Topic Statement & Audience Analysis

The number of faculty members who adopt and implement open educational resources (OER) in their courses has been growing over the last several years. One of the most important factors cited by faculty for choosing to adopt OER is the cost savings students experience by not having to purchase a textbook (Petrides, Jimes, Middleton-Detzner, Walling, & Weiss, 2011). Students who save this money can then, among many other possibilities, reinvest in their education to take more classes, reallocate it toward other expenses, or work less and dedicate more time to coursework. In order to understand how, and if, students benefit from foregoing the cost of a textbook, students at Reynolds Community College (RCC) were surveyed to see what they did with the money they saved by using an open textbook in their courses. Researchers were also interested in the students’ perception of the OER materials compared to traditional textbooks. Students were asked three questions:

  1. On a scale of 1 (poor) to 5 (Excellent), how would you rate the quality of OER material vs. a textbook?
  2. On a scale of 1 (Not Engaging) to 5 (Very Engaging), how would you rate your level of engagement with the OER material vs. a textbook?
  3. What did you do with the money you saved by not buying textbooks?

My target audience will be readers of the International Review of Research on Open and Distributed Learning (IRRODL). The majority of IRRODL readers are affiliated with institutions of higher education as professors or other supporting roles. Because this journal is aimed primarily at open and distance learning, I would expect the readers to have a basic to intermediate knowledge of OER. This means assuming they know the definition of OER, the potential of OER in education, and are somewhat familiar with the climate of OER in recent years. The article I am writing will be relatively straightforward as its main purpose is to present results; little to no jargon will be used. I will include sections for an introduction, lit review focusing on other perception and cost studies, methodology, results, and conclusions. The expected length of the manuscript will be between 3,500-5,000 words.