Open educational resources (OER) usage and barriers: a study from Zhejiang University, China


Open educational resources (OER) as an innovation to share educational resources has been influential in past decade and expected to bring changes to higher education worldwide. There is, however, very limited literature on OER usage, especially from the perspective of college students in developing countries, who are often projected as the recipients and beneficiaries of OER. This study was designed to examine Chinese college students’ OER usage and perceived barriers impacting the diffusion of OER. Data was collected during the 2012–2013 academic year at Zhejiang University. A two-part survey instrument was administered to a sample of students (n = 1239). The results show that a significant number of university students have experienced with OER, but there are challenges involved with student, content, interface, and environment related factors that impacted rapid diffusion of OER. Gender was not associated with students’ perceptions about barriers to OER usage, but year in study was. The study highlighted the role of university and faculty members in diffusing the concept and practice of OER and recommended OER-related initiatives for faculty members and college students to foster the adoption of OER.

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This work was supported by Grants from the National Social Science Foundation of China (13CGL113) and the Zhejiang Social Science Foundation Project (13ZJQN035YB).

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Correspondence to Yan Li.

Appendix: Survey instrument

Appendix: Survey instrument


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Hu, E., Li, Y., Li, J. et al. Open educational resources (OER) usage and barriers: a study from Zhejiang University, China. Education Tech Research Dev 63, 957–974 (2015).

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  • Open educational resources (OER)
  • Barriers
  • Distance education
  • College students
  • Post-secondary education