Skip to Main Content

Open Educational Resources (OER): Evaluating OER and More Resources

This guide provides a basic understanding of OER materials, including how to find, evaluate, and use them for teaching and learning.

The Evaluation Process

Here are a few steps you can use to evaluate open educational resources:

  1. Does this OER cover the content you want your students to learn in this course?
  2. How accessible is the content?  Will it be accessible for your students, or is it too technical?  Is it challenging enough for your students?
  3. How can you use the content?  Verify the type of license under which the resource was created.  Is it a Creative Commons license?  Can you remix or revise the OER as long as it is not for commercial purposes?  Would you want to combine it with another OER or other resource?  Does the Library provide access to articles for supplemental readings?
  4. Save the OER in a central location.  Take note of how you envision using them.  Align these resources with the learning outcomes in your syllabus in order to identify gaps.

Rubrics, Checklists, and Tools for Evaluation

iRubric Evaluating OER -- Questions to ask about the OER you are thinking of using. This rubric is developed by Sarah Morehouse with help from Mark McBride, Kathleen Stone, and Beth Burns is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

OER Evaluation Checklist -- a brief checklist developed by Kirkwood Community College

Other Resources

To learn more about OER, visit the following sites:

Open Education Consortium -- news & events, project announcements, access to OER materials, etc.

UNESCO -- information about implementation of OER worldwide

Affordable Textbooks: A Policy Guide -- from the US Public Interest Research Group and the Student PIRG.  Addresses the issues of OER, policy ideas, and sample policies.

New Digital Tools Let Professors Tailor Their Own Textbooks -- article from the Chronicle of Higher Education

Affordable Learning Georgia -- A University of Georgia system initiative to promote student success by providing affordable textbook alternatives

Open Educational Resources from Babson Survey Research Group

Open Education Group -- provides a summary of all known empirical research on the impact of OER

Open Textbook Network -- a consortium of higher education institutions that promote access, affordability, and student success through the use of open textbooks.

Textbook Affordability Infographic -- from Florida's higher education institutions



Public Domain Materials

Public domain materials are materials that contain resources whose copyright has expired.  They include things like classical literature or essays written before 1923.  Many of these are helpful to courses like English Literature.

Project Gutenberg -- over 53,000 online books, many that are considered classical works and that are out of copyright. -- great books online.  Includes the Bible, Grey's Anatomy, Shakespeare, and Harvard Classics among others.

Classic Reader -- includes fiction, non-fiction, and young reader books

FeedBooks -- public domain books, both fiction and non-fiction

Creative Commons, Copyright, and License Information

Different Types of Creative Commons Licenses

Choosing a License --  Once you have finished creating your own version of the textbook, you should decide on which Creative Commons license you will use to license your book. This will depend a great deal on how the original textbook was licensed.  For example, if the original textbook was licensed with SA (Share Alike) license, then you must release your book with the same license as the original source material to ensure it is fully compliant with the original CC terms of use.  CC licensing at this stage can be a complicated process. For assistance, feel free to contact the librarians.

Legal Aspects of OER -- discussion of intellectual property rights, moral rights, and other legal aspects.

Teaching, OER, and Tenure -- things to think about