Submitted by: John Hilton III
Associate Professor, Researcher The Open Education Group, Brigham Young University,
The Open Education Group, winner of one of the two 2017 Open Education PROJECT AWARDS provides an Open Perspective on Open Research.
Research on Open Education continues to multiply. As one example, Vojtech and Grissett (2017) explored a novel approach to student perceptions by examining how students perceive hypothetical faculty members who use open textbooks. They find that students rated faculty who assign an open textbook to be kinder, as well as more encouraging and creative. Although the study was intended to have open textbooks be the only difference between the hypothetical professors that students rated, only 14% students accredited their belief that the professor who used OER was kinder, more creative, etc. to the prices of textbooks.
While the research base has increased, as I noted in a recent special issue of IRRODL dedicated to research on Open Education,while the research around OER is increasingly robust, more work is needed to clearly establish the value of OER. Additional rigorous studies in a variety of contexts, employing varied methodologies are needed. Moreover, some aspects relating to openness have been almost completely ignored in terms of research. For example, open pedagogy is frequently touted at conferences, yet little research has been done on its efficacy, how teachers/students perceive it, and so forth. Will widespread adoption of open pedagogy actually spark dramatic improvements in learning? These are empirical questions – when it comes to researching Open Education we need to continue to do more careful and thoughtful research to help us better understand this important work that we are involved in.