Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

2017

Abstract

The purpose of this sequential explanatory mixed methods study situated at a large community college in the midwestern United States was to examine faculty attitudes, knowledge, and use of open educational resources (OER) and to identify institutional initiatives that would support OER adoption. The goal of the first, quantitative phase of this study was to replicate a national survey of higher education faculty on the subject of OER. Local faculty responses to the survey were compared to those of their national peers. The second, qualitative phase of the study was the development and analysis of a single case study that focused on two areas of interest. The first was to explain the survey results in greater depth. The second area of interest was capturing suggestions from faculty on how the institution might support OER initiatives.

Priority was given to the qualitative data analyzed in the second phase of the study. The mixing of both phases of this study occurred through the identification of interview participants and the development of the case study parameters based on the descriptive factors that emerged from the survey results. Mixing also occurred during the final analysis of the study as a whole.

The first phase of this study revealed that the local respondents (n = 346) were similar to their national peers in their attitudes, knowledge, and use of OER. One notable difference between the local and national group was in their ranking of criteria they used to select course resources. The local faculty prioritized the cost of course resources at a much higher rate than their national peers. Chi-square analysis was used to more deeply explore some aspects of the local respondents’ awareness of OER. These statistical results confirmed an association between OER awareness and the respondents’ knowledge of common features and licensing of open resources.

In the second, qualitative phase, data was gathered via two open-ended survey questions and through interviews of selected participants. Faculty members who were experienced users of OER were interviewed (n = 2). Using the qualitative survey data and interviews, a single descriptive case study was developed. The case analysis served to explain the survey results in more depth. Overall, the case study revealed that the respondents, though motivated to make college more affordable for students, are not yet at a state of readiness to adopt OER. The interviewees offered crucial information about their personal process of adopting OER and made suggestions for institutional support for OER initiatives at the research site.

Integration of the quantitative and qualitative phases of this research occurred during the interpretation of the outcomes of the entire study. Based on the findings of both phases of the study, a model for institutional support for open educational resources was developed.

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