Maintaining Momentum Toward Graduation: OER and the Course Throughput Rate


  • John Levi Hilton III Brigham Young University
  • Lane Fischer Brigham Young University
  • David Wiley Brigham Young University
  • Linda William Tidewater Community College



open educational resources, computers in education, textbooks, financing education


Open Educational Resources (OER) have the potential to replace traditional textbooks in higher education.  Previous studies indicate that use of OER results in high student and faculty satisfaction, lower costs, and similar or better educational outcomes. In this case study, we compared students using traditional textbooks with those using OER at Tidewater Community College to compare their performance on what we call course throughput rates, which is an aggregate of three variables – drop rates, withdrawal rates, and C or better rates. Two self-selecting cohorts were compared over four semesters, with statistically significant results. The study found that, subject to the limitations discussed, students who use OER perform significantly better on the course throughput rate than their peers who use traditional textbooks, in both face-to-face and online courses that use OER. This suggests that OER are a promising avenue for reducing the costs of higher education while increasing academic success.

Author Biographies

John Levi Hilton III, Brigham Young University

John Hilton III is a an Assistant Professor of Ancient Scripture at Brigham Young University.

Lane Fischer, Brigham Young University

Lane Fischer is an Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology and Special Education at Brigham Young University.

David Wiley, Brigham Young University

David Wiley is an adjunct faculty member at Brigham Young University and the Chief Academic Officer of Lumen Learning

Linda William, Tidewater Community College

Linda Williams is a professor of business at Tidewater Community College.



How to Cite

Hilton III, J. L., Fischer, L., Wiley, D., & William, L. (2016). Maintaining Momentum Toward Graduation: OER and the Course Throughput Rate. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 17(6).



Research Articles