New York State has made a tremendous investment in Open Education by allocating 4 million dollars each to the systems City University of New York (CUNY) and State University of New York (SUNY) for the past three years. While faculty at CUNY are adopting OER in large numbers, the percentage is still small given the size of the system. In order to encourage faculty to adopt OER, we need to better understand what factors have influenced faculty to teach with OER.
Understanding the faculty decisions to adopt or continue using factors in OER is a caring act. In order to show results from the significant funding CUNY has received, much of our assessment is quantitative- how many courses converted, how many dollars saved, how much improvement in retention and graduation rates. While these measures are absolutely important, they leave out a lot of the story- they are not all we care about, by a long shot. Why do faculty who decide to adopt OER do so and how do they feel about the process? In order to care, or “maintain, contain, and repair our ‘world’ so that we can live in it as well as possible,” (Tronto & Fisher, 1990, 41) one must also be attentive, responsible, competent, and responsive (Tronto, 1994, 126-136). Therefore, the first step in the act of caring is to pay attention. Conducting qualitative research requires attention, as the researcher must listen in order to understand the meaning people have constructed and how they have made sense of the world (Merriam, 2009, 13). Conducting qualitative research presents an opportunity to truly understand why faculty have engaged with OER by asking questions to ascertain what influences their decision-making. Their answers revolve less around funding and more around the theme of care- they care about their students, they care about quality, they care about access and equity. They see the work they are doing to use OER as a way of caring for their students.
In this session, we will discuss preliminary results from in-depth interviews with CUNY faculty at four-year colleges who have adopted OER in their classes. The themes emerging from the data provide insight into the challenges and success factors in Open Education, and are compared to the results of the CUNY ZTC Student Survey. Participants will engage by discussing how this research can inform OER discussion. Brainstorming during this session will be shared openly.
Cox, G., & Trotter, H. (2017). An OER framework, heuristic and lens: Tools for understanding lecturers’ adoption of OER. Open Praxis, 9(2), 151-171.
Hilton, J. (2019). Open educational resources, student efficacy, and user perceptions: a synthesis of research published between 2015 and 2018. Educational Technology Research and Development, 1-24.
Merriam, S. B. (2009). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Tronto, J. C., & Fisher, B. (1990). Toward a Feminist Theory of Caring. In E. Abel, & M. Nelson (Eds.), Circles of Care (pp. 36-54). Albany, NY: SUNY Press.
Tronto, J.C. (1994) Moral Boundaries: A Political Argument for an Ethic of Care. New York, NY: Routledge.
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