8 Evaluating OER

Learning outcomes

By the end of this chapter, you will be able to:

  • Evaluate the quality of OER using specific criteria

OER quality evaluation

Last chapter you explored a variety of OER Collections and how to search for OER. Watch the below video to revise this content and begin to understand the importance of quality and evaluation.

Watch: How to find and evaluate OER [6:04 mins]

Note: Closed captions are available by clicking on the CC button in the video.

Similar to evaluating any type of retrieved information, It’s important to ask some critical questions when selecting OER. This is to ensure retrieved OER match the need identified. Below are some key areas of evaluation:


  • Who is the author?


  • Is the information accurate? Are there major content errors or omissions?
  • Are there spelling errors or typos?


  • Does the OER cover the topics you need covered?
  • Is it relevant to the context being studied?
  • Could it be adapted to be made relevant?


  • Is the OER suitable for your cohort?
  • Is it developed for a more advanced, or more general, level?

Quality of content

  • Is the educational content accurate, current, and of a high academic standard?
  • Was it developed by qualified experts at a reputable institution?

Production quality

  • Is the information clear and understandable?
  • Is text appropriately formatted, are images and videos in high resolution, and is audio clear?
      • If not, can you improve the quality of the material, or create a high-quality version?
  • Do the design features enhance learning?


  • Is the OER accessible and inclusive of students from diverse backgrounds, or with disabilities or learning difficulties? For example, do images have captions or alt text?
  • Are colour-blind-friendly diagrams used?
  • Is the language accessible?
  • If the OER is not accessible, can you adapt it to make it so? If not, you will need to find an accessible alternative.


  • Does the resource encourage active learning and class participation?
  • Are there opportunities for students to test their understanding of the materials (e.g. a video with embedded questions?)


  • Is the OER licenced in such a way that you can do what you need with it?
  • For example, if you plan to adapt the OER, you’ll need to avoid Creative Commons licences with ND (No Derivatives) elements.

Checklists and rubrics

When evaluating OER, it can be helpful to use a checklist or rubric. Here are some examples:

 Reflect: OER evaluation resources

Choose two of the OER evaluation resources introduced above. Compare them and note the differences and similarities between the two.

Watch the below video to learn some excellent guidance on how to evaluate OER.

Watch: OER Bootcamp: OER and how to evaluate them [5:16 mins.]

Note: Closed captions are available by clicking on the CC button in the video.

Do: Record your strategies

Record your ideas and notes including the evaluation strategies you are using, or will use.

Assisting our university communities to identify and locate OER is important, and we should recommend evaluation strategies and tools, and participate in the evaluation practice ourselves when using and recommending OER.

Reflect: Evaluating OER

  • What do you think the consequences of using low quality OER would be?
  • Why do you need to evaluate OER?
  • Why is evaluation important?
  • Is evaluating OER different to evaluating other educational resources?

 Reflect: What would you do?

You’ve located an OER that meets your needs. However, based on the evaluation you’ve completed, the OER is not of good quality. There’s also no other similar OER available. What would you do?

Key takeaways

This chapter we learnt:

  • evaluation is an important part of the OER process. Asking critical questions and selecting a tool (such as a rubric or checklist) will assist you to use the quality OER needed.
  • about some existing rubric or checklist that can be used for the purpose of evaluation.

Once you have completed the evaluation for any located OER and if it meets your identified OER need, you may decide to adopt or adapt the resource. Next chapter, you will explore how to adopt, or adapt and create OER.


This module has been adapted in part from:


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CAUL Open Educational Resources Professional Development Program: Foundations Copyright © 2024 by Council of Australian University Librarians (CAUL) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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