OER is a Necessary Groundbreaker: A Millennial’s Perspective – O'Donnell Learn

OER is a Necessary Groundbreaker: A Millennial’s Perspective

Published by Cathryn Mattimore
on Nov 13, 2019

When I was a college student, nearly a decade ago, I remember dreading the trip to the campus bookstore to buy my books. I was taking a women’s European history class my first year and the syllabus listed 8 books we were required to purchase. One book alone was $100, and I was taking 4 classes that semester. The cost added up quickly but I felt like I had no other options. Textbooks’ high costs were a huge problem and there were times when I elected not to purchase textbooks if the cost was too high. In fact, according to a 2018 Babson study which examines the Open Educational Resources (OER) movement amongst faculty across the country, “almost all department chairpersons (89%) agree that cost of course materials is a serious problem.” What’s the best way to combat this serious problem? Make textbooks free or low cost without sacrificing quality. For me, the answer is OER.

Through my work at O’Donnell Learn, I’ve learned extensively about the OER movement and its potential to transform higher education. My research has led me to believe that OER is the way of the future and is truly groundbreaking because it delivers premium content while cutting costs across the board. I strongly advocate for the adoption of OER materials and the importance to spread awareness to institutions and faculty as a means to make higher education more accessible to all learners.

While OER is transitioning to the mainstream, slightly more than half of faculty remain unaware of the OER alternative. It’s important to continue to spread awareness of OER materials because it will make higher education more accessible for students from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Students will no longer be barred access to materials due to cost. The Babson study also speaks to this notion, as it found that “the ‘open’ aspect of OER resonates with faculty; they see it as an excellent match to academic principles.” Clearly, faculty agree that OER will change the way students learn and ensure a better education practice that is founded on equality.

OER has the potential to continue to revolutionize the higher ed world. We need to strive to deliver the best content possible while minimizing cost. Higher education promotes and teaches principles of equality, so why wouldn’t we be sensitive to all students from all socioeconomic backgrounds? While OER didn’t have much traction when I was a student, as a learning experience design professional, I know the importance of spreading OER awareness and encouraging its adoption to create equal access for students across the country.


Purposeful Learning DesignTM – Why People are at the Center of Everything We Do

Published By Carrie O'Donnell
on Jan 15, 2021

I’m often asked why our company is so good at collaborating with  faculty. The first time I heard this question, I didn’t realize clients found this unique to O’Donnell Learn. We’ve always been great partners  because people are at the heart of everything we do. In fact, our entire design philosophy - Purposeful Learning DesignTM - is anchored around people.  It starts with this truth: learning is for people. As such, learning design should be grounded in empathy and it should promote success for both learners and faculty. Purposeful Learning Design is the philosophy we embrace to ensure we never lose sight of this truth. It is comprised of six key considerations.

2020 Reflective: Breathe Deep and Stay Agile

Published By Joana Jebsen
on Dec 22, 2020

While end-of-year survey results are still to come for how enrolled students are evaluating their 2020 college experience, I queried two of our staff, both students, about their overall experience and considered how these compared to what I was seeing with O’Donnell Learn clients. Kellie, our graphic design intern, just completed her Associates Degree in Graphic design. Prior to 2020, all of her courses met on campus. Cathryn, a Learning Design Associate is currently enrolled in an online Master of Education program in eLearning and Instructional Design. As this program was conceived as online delivery, it serves as a benchmark to compare against courses that were forced by COVID to switch delivery modes.

Evolving Our Project Management to Advance Client Results

Published By Craig Leonard
on Dec 16, 2020

If you were to talk to anyone in our organization, you’d quickly discover that we are all truly passionate about learning. So much so, that always learning is one of our core values. Learning from our successes, failures and each other is integral to how we operate and how we’ve grown into the agile company we are today.