Use this play to:

Find opportunities to increase your impact by identifying courses with the combination of high enrollments, high DFW rates (Drop-Fail-Withdrawal), and high textbook costs. These courses are prime targets for shifting to OER.

Note: Asterisk denotes this is a proven, high-impact play.

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Running the Play

Are you wondering which courses are a good starting point for the shift to OER, or where to target efforts to scale up OER to all sections? DFW analysis can help you answer these questions.

DFW (Drop-Fail-Withdrawal) rates provide clues about where things are breaking down for students trying to move through your institution’s programs. Classes with high DFW rates often present obstacles for students in terms of access to and affordability of course materials. OER helps remove these obstacles and set students up for greater success.

Here are the steps to complete your DFW analysis focused on which courses are great targets for broadening your impact and ability to scale use of OER:

  1. Request course data: Ask your institutional research office for the following data:
    • List of the top 20 highest-enrollment courses at your institution
    • DFW rates for each course
  2. Request or find bookstore data: Ask your bookstore for (or look-up online) the average cost of course materials for each of these top 20 highest enrollment courses.
  3. Add your data to this spreadsheet or something like it, to help you compare enrollment levels, DFW rates, and potential cost savings for courses that shift to OER.
  4. Identify which courses have solid OER available. Look up which courses have great OER content available, using sources you trust like the Lumen Course Catalog, BCcampus Open Textbooks, or OpenStax.
  5. Note which courses have receptive faculty or department heads. Capture this information in the spreadsheet because these are always low-hanging fruit.  
  6. Note where curriculum review is already in progress. If curriculum review or course redesign is already planned or in progress, these courses may be good targets because the department is already poised for change.
  7. Set priority levels for shifting each course to OER, based on the combination of factors captured. Give a higher priority to courses with these factors:
    • High DFW rate
    • Large number of student enrollments
    • High potential textbook cost saving if you shift to OER
    • Receptive faculty and/or department head
    • High quality OER already available
    • Curriculum review / course redesign already planned or in progress  

This process helps you compare relevant information about the courses that represent the greatest potential for making a broader impact with OER.

The analysis itself can be a great conversation-starter with administrators and department heads, helping them capture the vision of what OER might offer to improve student outcomes. Consider turning the analysis into a program proposal to set strategy and generate greater administrative support for scaling your OER initiative.

After the Number-Crunching

Once you’ve completed the analysis, start working with faculty, department heads, and other colleagues to gauge receptivity for exploring a shift to OER. As you identify who’s willing to move forward, set targets you can work towards together, as illustrated in the following table:

Course Name % enrollments using OER today Target %:

Spring 2019

Target %:

Fall 2019

College Algebra 0% 12% 45%

Helpful Resources

    • Spreadsheet template for analyzing which high-enrollment courses are better targets for shifting to OER

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