The embrace of digital course materials has increased during the epidemic

Many experts have been predicting for years that digital textbook materials will be discontinued, replacing printed textbooks and curriculum supplements as the preferred choice of instructors, students and institutions alike. But there are growing concerns about the high cost of printed textbooks, the state and foundation’s large investment in open educational resources (OER), and the big push by commercial publishers for “inclusive access” programs that make digital curriculum materials more affordable for all students. Gradually increased.

So far, it seems.

The Covid-19 epidemic has created a breakthrough for digital materials and opened up educational resources in particular, offering the latest revision of an annual report on faculty use of curriculum materials. “Turning points for digital curriculum: educational resources in U.S. higher education, 2022” from Bay View Analytics found among other things that the proportion of trainers who want to use OER in their courses increased to 22 percent in the spring of 2022. 15 percent in the fall of 2020, when the last survey was conducted. The proportion of professors for students to use an inclusive access program in their courses has more than doubled, rising from 8 percent in 19 percent in 2020 to 19 percent.

And the proportion of faculty members who agree that “students learn better from print than digital” has fallen sharply, from 43 percent in 2020 to 33 percent in 2022.

“It looks like there has been a big change in the way teachers think about teaching and learning from 2020 to 2021,” said Jeff Seaman, director of Bay View Analytics, who is the firm’s research director at Julia E. He conducted the survey with Seaman “We know from previous research that those most likely to understand and accept OER are those faculty who teach online, making major changes to their course curriculum, and have experience in digital format. Obviously all of these conditions were more prominent ”because of the epidemic.

There is no overnight success

While there has been a sharp increase in the use of OER and digital materials, it has been building for years.

Bayview has been conducting this annual survey for more than a decade (which has included about 1,850 instructors and 900 campus administrators from 1,300 colleges this year), and faculty awareness of open educational resources – freely available, open licensed course materials – on an ongoing basis. Increased over time

This year, for the first time, more than half of instructors say they are aware of OER using Bay View’s definition of “strict”, which is only because professors say they are familiar with what open educational resources are. Report contact with copyrighted material licenses.

Faculty OER awareness by year

But actual use has lagged, influenced by a variety of factors: more than half lack the awareness of instructors; Faculty inertia (creating open resources from scratch, such as many kinds of experiments, can be time consuming); Skepticism about the quality of OER materials (partly fueled by commercial publishers who invest heavily in supplementary learning materials that many OER producers struggle to match); And the expansion of the OR marketplace and the lack of a central structure and support for open materials (there is no equivalent to the Association of American Publishers in the OR world, let alone Pearson or Willie, although a form of OpenStax may emerge that has become a visible player).

Although advocacy for OER and low-cost digital materials is growing. California has made a huge commitment of $ 115 million to stimulate the creation of zero-textbook-cost programs in 116 community colleges in the state, following similar but small efforts in New York and elsewhere. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is funding a $ 65 million effort to create 20 low-cost, openly licensed digital courses on general education that enroll the most students nationally, with the goal of closing the equity gap.

But many aspects of higher education and society, such as the truth, the Covid-19 epidemic have overturned the existing landscape. The closure of the campus and the relocation to remote learning in the spring of 2020 has forced almost every instructor to rethink how and what they teach, which seems like fertile ground for experimentation with OER and digital materials. But when Bay View Analytics surveyed faculty members in the fall of 2020, the use of OERs was so low that Jeff Seaman estimated at the time that “the adjustments that faculties had to deal with in order to change online directives were entirely in their possession.” They have spent time exploring innovative new curriculum methods.

This year’s survey, conducted in the spring of 2022, reflects meaningful changes in faculty attitudes and practice, with more online and mixed learning during COVID’s long tail after three more faculty experiences.

In terms of perception, the survey asked trainers to examine how the epidemic has changed their attitudes and perspectives on education. The majority said it increased their acceptance of digital materials (68 percent) and online learning opinions (54 percent), while professors unequivocally said they saw their interaction with students and collaboration between students worsened.

Faculty: Teaching experience during an epidemic has affected the following: Acceptance of digital materials, online learning feedback, student cost of teaching materials, student access to teaching materials, student-faculty communication, student collaboration, faculty control materials in course selection

For example, more than two-thirds of instructors report that students need to use the online homework system less than two years ago, and the proportion of professors using video and instructional software has also jumped, as shown below.

Faculty: Curriculum materials required for year-round teaching: Online homework system;  Textbook, print or digital;  Article / case study;  Video / film;  Software;  Others: supplies, calculators, data sets, classroom clickers, etc.

Three-quarters of instructors agreed that digital materials give students more flexibility (which was a priority during the roller-coaster ride of bouncing between personal and virtual learning during Covid), and about two-thirds expressed concern about the cost of course materials. For (although a comparative group of administrators has been surveyed Bay View).Feedback from faculty and administrators

Meanwhile, although more professors agree rather than disagree that “students learn better from print than digital” (33 percent agree, 17 percent agree and the rest are neutral), the consensus rate has fallen sharply from previous years.

Faculty: “Students learn better from print than from digital,

Professors have vastly different choices in digital vs. print curriculum materials. Bay View has asked trainers to determine their preferred location for the print textFaculty: Priority continuity for print or digital according to disciplinets or digital courseware on a scale of 100, and responses were distributed fairly evenly throughout the series, with no 10-percent-point segment attracting more than 15 percent of responses.

And preferences for print vs. digital vary significantly by discipline.

Little choice of three branches ইতিহাস history / government, psychology, and anthropology. As can be seen in the chart on the right, trainers in economics, business administration, engineering and computer science have strongly supported digital course materials, while others have rated themselves as having chosen a mix.

OER adoption

Based on these results, it is not surprising that the use of faculties of open educational resources has grown faster than any other year since the Bay View calculation.

Fourteen percent of all trainers said they made some OER materials needed in their course, 8 percent said their OER materials were both necessary and complementary, and another 18 percent said they made OER available as a supplement. OER acceptance was highest among instructors in the primary course (where about one-third of instructors create the necessary OER materials for students).

Faculty: Use of OER materials in courses including feedback from 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2022.

Publishers benefit, too

Open educational resources may be preferred by many students and lawyers because their costs are the lowest. But OER is not the only beneficiary of the growing embrace of faculty digital materials.

Commercial publishers focus on having organizations and individual trainers in various digital initiatives to pay students a one-time up-front fee (often folded into their tuition bills) for accessing all their materials for a particular course or set of courses. A term. The programs were publishers ’response to the growth of the textbook rental market and OER and other digital options.

The Bay View report shows that faculty awareness and the use of inclusive access is increasing along with OER, as seen in the chart below.

Faculty: Inclusive Access Awareness

Faculty: Inclusive access subscriptions required for teaching;  Responses from 2018, 2020 and 2022.

“The publishing market today is much more competitive than it was four years ago, much to the frustration of many OER people who think publishers are using some of their tactics,” Seaman said. “If commercial publishers hadn’t moved so quickly and aggressively to create their own digital alternatives, the growth of OER would have been even greater.”

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