Press Release

New national survey finds adoption of open educational resources (OER) on the rise, institutional support for OER plays an important role in awareness and adoption





OAKLAND, CA., August 13, 2020—The adoption of Open Educational Resources (OER) in the U.S. is on the rise in higher education driven by an increase in awareness of OER among faculty, according to a new report from Bay View Analytics conducted in partnership with WCET (the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies). OER are free and openly licensed teaching and learning materials that educators and students can use, customize, and share.

Research found that OER initiatives implemented by institutions, college and university systems, and multi-state compacts have resulted in a measurable increase in the number of faculty who adopt OER.

“Faculty interest in open educational resources and the benefits they can bring to the academic experience is on the rise, but adoption hinges on awareness of OER—what they are and how they can help,” says Dr. Jeff Seaman, Director at Bay View Analytics. “OER initiatives help to spread that awareness, and they make a measurable difference.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • When faculty are more aware of OER, there is an increase in the likelihood of both immediate OER adoption and consideration of future OER adoption.
  • The connection between awareness and adoption remains true across different types of public institutions (two- or four-year) and across institutions in all regions of the U.S.
  • Faculty teaching introductory-level courses are almost three times as likely to adopt an OER textbook if they are aware of an OER initiative (43% compared to 15%), and all faculty are four times more likely to adopt an OER textbook if they are aware of an OER initiative (33% compared to 8%).

“OER are changing teaching and learning across the country, making higher education more equitable, engaging, affordable, and ultimately, increasing student success,” says Tanya Spilovoy, Director of Open Policy at WCET. “Especially now, with the COVID-19 pandemic requiring more distance and online learning, the benefits of OER are clear. It’s exciting to see new data showing that high-level OER initiatives at multi-state compacts, states, systems, and institutions are helping more educators and students benefit from open resources.”  

The complete report, The Impact of OER Initiatives on the Selection of Classroom Materials, is available under a Creative Commons license for download at

About the Study

This study used data collected for a project supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. It was conducted by Bay View Analytics, in partnership with WCET (the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies). The results are based on a total of 3,106 faculty and 802 chairpersons, representing the full range of public higher education institutions (two- and four-year and all Carnegie classifications) and the complete range of faculty (full- and part-time, tenured or not, and all disciplines).

About Bay View Analytics
Formerly known as the Babson Survey Research Group, Bay View Analytics conducts regional, national, and international research projects, including survey design, sampling methodology, data integrity, statistical analyses and reporting.

About WCET

WCET, the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies, is the leader in the practice, policy, and advocacy of technology-enhanced learning in higher education. WCET is a member-driven non-profit which brings together colleges, universities, higher education organizations, and companies to collectively improve the quality and reach of technology-enhanced learning programs. WCET is widely recognized as one of the most informative, reliable and forward-thinking organizations regarding the role of technology and innovation in higher education. More information about WCET’s institutional membership, resources, and services can be found on WCET’s website:

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