Open Education Resources catching on in ND University System

Sep 25, 2017

ND University System vice-chancellor Richard Rothaus.
Credit ND University System

The North Dakota University System is seeing growth in the use of “open educational resources.”

"In its simplest form, it's electronic versions of textbooks," said NDUS vice-chancellor for academic and student affairs Richard Rothaus. "But its more exciting form includes multi-media, video simulations, games, links to historic documents -- the whole gamut of pulling in what is out there that is available and free."

Rothaus said the Legislature invested $100,000 in promoting the use of OER in college classes.

"Our extremely conservative estimate is that it's saving students $1 million a year," Rothaus said. But he also said there's more to it than saving money.

"I have colleagues who teach Western Civilization," Rothaus said. "They use online simulations, Minecraft to build replicas of things in ancient Rome, just a whole gamut of things to engage students."

Rothhaus said early on, there was some pushback from reluctant faculty. He said faculty weren’t required to use OERs in their classrooms. But he said OERs are quickly gaining acceptance.