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Open Educational Resource Learning Impact on Students from Poverty

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Asset Sourcing for Remaking Engineering Learning

Tagged Divisions

Equity and Culture & Social Justice in Education

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Paper Authors


Michael R. Williamson Indiana State University

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Dr. Michael R. Williamson earned his Bachelor and Master of Science degrees in civil engineering with a focus in transportation from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and obtained his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering with a focus in highway safety from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He is an Assistant Professor and program coordinator of Civil Engineering at Indiana State University. He has been instrumental in transportation research sponsored by the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Tollway Authority, and Federal Highway Administration where he developed a Highway Incident Management Training guide for first responders that received the Illinois Center for Transportation’s “High Impact Project Award” and the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials Research Advisory Committee’s “Top Sweet 16 High Value Research Projects Award”.
Dr. Williamson has published eleven journal articles and has presented research over 40 research papers at conferences in the areas of transportation engineering, incident management, transportation safety and other related fields. Dr. Williamson’s transportation safety research has been included for use with the Federal Highway Administration Crash Modification Factor website in the form of 182 prediction factors created by modeling crash data that is now used worldwide to decrease the number of fatal and injury crashes through improved highway designs and traffic signal timing.
Dr. Williamson’s current research focuses include: studying factors that affect transportation safety utilizing a state of the art driving simulator located at Indiana State University, improving the transportation options for older adults and underrepresented groups, identifying factors that will improve the safety on roadways through crash data modeling, and improving traffic flow through the use of Intelligent Transportation System Technologies.

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Neslihan Alp P.E. Indiana State University

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Dr. Neslihan Alp is the Dean of the College of Technology at Indiana State University since August 2018. She has received her Ph.D. in Engineering Management from the University of Missouri-Rolla. Her teaching and research interests are in the areas of project management, decision making, optimization, quality control, six sigma, lean systems, and operations management. Dr. Alp has numerous of publications in national and international conferences and journals. She is a registered Professional Engineer in the State of Tennessee.

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Teaching with open educational resources can greatly reduce the cost of education to students. Textbooks commonly cost between $125 and $175 with some specialized course textbooks costing even more. This study highlights the open educational resource program at Indiana State University through the conversion of existing engineering courses. At the time of publication, the program at Indiana State University has saved students $3,008,743.00 by converting classes to open educational resources and eliminated textbook requirements. Open educational resources are available for most topics in a wide variety of teaching materials including assignments, textbooks and course lecturing materials. Indiana State University began a pilot program in 2015 providing faculty the opportunity to convert courses using textbooks to open educational resource materials in hopes of increasing the success of students, many of which come from impoverished backgrounds. This change has resulted in a difference in student success at Indiana State University. Students with low incomes now have access to the materials they need to be successful in their coursework on the first day of class. This study focuses on Civil Engineering students at Indiana State University in courses that were converted to open educational resources. A comparison of course completion rates and course grade point averages using a before-and-after approach that sought to identify the impact that open educational resources are having on student success at Indiana State University was conducted. A survey was also distributed to students identified acceptance rates of switching a course away from a traditional textbook for a comparable experience using free use materials. Ninety-five percent with all students indicating financial benefit from free materials and wide acceptance of the learning experience. The overall findings suggest that student completion rates increased by forty percent with grade point averages increase by thirty-one percent due to the use of open educational resource materials, thus increasing the number of students who graduate in four years, an institutional goal.

Williamson, M. R., & Alp, N. (2021, July), Open Educational Resource Learning Impact on Students from Poverty Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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