Unlocking social work knowledge
Social work knowledge is locked. Students must pay an exorbitant price to access the core curriculum of social work. As the price of textbooks increases exponentially and the market shifts towards renting rather than owning textbooks, the onus is on social work educators to reclaim social work knowledge for the community.
OER has the potential to transform higher education. Faculty who create and share OER bring resources from behind paywalls into the open, where it can be adapted, remixed, and repurposed by other faculty as a community of scholarship in pedagogy.
Why is OER the answer?
For students, open textbooks are available for free, on the first day of class, and in perpetuity after the class is complete. Students using OER take more courses, withdraw and fail less, and perform better on learning assessments across multiple studies—particularly for students historically marginalized from higher education. Additionally, students generally rate open textbooks to be of equal or superior quality to traditional materials.
For faculty using open textbooks, they can edit textbook content, mix different textbooks together, repurpose textbook content for a new use, as well as create and share derivative materials freely. Faculty who adopt OER will eliminate cost barriers for students to access course materials and contribute to a social work commons—making instruction a collaborative endeavor. Faculty also generally rate open textbooks to be of equal or superior quality to traditional materials. For a summary of the major studies on OER, please refer to this literature review: http://openedgroup.org/review