Accuracy and Quality of Open Educational Resources: A Phenomenological Study
College textbook prices rose by 1,041% between January 1977 and June 2015. This percentage increase represented three times the rate of annual inflation. College and university instructors consider the move to open educational resources (OERs) as an attempt to lower the cost of higher education in the United States. The selection of open educational resources represents a challenge in the absence of a standard set of selection criteria. Instructors have different perspectives about the accuracy and quality of open educational resources. Mezirow’s (1981) theory of transformative learning underpinned the study. The purpose of this qualitative hermeneutic phenomenological study was to explore perspectives about the accuracy and quality of OERs among instructors who have experience in applying Quality Matters’ (QM) standards in online course design and who have adopted and used OERs in online undergraduate courses. This research study employed a qualitative methodology with a hermeneutic phenomenological design. Sixteen voluntary participating faculty members were interviewed using Zoom. The audio files transcribed to text documents were the primary data source. Open and axial codes emerged from the interviews in a line-by-line review of each transcript leading to sentences or sentence fragments indicative of the faculty members’ responses. Faculty members cited cost, social equity, and lifelong learning as the main reasons to switch to OERs. The faculty members’ lived experiences using open educational resources in online undergraduate classes are discussed, analyzed, and presented. The research study presents implications for leadership and recommendations for future research.