You'll likely find it useful to evaluate OER based on the same standards you use to evaluate other course materials. Here are a few criteria to consider:
Several rubrics exist for systematically evaluating OER. We recommend the Sample Rubric for Evaluating OER which we adapted from the DigiTex Checklist for Evaluating OER (CC BY 4.0).
A few other general rubrics include:
You can also use these rubrics to evaluate accessibility in greater depth:
A common misconception about OER is that freely available resources are lower quality than commercial products. Not so! As you may have found in some traditional textbooks and other resources, quality varies and depends on many factors. For example, many OER textbooks are peer-reviewed and have benefited from editors and graphic designers in the publishing process. And when it comes to corrections and updates, OER has a distinct advantage over most commercial products in that errata can be acknowledged and corrected right away, without waiting for the next edition.
It's important to evaluate any new course materials for the criteria that matter most to you -- open or not.
Librarians can help you identify high-quality OER that matches your course needs. Just ask us!
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