Awareness and Use of Open Educational Resources Hits All-Time High Among Higher Education Faculty

Bay View Analytics

Bar chart showing the use of digital materials in higher education courses

Digital Materials Used Regularly in Couses

Faculty also report high levels of adoption of digital textbooks and tools

Even as many courses return to in-person learning, it’s clear that the flexibility of OER is catching on with instructors.”

— Julia Seaman, Research Director

OAKLAND, CA, USA, September 6, 2023/ — Nearly two thirds (64%) of U.S. higher education faculty are aware of open educational resources (OER) and nearly one third (29%) require OER in their course, according to an annual survey of faculty and administrators conducted by Bay View Analytics. Both awareness and use of OER—which are openly licensed and thus free to use, edit, and share—jumped by seven percentage points compared to the 2021-22 school year, reaching their highest levels seen in the 12 years the survey has been administered.

“Faculty are concerned about students being able to afford course materials, and they’re much more comfortable finding and using resources like downloadable OER after the pandemic,” said Julia Seaman, who led the survey for Bay View Analytics. “Even as many courses return to in-person learning, it’s clear that the flexibility of OER is catching on with instructors.”

The survey also found that digital tools and course materials have become increasingly prevalent in higher education classrooms, as 88% of faculty who use a textbook offer it in digital format. Educators and administrators report that digital tools offer appreciable flexibility for students and instructors alike, and their pricing can be competitive with traditional print materials.

Other key findings from the survey include:
• Faculty are most commonly using digital tools, like digital textbooks and homework software, to replace print tools like physical textbooks and homework handouts. But a small number of faculty are also utilizing new tools that have no physical counterpart, such as digital collaboration tools and student progress monitors.
• Faculty are generally satisfied with the overall quality of their curricula, as 50% gave their curricula a grade of either an A or B.
• 62% of faculty agree that the cost of course materials is a serious problem for their students.
• Although reported use of inclusive access programs — also known as automatic purchase programs — remains steady, there appears to be confusion around them, as 51% of faculty said they were not aware of these programs, compared to 44% who said they were unaware in 2021-22.

These results are part of an annual survey of educators and administrators conducted by Bay View Analytics, tracking curricula adoption decisions in higher education in the U.S. The project is supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Online Learning Consortium. The complete report, Digitally Established, has been released under a Creative Commons license and is available for download at The full series of reports for this project and for reports on higher education are available on the OER section of the Bay View Analytics webpage,

About Bay View Analytics

Bay View Analytics is a statistical research firm focusing on survey design, implementation and analysis. The scope of Bay View Analytics’ consulting engagements includes scientific statistical analyses, clinical trial statistics and survey designs for a range of topics, with a particular focus on online education. Bay View Analytics has been conducting research and publishing annual reports on the state of online education in U.S. higher education for thirteen years. Visit for more information or contact us at [email protected].

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