This week we profile Chapter 6 of the ROER4D edited volume by Werner Westermann Juárez and Juan Ignacio Venegas Muggli which aims to understand the impact of OER on first-year mathematics students at the Instituto Profesional Providencia in Santiago, Chile.
Titled, Effectiveness of OER use in first-year higher education students’ mathematical course performance: A case study, the study examined an OER intervention amongst first-year students in order to try and identify ways in which OER can provide new tools, opportunities and contexts to improve student performance and lower dropout rates.
Findings indicate that students who used a Khan Academy OER collection obtained statistically better exam grades than who used a proprietary resource or an open textbook, suggesting that not all kinds of OER have the same effect on student performance. In terms of student attendance, students who used the Khan Academy OER had significantly lower attendance levels, which may be due to the fact that when students have access to the infrastructure required to access OER remotely they tend to work from home.
The chapter provides insight into the fact that “openness” does not necessarily produce an impact in an of itself, but is instead part of a greater set of tools and practices in which many variables exert an influence.