When you define what success means for your OER initiative, you’re creating a common vision and understanding of what you’ll work to achieve. To do this, you will need to evaluate the range of positive impacts from OER and which of these are most important to your organization. Once you understand what success looks like, you can identify strategies that achieve results in the areas that matter most, and you can motivate key players to engage.
It is important remember that there are different goals and motivations across the organization. It can be helpful to set broad goals for the program, but also create more specific goals that align with departments or disciplines.
- Step 1: Align top level program goals with the college’s strategic plan and most important priorities. Often the college’s mission and strategic plan emphasize specific priorities such as affordability and access, or completion and success. If the OER program links directly to these goals then it is possible gain broader support. It is also helpful to engage those tasked with tracking and measuring progress on the strategic goals to assist in measuring impact of the OER program.
- Step 2: Identify departments that are likely to participate, and understand department-level goals and challenges. Often departments have specific goals or challenges. For example, the math department may be considering a pathways curriculum. Often departments have specific goals to support or guide adjunct faculty members in a consistent way. Can OER be the vehicle to help achieve existing goals or accelerate initiatives rather than competing for focus? Define specific departmental goals for adoption and impact that support the department goals.
- Step 3: Consider goals that address specific issues that faculty members are grappling with in the discipline. If natural science faculty members are struggling to teach students who are not buying textbooks due to cost, then savings goals are very important. If the composition faculty members are using inexpensive readings then they may become more interested if goals center around student engagement or improved learning results.
- Step 4: Consolidate the goals and measures into a two or three-year plan. While it is difficult to predict results over a longer period of time, the compounding nature of the impact of OER is much more compelling when viewed over a longer planning horizon. For example, one faculty member moving three sections of a course to OER may only result in $5,000 in savings in one term, but over two years that can exceed $30,000. Similarly, student learning and success results often require a longer timeframe to track and measure.
In defining goals for OER programs, the following areas represent common opportunities for impact.
Program Impact Goals
- Number of students enrolled in OER courses
- Number and percentage of OER sections
- Number and percentage of high-enrollment courses with an OER option
- Number and percentage of faculty members trained in use of OER
- Degrees or certificates with an OER pathway
Cost Savings Goals
- Total textbook savings
- Single term textbook savings
- Number of students benefiting from savings
Faculty and Student Satisfaction Goals
- Faculty perceptions of quality
- Faculty challenges to overcome
- Student perceptions of quality
- Student benefits
- Student challenges to overcome
Note: While all OER approaches will achieve impact and cost savings goals, completion and learning goals often require a more complete focus that goes beyond simply using openly licensed learning materials.
Progress and Completion Goals
- Reduction in drops relative to control group or historical patterns, with impact on completion and tuition revenue
- Course throughput relative to control or historical patterns, combining impact of drops, withdrawals and students failing to earn a C or better relative
- Program completion rates relative to control or historical patterns
Student Learning and Engagement Goals
- Earliest access to OER materials by students (when do students actually access the available OER)
- Student engagement in OER learning materials
- Student success in achieving challenging learning outcomes
- Improvement in student success in achieving challenging learning outcomes based on revisions or enhancements to OER
- Student participation in OER development or refinement