I believe that one of the most interesting research areas in OER is learning about the effects (both educational and financial) of classroom adoption of OER. The International Review of Research on Open and Distance Learning just published an article on this subject. I’m happy to be a coauthor on what I  think is an important article (obviously I’m biased). We are doing follow up research with the Kaleidoscope Project and Utah’s Open Textbook Project. More to come!

Here’s the abstract from that article:

“Proponents of open educational resources claim that significant cost savings are possible when open textbooks displace traditional textbooks in the classroom. Over a period of two years, we worked with 20 middle and high school science teachers (collectively teaching approximately 3,900 students) who adopted open textbooks to understand the process and determine the overall cost of such an adoption. The teachers deployed open textbooks in multiple ways. Some of these methods cost more than traditional textbooks; however, we did identify and implement a successful model of open textbook adoption that reduces costs by over 50% compared to the cost of adopting traditional textbooks. In addition, we examined the standardized test scores of students using the open textbooks and found no apparent differences in the results of students who used open textbooks compared with previous years when the same teachers’ students used traditional textbooks. However, given the limited sample of participating teachers, further investigation is needed.”