9 Vision and Strategy

Access, affordability, student success and academic transformation are top priorities for many college leaders. These themes are often observed in institutions’ strategic visions, objectives, and plans. Demonstrating ways in which OER can help institutions meet their objectives across these areas can garner institutional support for OER.

Potential connections that institutions may draw between OER and common strategic objectives are shown below.

  • Access
    • Eliminating or reducing course material expenses lowers cost-related barriers to enrollment.
    • Converting first-semester courses to OER offers a fresh recruitment strategy for new students.
    • Expand dual enrollment opportunities due to financial savings for high schools.
    • Open materials are accessible to students on the first day of class, and students receiving financial aid will no longer have to wait for funds to purchase textbooks.
  • Affordability
    • No-cost or low-cost course materials reduce students’ cost of attendance.
    • Students indicate the quality of OER resources are comparable to commercial materials, but at lower cost (Griffiths et al., 2018).
    • OER has the potential to reduce costs associated with unproductive credit hours, repeated courses, and time to degree if the courses lead to improved student outcomes.
  • Student success
    • Learning outcomes are comparable for students in OER and traditional courses, but with the added benefit of eliminating or reducing course material costs (Hilton III, 2016).
    • Using OER in transformative ways that change pedagogical practices has the potential to improve student learning outcomes.
  • Academic transformation
    • Use of openly licensed materials gives faculty the flexibility to customize instructional materials for their course.
    • Digital OER course materials offer a low-cost alternative to costly publisher access codes, often bundled together with traditional textbooks
  • WTCS Commitment to Progress
    • OER can be created and remixed to be inclusive, culturally responsive and anti-racist.

OER leaders can highlight the types of connections illustrated above to the institution’s strategic objectives when communicating with campus leaders and colleagues. Periodic revisions to the institution’s strategic direction also provide an opportunity to position OER as a pathway to meet the institution’s strategic goals. Finally, the connection between OER and the college or System vision can also be incorporated into campuses’ OER Guidelines, as part of the purpose statement.


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WTCS OER Field Guide for Sustainability Planning Copyright © by WTCS OER Network is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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