Campus and Online U.S. College Students’ Attitudes Toward an Open Educational Resource Course Fee: A Pilot Study

Brian Lindshield, Koushik Adhikari


Convincing faculty to accept, create, adapt, and adopt open educational resources (OERs) instead of textbooks for their courses has proven challenging because incentives are lacking. One approach to provide incentive to faculty members is an OER course fee, which could be employed in courses that use OERs approved by the institution for courses that do not utilize textbooks or other resources students must purchase. This fee would provide sustained incentive for using OERs while also decreasing student expense compared with what most currently pay for textbooks. We set out to determine if campus and online students who had used a free OER textbook replacement would support the idea, and implementation at their institution, of an OER course fee. Among online students (n = 17), those who supported an OER course fee at their institution (n = 6) the mean appropriate course fee amount was $9.58/credit hour. Subsequent campus (n = 46) and online students (n = 57) were asked whether they supported a $10/credit hour OER course fee, greater than 67% of somewhat agreed, agreed, or strongly agreed. While these pilot results are encouraging, it is important to note that they are from one course, using one OER, by one instructor at one institution. More research is needed to determine if there is similar support for OER course fees in a broader base of students. If so, OER course fees may be a legitimate approach to increase the acceptance, creation, adaptation, and adoption of OER.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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