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Library Guides

Open Educational Resources (OERs)

What should I consider when choosing an OER?

All resources require assessment to check they meet your teaching needs. Similar criteria students apply for evaluating information could be applied to assessing OERs.

We recommend asking the following questions:

  • Has it been peer reviewed?
  • Are there clear instructions on how to use the resource?
  • How has it been licensed (e.g. under a Creative Commons licence)?
  • Does it meet accessibility requirements?
  • Can it be used on multiple devices?
  • Can it be used on different web browsers?

You might have other questions which are also important. Your Liaison Librarian can also help you with some of these questions.

Once you have chosen an OER you should check your links regularly to ensure they can still be accessed by your students.

Resources for evaluating OERs

Achieve.org has comprehensive information and rubrics for evaluating OERs including a handbook detailing each of the seven rubrics.

Considering accessibility

The Accessibility Toolkit is designed for authors of OERs and has a useful checklist for evaluating the accessibility of an open resource.

OER repositories with quality checks

The following sites have quality checks on the resources available:

  • MERLOT allows a search to be filtered by peer review, editor review, licence type, accessibility, and other evaluative criteria.
  • OpenStax textbooks undergo a peer review process prior to publication.
  • OASIS allows a search to be filtered by license and whether the resource has been reviewed.
  • OER Commons resources can be filtered according to whether they have been evaluated against OER evaluation rubrics.

Checklist for evaluating OERs

This checklist can be used to evaluate an OER to ensure it is appropriate for use.

Criteria Yes/No
Licensed for open use
CC licence allows for educational reuse  
CC licence allows for modification and adaption  
Resource is in the 'public domain' (out of copyright or CC0 licence)  
Authority
Creator is identifiable and reputable  
Resource is peer-reviewed  
Currency
Content is up-to-date  
Necessary updates will be relatively straightforward to implement  
Content
Text covers subject area appropriately and has an effective index/glossary  
Text is clearly written and understandable  
Topics are presented in a logical, clear fashion  
Content is appropriate for student's level  
Accuracy
Resource is referenced  
Bias
Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased  
Accessibility
The resource can be used on multiple devices  
The resource can be used on different web browsers  
There are clear instructions on use/download  

Rubric developed by BCcampus. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license. Adapted from https://open.umn.edu/opentextbooks/reviews/rubric.


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