May 26, 2022

Journal Article: “A Comparison of Academic Outcomes in Courses Taught With Open Educational Resources and Publisher Content”

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A Comparison of Academic Outcomes in Courses Taught With Open Educational Resources and Publisher Content


Linda Bol
Old Dominion University

Monica Christina Esqueda
UC Davis

Diane Ryan
Yavapai College

Sue C. Kimmel
Old Dominion University


Educational Researcher
DOI: 10.3102/0013189X211052563

First Published October 18, 2021


What difference do open educational resources (OER) make compared with publisher content (non-OER) when costs and instructors remain constant? A total of 215 community college students enrolled in online, introductory courses were randomly assigned to OER or non-OER sections and compared on retention at the tuition drop date, completion with a C or better, course completion, and mean final exam scores. Students in the OER sections were retained and persisted at a statistically significant higher rate, lending credibility to the findings of former studies regarding retention and persistence rates in courses taught with OER materials. No statistically significant differences were found on completion rates or final exam scores. OER course materials should be considered in broader initiatives for student success in community colleges.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.