Open Social Work Education is dedicated to building an empirical foundation for the use of OER in social work education.  At the present time, we are examining the use of open textbooks on student learning outcomes in undergraduate and graduate research methods classes.  Future studies on open textbooks will examine their effectiveness across multiple instructors, campuses, and classroom formats.  We are also interested in creating projects that investigate the effectiveness of open pedagogy as well as university or government policies that address OER.  


At Radford University, we are working on the first experimental studies of OER in social work education.

Current projects:

  • Single-site experimental study comparing open textbook to traditional textbooks.

  • Dual-site experimental study investigating the effects of open textbooks across distance and traditional education formats.

  • Descriptive study of textbook cost burden for social work students.

We are also happy to link to high quality research on OER in higher education.  Please see the links below which describe the effectiveness of OER in educating students in a diverse array of disciplines.

Open Education Group’s comprehensive literature review 

Watson & Colvard’s large-scale OER study at the University of Georgia