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Open Education by the Numbers

by on March 2, 2012

What is the current status of open education? Since data on open education is scattered across multiple locations, here I gather together statistics on topics such as attitudes toward open education, the number of open courses available, and usage of OER.

A few caveats: It’s important to note that numbers alone don’t necessarily reflect the complexity of contexts or multiple variables influencing the data, but they can provide a glimpse of open education’s growth as well the obstacles it faces. The data are current as of March 2, 2012, but figures such as the amount of open content or number of users will likely change quickly. To facilitate follow-up, I’ve either linked to the source or provided the citation.

If you can recommend other data that should be included here, please leave a comment.

Level of Interest in Open Education

  • Number of chief academic officers who agree that open educational resources will have value for their institutions:
    • 72.4% of the chief academic officers at for-profit universities
    • 48% of those at the very largest universities
    • 57 or 58% of all other CAOs

    Source: Babson Survey Research Group and the College Board, Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States, 2011

  • Number of institutions of higher education (global) that belong to the OpenCourseWare consortium: 205

  • Number of signers of Cape Town Open Education Declaration: 2330 individuals and 243 organizations

Users and Usage of Open Educational Resources

  • Usage of MIT Open Courseware:
    • average of 1 million visits/ month
    • 133 million visits by 95 million visitors from virtually every country
    • 42% of users are students, 43% are self-learners, 9% are educators, and 6% are “other”
    • 80% of visitors rate OCW’s impact as extremely positive or positive
  • number of visitors at Washington State’s Open Course Library in the 11 days after its launch: 10,000 visitors
  • Average number of users of Connexions, per month: over 2 million
  • number of students who enrolled for Stanford’s Introduction to Artificial Intelligence MOOC: 160,000
  • Percentage of Open Courseware (OCW) userswho:
    • are undergoing secondary or higher education: 42%
    • are self-learners: 21%
    • are 29 or younger: 50%
    • are 50 or older: 19%
    • use OCW materials to support their own interests: 59%
    • use OCW materials help understand the concepts they are studying: 46%
    • use OCW to learn something for a particular project: 31%
    • use OCW to supplement or create teaching materials: 23%
    • use OCW to update their skills or knowledge for work: 50%

Faculty Views of OER

  • Faculty awareness of and interest in OER at the University of Michigan and the University of Capetown:
    • 50% of faculty at the University of Michigan have never heard of OCW, compared to 20% of faculty at University of Capetown
    • 46% of faculty at University of Michigan agree or strongly agree that they would use OCW, compared to 67% at U of Capetown
    • 45% of faculty at University of Michigan agree or strongly agree that they would “put up” OCW materials, compared to 51% at U of Capetown
      Source: Joseph Hardin, Phil Long, Roland Sussex, Deanne Gannaway, Gerhard Tromp, “OCW Familiarity, Use and Production by Instructors and Students: Early Results from a University of Queensland Survey,” ceit.uq.edu.au/system/files/news/uqocw-oatalkoct6-2011odp.ppt Presentation also includes data from University of Queensland and Universidad Politecnica de Valencia, Spain
  • 47.7% of faculty at institutions using the Sakai Course Management System have never heard of OCW, while 28.7% have heard of it but not been to an OCW site, 15.5% have looked at an OCW site, 4.2% have used OCW materials in teaching, and 3.9% have published/ helped publish OCW materials
  • 91% of faculty at community colleges were interested in using OER in their classes, but only 34% were currently using them.
  • Top barriers to faculty using OER, according to 2006 OECD survey with 193 respondents from 49 countries
    • Lack of time: approximately 65% say “very important”
    • Lack of skills: approx. 61%
    • No reward system for staff members: approx 57%
  • Faculty’s top goalsfor using OER in their own teaching
    • Gaining access to the best possible resources: approx 88%
    • Creating more flexible materials: approx. 83%
    • Promote research and education as publicly open activities: approx. 78%
  • Top barriers to faculty producing OER
    • Lack of time: approx. 78%
    • No reward system for staff members devoting time and energy: approx. 65%
    • Lack of skills: approx. 62%

Student Views of OER

  • Student awareness of and interest in OCW at the University of Michigan and the University of Capetown:
    • 75% of students at the University of Michigan have never heard of OCW, compared to 64% at the University of Capetown
    • 73% of students at U of Michigan agree or strongly agree that they would use OCW, compared to 74% at U of Capetown
    • 27% of students at U of Michigan agree or strongly agree that they would help publish OCW materials, compared to 33% at U of Capetown
      Source: Joseph Hardin, Phil Long, Roland Sussex, Deanne Gannaway, Gerhard Tromp, “OCW Familiarity, Use and Production by Instructors and Students: Early Results from  a University of Queensland Survey,” ceit.uq.edu.au/system/files/news/uqocw-oatalkoct6-2011odp.ppt
  • 74.1% of students at Sakai institutions have never heard of OCW, while 9.8% have heard of it but not been to an OCW site, 6.4% have looked at an OCW site, 9.2% have used OCW materials in their studies, and .5% have published/ helped publish OCW materials
  • “In a recent survey (MIT, 2006) MIT found 35 percent of Fall 2005 entering freshmen aware of MIT OCW prior to attending MIT indicated the site was a significant or very significant influence on their choice of school. Seventy-one percent of all MIT students (undergraduate and graduate) made use of MIT OCW in their research and studies. Ninety-six percent of MIT students using the MIT OCW site reported it has had a positive or extremely positive impact on their student experience.”
    Source: Caswell, Tom, Shelley Henson, Marion Jensen, and David Wiley. “Open Content and Open Educational Resources: Enabling universal education.” The International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning 9, no. 1 (February 26, 2008): Article 9.1.1. http://www.irrodl.org/index.php/irrodl/article/view/469/1001

Availability of Open Educational Resources

Cost of Producing OER

  • Cost of producing open textbooks for 42 of the State of Washington’s highest enrolled community college courses: $1.18 million
    Source: Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC). “Groundbreaking State-Sponsored Program Creates Free course Materials, Will Save College Students Millions”. Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC), October 31, 2011. http://www.sbctc.edu/general/documents/OCL_Release_FINAL10312011.pdf.

Savings from Adopting OER

  • Estimated annual textbook savings to students as result of Washington’s Open Course Library
    • $1.26 million, if open textbooks were adopted just in the 42 courses in which faculty developed open resources
    • up to $41.6 million, if open textbooks were adopted across all of Washington’s community and technical colleges

    Source: Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC). “Groundbreaking State-Sponsored Program Creates Free course Materials, Will Save College Students Millions”. Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC), October 31, 2011. http://www.sbctc.edu/general/documents/OCL_Release_FINAL10312011.pdf.

  • Students’ estimated savings over the 2011-2012 academic year as a result of UMass Amherst’s Open Education Initiative, which awarded 10 faculty $1000 each to use freely available digital resources: more than $72,000
One Comment
  1. Oh, by the way, for a similar resource on open access *scholarship* by the numbers, see http://oad.simmons.edu/oadwiki/OA_by_the_numbers

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