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Open Educational Resources (OER)

Introduction to basic OER concepts, how to find and incorporate them into your course, creating and modifying OER, and getting UofM training on OER

Evaluating OER

How to Evaluate OER

With all of the OER available, finding something should not be too hard. Determining whether what you found is the right OER for your needs is where you might need to put more time and effort. Use the questions below to help evaluate whether the OER you found is right for your course. 

"How to Find and Evaluate OER" by Abbey Elder is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 International license

How Do You Want to Use the OER? 

Before you search for OER, ask yourself what your goals are for the OER in your course. 

  • Consider whether you are looking for a textbook replacement, supplemental materials, assignments, or some combination of the above.
  • Ask yourself if you want a single OER that provides everything you are looking for or if are you open to using multiple different OER piecemeal.
  • Think about what multimedia elements, like video or interactive equations, you want out of the OER. 
  • Determine whether you have the interest, time, and energy to revise or remix an OER or need to find one you can use as it is. 

Does the OER Match Your Goals?

Once you know what you want out of an OER, ask yourself how well an OER matches with your needs and your students needs. 

  • Consider how the OER's coverage match up with your courses objectives. How much this matters will vary based on whether you want a single OER or will use multiple piecemeal and whether you are open to revising and remixing what you found. 
  • Evaluate the ancillary features, such as reading questions or assignment materials, and multimedia features  
  • Ensure the copyright licensing of OER allow for the 5R uses that you need.
  • Ask yourself how relevant will your students find the information and resources in the OER to their experiences and academic interests. This again will matter more or less depending on your openness to revise. 

What is the Quality of the OER?

Evaluating the quality of an OER isn't that different from evaluating textbooks or materials from traditional publishers, but there are some resources that can help you out. 

  • Look to see if where you found the OER includes reviews of the OER. 
  • When you are looking over an OER yourself, consider using a rubric to help you evaluate. There are a number of rubrics available at the bottom of this page. 

How Usable is the OER?

Finally, ask yourself questions about the experience students will have using the OER. 

  • Ask how you will make the OER available to students, such as by incorporating it into Canvas.
  • Consider the technical requirements for students to use the OER.
    • Will students need any specific software to use the OER?
    • Do students need a constant internet access to use the OER or can it be downloaded to use offline?
    • Will students need to create an account?
    • What devices will the OER work best on? Is is mobile friendly? Will students need a laptop or desktop for a good experience?
  • Evaluate how accessible the OER is for students with different types of disabilities. 

Evaluation Rubrics

This guide was created by Dr. Meredith Heath Boulden on behalf of the University of Memphis Libraries and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License    unless otherwise noted. This guide is currently maintained by Carl Hess