There have been numerous calls for research that demonstrates how open education resources are actually being used (Schmidt-Jones 2012). The present study seeks to address the gap in the literature relating to the use of OER in higher education. We conducted a case study a Flemish university in Belgium. Two classes of 68 students participated in the study. An OpenLearn course developed by the Open University was used as a self-study material to supplement a campus-based course. An end-of-course survey was administered online to gather information about student reaction to the use of OER online course as self-study material. Overall, students were moderately satisfied with their experience of using the OER course (M=3.32, SD=.905) and they positively agreed that the OER course increased their knowledge of the subject (M=3.62, SD=.847). Students were moderately to highly positive about the supplemental value of the OER course. They agreed that the OER course helped link their personal experience to new concepts (M=3.44, SD=1.00) and the OER course enriched their learning (M=3.35, SD=1.00) and exposed them to different perspectives on some topics in the on-campus course. They were less positive about the value of the OER course in helping the understanding the campus-based course (M=3.12, SD=1.04) and they disagreed with the use of an OER in stimulating students’ interest in the on-campus course (M=2.97, SD=1.06). Before the beginning of the on-campus course, the course instructor and the researchers decided to introduce a change to the campus-based course by incorporating an OER course as supplemental self-study material. However, the details concerning which OER course to use and how to use it were finalized during the delivery process because it took some time for us to find an OER course that would fit the content of the campus-based course. Students were positive about the overall quality of the chosen OER course (M=3.29, SD=.964), however, they also raised concerns about its appropriateness (M=3.35, SD=.894) and though it was a bit less challenging for master students (M=3.49, SD=1.05). In terms of educational value of the OER course component, students rated video clips in the OER course the highest and online forum the lowest. Originally, we expected students to make good use of the OER course online discussion forum but it turned out that nearly two thirds of them never used the forum and one third used occasionally and only two students were frequent users. One possible reason for this low use of online discussion forum was that the OER course was easy to understand and students didn’t feel the need to interact. Rungtusanatham et al. (2004) pointed out that introductory courses need less interaction than higher level courses. Another possible reason was that low use of online discussion forum is problem common to blended learning environment (Percival & Muirhead, 2009) because students preferred to interact f2f with local students rather than unfamiliar online learners. Additionally, students’ online communication self-efficacy might explain this low use. Students reported that they were less positive about posting questions in online discussion (M=2.99, SD=1.00) and initiating topics for a discussion (M=2.87, SD=1.06). When asked about possible changes to the course design, students strongly agreed that some classroom sessions should be devoted to discussion of the self-paced OER course (M=3.68, SD=1.07) since not having any quiz or self-test in this self-paced OER course made them feel uncertain about how much I had learned and what I still need to master. Regression analysis further indicated that the perceived value of the OER course would affect students’ perceived learning and their overall satisfaction, however, the amount of feedback they received would only significantly affect their satisfaction. According to Anderson (2003)’s Interaction Equivalency Theorem deep and meaningful learning is supported if one form of interaction (student–teacher; student–student; student–content) is at a high level, and more than one form of interaction at high level would create more satisfying learning experience. Choosing a good and appropriate OER course as self-paced materials is very important. A good OER course would engage students in high level of student-content interaction although the self-paced mode didn’t give them much student-teacher interaction opportunities. References Anderson, T. (2003). Modes of interaction in distance education: Recent developments and researchquestions. In M. G. Moore, & W. G. Anderson (Eds.), Handbook of distance education (pp.129-144). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Percival, J., & Muirhead, B. (2009). Prioritizing the implementation of e-learning tools to enhance the post-secondary learning environment. Journal of Distance Education (Online), 23(1), 89.
Rungtusanatham, M., Ellram, L. M., Siferd, S. P., & Salik, S. (2004). Toward a typology of businesseducation in the Internet Age. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 2(2), 101120.
Schmidt-Jones, C A 2012, ‘An open education resource supports a diversity of inquiry-based learning’, The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 1-16.