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Open Educational Resources

What does a good OER look like?

A good OER is:

  • findable – it can be in multiple locations 
  • clearly described
  • clearly licensed (normally through Creative Commons)  
  • from a source you trust 
  • easy to modify 
  • free-standing – it does not assume knowledge of other resources 
  • free of copyright content 
  • being used by/recommended by people like you 
  • imperfect – it just needs to work for you. 

About Evaluating

Image entitled Evaluating OER three headings quality accessibility copyright

While the adoption of OER may prove beneficial, the normal practice of critical evaluation is even more important. For example, in the context of textbooks, the publisher is responsible for conducting a rigorous editing and proofreading process to ensure a high standard of quality, usability, accessibility, and accuracy.

The decision to adopt an OER places the responsibility on you to ensure the quality, integrity, usability, accessibility and accuracy of the resources for teaching and learning purposes. You must be confident that the OER will meet the teaching and learning goals and objectives.

Evaluation methods vary and include a crowd-sourcing approach where users rate the text, analyse usage logs to identify patterns, and adopt quality rubrics. Concerning the latter, rubrics designed to evaluate OER quality often consist of several dimensions or indicators, with each dimension or indicator measuring one aspect of OER quality. Research has examined various rubrics, including ACHIEVE OER, LORI and GEM and identified a range of quality indicators that provide a useful analysis framework (Yuan & Recker, 2019). Such indicators include: 

  • Quality of explanation of the subject matter
  • Quality of instructional practice and exercises
  • Accuracy
  • Clarity
  • Appropriateness
  • Learning goal alignment
  • Reusability

Evaluating OER - guidelines, rubrics and tools


OER Commons Submission Guidelines

RCampus iRubric

Here are some additional recommendations from the National Forum on Teaching and Learning (Irish Higher & Further Education sector) on how to find and evaluate resources.

This series of short OER Bootcamp videos from Sarah Morehouse provides very practical tips when considering to use an OER.