Skip to Main Content
 

Open Educational Resources (OER)

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

 

OER & Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI)

Of the major principles that undergird the implementation of OER, those of diversity, equity, and inclusion are at the forefront of the UofM's OER initiative. OER has important connections to DEI goals: 

  • Studies have shown that offering zero-cost textbooks and course materials levels the playing field for historically-underrepresented students who are struggling to balance paying for tuition and day-to-day costs of living.
  • The availability of OER offers academic instructors the freedom to explore materials written by a wide range of authors and incorporate a diverse body of work into their courses.
  • For university campuses as diverse as the University of Memphis, especially, representation matters, and the inclusion of texts by BIPOC, women, and other underrepresented or marginalized communities can foster an inclusive environment and culture on the UofM campus.

Pell Grants

One of the determining factors for students' access to course materials is household income. At the University of Memphis, a significant portion of our undergraduate students are Pell Grant eligible, which indicates that, in most cases, their expected household contribution is insufficient to pay for the entire costs of their college education. The graph below illustrates how nearly half of our undergraduate students fall into this socioeconomic bracket. No-cost course material alternatives such as OER help keep education affordable to these students. 

Graph of Pell status by year at the UofM. For fall 2020, 44% of undergraduates were Pell-eligible.

 Original Source: Office of Institutional Research Student Data

Equity in Open Education [video]

In the video below, you can gather a basic understanding of the benefits and challenges of using OER to equalize access to excellent educational resources for all students. The video largely focuses on OER for public school districts, but the general themes are broadly applicable regarding the ways that institutions in higher education can improve their OER initiatives.

 

“Equity in Open Education” by Abbey Elder is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license.

 

Research: OER & DEI