -- and consequently often do more poorly and more frequently fail or withdraw....
Green oddly misses the main takeaway from this study: it found a one-third reduction in DFW rates among minority and Pell-eligible students when courses switched from commercial textbooks to OER.
So not only are OER responsible for at least a modest academic improvement for all students while making a significant difference to one of the central issues of higher education in our time -- skyrocketing costs and student debt -- they also make a significant difference in the achievement gap between demographic groups....
- There is little actual reason to believe that commercial textbooks are of higher quality than OER -- in fact, there is good evidence that they are not, at least by all reasonable metrics of quality -- and to believe this is to have merely blind faith in a form of free-market fundamentalism that doesn’t even apply in the failed market of textbooks."