Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. in Education



First Advisor

Kerry B. Melear

Second Advisor

Phillis George

Third Advisor

Amy Dolan Wells

Relational Format



A now-common question regarding whether or not individuals should pursue college degrees is whether college is worth the cost. One of the ways that institutions of higher learning may help students reduce cost of attending college, thereby reducing the financial stresses, is to reduce expenses where possible. One place where institutions of higher learning can reduce expenses for students is course texts and materials. This reduction can be accomplished in several ways, but one way that has gained visibility is the use of open educational resources (OER) and affordable education resources (AER), also known as AOER. This qualitative research study employs nine (9) semi-structured questions posed to a convenience sample of 14 self-selecting faculty members across different departments and levels of responsibility. The conceptual frameworks employed in this search are conflict theory, as predicated on the work of Karl Marx, and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

The interviews produced six (6) overarching themes: AOER, student-related experiences, concerns about course materials, contextual and structural factors, financial considerations, and motivations. They revealed contradictions to the earlier and predominant literature. Earlier studies seemed to reveal that faculty were more focused on workload and convenience rather than saving students money. The findings in this study revealed a group of faculty who are more concerned about the financial stability of their students. The study also revealed some reflections with the literature such as concerns about the quality of and diversity of available disciplines/topics of AOER. Implications and solutions are presented and examined.


Higher Education



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