Learning with Technology

for Teaching

What Students Are Saying about Using OER


Over the past three semesters, several instructors who taught using no-cost or Open Educational Resources sent a survey to their students to see how these resources affected their learning. The results below are a summary of the findings.


There were a total of 530 students who took the survey (97% Leeward and 3% Kapiolani students) in 16 different courses.

Have you saved money with your instructor adopting no-cost or OER resources?It wasn’t a surprise that 94% of survey responses showed they feel they saved money by using no-cost or OER resources.

Comments from students included:

“I was thrilled that Professor X was using OER resources. Money is very tight as it is for most college students, especially non-traditional students with families.”

“…I didn’t have to buy any books and we learned just as much as other classes where you had to buy a book maybe even better. I wish most classes were like this so we can save paper books money time.”

“Yes, absolutely! I live in Hawaii by myself, and as you know with the high cost of living here, saving every little bit helps. I am on financial aid, and scholarships. Just this simple act on the professors, as well as the colleges part, I was able to save money and use it in other places in regards to my education.”



Access and Use

The majority (97%) of the materials were accessed through the Learning Management System (Laulima). 48% of the students identified general online resources as a way they accessed their materials. 37% of students used Library online resources. It was interesting to note that 28% said they rely on print by the Instructor and 20% print it themselves.

92% of the students reported having access to a device and the Internet to access the resources. 90% found the resources easy to navigate, download, or print.  Approximately the same number of students reported using the resources frequently throughout the semester.

These access and use statistics have remained consistent for the last three semesters.


87% felt the quality of the no-cost resources were just as good as a traditional textbook.

Student’s Opinions

80% felt they did better in the course because they had access to the resources from the first day of class.

88% felt the instructor showed concern for them because they chose no-cost resources.

86% would be more likely to register for a “Textbook Cost: $0” course vs. one without a label. 97% would take another course that used “Textbook Cost: $0” resources.

95% reported no challenges with the no-cost resources.

It is interesting to note that in all areas, there was a small percentage of students (about 6%) who did not hold the same opinions regarding access, quality, and lack of challenges using no-cost resources.

Some of the General comments

“This is a much better alternative to traditional textbooks. It saves money, and much more useful and easy to access than printed textbooks. I hope all classes will convert to this method in the future.” – Spring 2016 student

“I did better in this class than I did in my other classes. All texts needed were easy to access and understand. I honestly don’t feel I would have been able to afford another book and I am very thankful that my professor chose to use no-cost resources.” – Fall 2015  student

“You can’t go wrong with downloadable textbooks. You don’t have to carry bulky books and you are using your computer to do assignments anyway! It’s all in one place.” – Fall 2015 student

“Textbook Cost $0 saves me money, time, and providing me with the education needed to succeed. It saved me the stress by going down to the crowded (fixed spelling “crowed”) book store to buy a expensive book. I really appreciate our professor X (removed name) for her concerns for us student and this program.” – Fall 2015 student

“I would say that just because there is no textbook doesn’t mean there is no work. You have to work just as hard. Also the resources are just notes of your teachers so please do NOT plagiarize! Have respect for the teachers who give you this no cost textbook option because it shows that they care, that they understand the struggles of having to pay for expensive textbooks!” – Fall 2015 student

“It saves a lot of money and isn’t a hassle at all!” – Fall 2015 student

“The quality of learning from a course that uses OER resources is just as good as when you have to spend hundreds of dollars on a textbook or two.” – Fall 2015 student

“I was happy and very thankful when she told us that we didn’t need to buy a textbook. This was the first time and I hope it’s not the last time. I wish more professors could do this for their students.” – Fall 2015 student

“…it is a great way to save money while not compromising quality of education. In some ways, like having access to material from anywhere at anytime, it improves the quality of learning.” – Fall 2016 student

“Definitely a benefit in taking this class. You don’t have to carry your book with you. You can do your assignments as long as you have Internet access.” – Fall 2016 student

“Cost friendly and easy on the back. No books to carry!” – Fall 2016 student

“This wouldn’t work for all classes. Some classes use the textbook a lot and it makes it easier to have a textbook to read and write on.” – Fall 2016 student

“I loved not having a textbook. We got to have SO many different readings, insights and resources then if we got it all from the same place (a textbook). Also, being a college student and not having tons of money, I really appreciated not having to buy a textbook!” – Fall 2016 student

Thank you to Kelsie Aguilera, Jayne Bopp, Ross Higa, Michelle Igarashi, Ann Inoshita, Gregg Longanecker, Lani Uyeno, Jonathan Wong, and Susan Wood for helping to provide this student data.

For more information, please visit the Open Educational Resources Fellowship Program.





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