OpenEd17: The 14th Annual Open Education Conference
October 11 – 13, 2017  ::  Anaheim, CA

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Friday, October 13 • 10:30am - 10:55am
Students' Perceptions of Faculty Who Use Open Vs. Copyrighted Textbooks: An Exploratory Study

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Research indicates students find open materials favorable, but there is no research regarding students' perceptions of the faculty who use open materials. In this small exploratory study, we examined college students' perceptions of faculty members based on their textbook use. Twenty-three participants read two passages--one about an instructor using an open textbook and another using a traditional copyrighted textbook--and rated each instructor on a range of characteristics through closed- and open-ended questions. Participants rated each professor on the characteristics of kindness, knowledgeability about their subject matter, enthusiasm, patience, encouragement, and creativity on a scale from 1 (a lot/very) to 5 (not at all). Participants also rated how likely they were to take a course with each professor, also on a scale of 1 (very likely) to 5 (very unlikely). Open-ended questions asked for justifications for each closed-ended response (On what basis did you make your judgment? ). T-test results showed that participants rated the faculty member using an open textbook as having higher levels of kindness, encouragement, and creativity than the faculty member using a traditional copyrighted textbook, and were more likely to want to take a class with the faculty member using an open textbook. Participants frequently cited personal characteristics, teaching styles, and textbook cost as positive characteristics of faculty who used open textbooks. Although a small study, these findings suggest that students find value in professors who use open materials, as it may reflect personal qualities, such as kindness and creativity, that students believe these professors possess. Limitations and future directions, including a larger sample size, different passages, and improved research method approaches, will be discussed, as well as the additional implications these research findings have on open textbook use in college classrooms.

avatar for Judy Orton Grissett

Judy Orton Grissett

Director of Experiential Learning, Georgia Southwestern State University

Friday October 13, 2017 10:30am - 10:55am PDT