Date of Award


Document Type

Master's Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


STEM Education & Professional Studies


Occupational and Technical Studies

Committee Director

Reed, Philip A.

Committee Director

Ritz, John M.


The problem of this study was to evaluate the enrollment rates and academic performance of students in courses at Central Virginia Community College (CVCC) that utilize Open Educational Resources (OER) to help determine if the use of such materials should be encouraged and expanded in the Virginia Community College System. The population for this study consisted of students enrolled in at least one course at CVCC during the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 semester, where there were courses that used OER as the course textbook. At the end of each semester, CVCC records enrollment, drop, and academic performance information for all enrolled students. These data were provided by CVCC’s Office of Institutional Research.

The first research question of this study asked if the enrollment rate in courses at CVCC that use OER differs from other sections of the same course that use textbooks students are required to obtain. This question was examined with contingency tables. The second research question of this study asked if replacing a required text with OER increases the completion rate in those courses as compared to non-OER courses. A Chi-square analysis was used. The third research question of this study asked if CVCC students’ academic performance was affected by the use of OER. Multiple t-tests were performed to examine the question.

A statistically significant difference in enrollment rates was found in two of the ten courses studied. The difference in withdrawal rates for all courses and subjects in aggregate was found to be statistically significant. A statistically significant difference in student academic performance was found in 12 out of 20 comparisons made.

The results and conclusions of this study are at odds with other studies done in the subject area. The enrollment rate in OER taught courses in these subjects did not differ from the enrollment rate in non-OER taught courses. Students withdrew from OER sections at a significantly higher rate than from non-OER sections. Student performance of this sample in aggregate was extremely significantly affected by the use of OER.


A Research Paper Submitted to the Faculty of Old Dominion University in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of MASTER OF SCIENCE OCCUPATIONAL AND TECHNICAL STUDIES