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Open Educational Resources (OER)

This guide provides faculty a basic understanding of Open Educational Resources (OER), including how to find, evaluate, use and adapt OER materials for their own courses.

Evaluation Process

Here are a few steps you might take in the evaluation process. If this process seems lengthy, think about the process you follow to review textbooks and other materials for your course. You can use a similar or modified evaluation process to that.

  1. Does this OER cover the content you'd like your students to learn in this course or module?
  2. How accessible is this content? Will it be accessible for your students or is it too technical? Or, vice versa, is it robust and challenging enough for your students?
  3. How can you use the content? Verify the license that the resource is under. Can you remix or revise the OER as long as it isn't for commercial purposes? Who do you have to recognize if you use it? Will you be able to do so?
  4. Once you determine how you can use the OER, what would you like to do with it? Does only a portion of it apply to your class? Would you possibly want to combine this OER with another OER or resource? Does the Library have access to articles that could act as supplemental readings?
  5. As you collect more OER and other resources, save them in a central location. Take note of how you envision using them. Align these resources with the learning objectives and weekly lessons on your syllabus in order to identify gaps.

OER Evaluation Checklist

You’ve found an OER. Congrats! Now you should go through a quick evaluation process to determine whether it’s right for your purposes. Research the following in your evaluation process. Also keep track of what might need to be improved so you can enhance the OER for your own purposes.


Quality

  • Peer Review available or used
  • Reputation of author/institution is transparent
  • Pedagogical methods are sound
  • Allows for customization or refinement


Appropriateness

  • Content is accurate
  • Sources are identified and cited
  • Some alignment with a learning outcome or course objective
  • Appropriate reading/domain level for your students


Technical

  • High technical quality (clear visuals, high production value)
  • Clear licensing declaration (Creative Commons License present, in the Public Domain, etc.)
  • License to remix or share again

NOTE: This resource was reused and adapted from Kirkwood Community College Library's guide on open textbooks. It was developed by Sarah Crissinger, Information Literacy Graduate Assistant. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

OER Evaluation Rubric

Categories of Criteria
3 – Superior
2 – Limited
1 – Weak/NA
Alignment to Course Objectives
  • Alignment to individual course objectives
Course objective fully aligned and addressed comprehensively.
Course objective partially aligned and addressed.
Course objective neither aligned nor addressed.
Explanation of the Subject Matter

Is the:

  • Content valid and appropriately current?
  • Content understandable by target audience?
  • Content authoritative and appropriate (age level, language, visuals, cultural sensitivity)?

Does the:

  • Content present main ideas clearly?
  • Content connect associated concepts?
Content is valid, appropriately current, understandable by target audience, authoritative, and appropriate. Content presents main ideas clearly and connects to associated concepts.
Content is partially valid, less than appropriately current, garners less than complete understanding by target audience, is incomplete in elements of authority and appropriateness. Content presents most main ideas clearly and connects to some associated concepts.
Content is invalid, outdated, not understandable by target audience, deficient in authority and appropriateness. Content neither presents main ideas clearly nor connects associated concepts.
Utility for Instruction
  • Are instructions for use provided?
  • Do the components of the OER function as intended?
  • Does functionality require specific software or hardware?
  • Is the OER licensed for open use? (CC license for reuse, remix, revise, redistribution)
  • Is content adaptable or revisable?
  • Is metadata available?
Comprehensive instructions are provided; components function as intended; functionality does not require additional software or hardware; OER is licensed for open use; content is adaptable and revisable; and, metadata is available.
Instructions are incomplete; some components do not function as intended; some functionality does require additional software or hardware; OER license is partially open; content is not easily adaptable and/or revisable; and, metadata is incomplete.
Instructions are not provided; components do not function as intended; functionality requires additional software or hardware; OER is not licensed for open use; content is not adaptable and/or revisable; and, metadata is not available.
Quality of Assessment
  • Is assessment aligned to the content?
  • Does the assessment measure and appropriately weight the major concepts of the content?
  • Does the structure of the assessment support an accurate measurement of proficiency?
Assessment is aligned to the content; measures and appropriately weights the major concepts of the content; and, the assessment structure supports an accurate measurement of student proficiency.
Assessment is moderately aligned to the content; inconsistently measures and weights the major concepts of the content; and, the assessment structure compromises an accurate measurement of student proficiency.
Assessment is misaligned to the content; does not measure or appropriately weight the major concepts of the content; and, the assessment structure does not support an accurate measurement of student proficiency.
Quality of Technological Interactivity
  • Does the OER functionality allow individualized learning by being flexible or adapting to individual control?
  • Is the OER functionality well designed and functions as expected on the intended platform?
  • Does the OER functionality invite student use or encourage learning?
Functionality allows an individualized learning experience; is well-designed; and, encourages student use or learning.
Functionality moderately allows an individualized learning experience; the design is deficient in some areas; and, may not encourage student use or learning.
Functionality does not allow an individualized learning experience; has design flaws; and, discourages student use or learning.
Quality of Instructional and Practice Exercises
  • Does the OER offer more exercises than needed for the average student to master elementary content?
  • Does the OER offer one to two rich practice exercises for complex content?
  • Are exercises clearly written?
  • Are exercises keyed and scored with appropriate documentation?
  • Is there a variety of exercise types and formats appropriate for the intended content?
OER offers appropriate number of exercises for mastery of elementary and complex content; offers clearly written, keyed, and scored exercises with documentation; and, provides a variety of types and formats of exercises.
OER offers an insufficient number of exercises for mastery of elementary and complex content; question clarity or documentation for keying or scoring is insufficient; and, provides little variety in types and formats of exercises.
OER lacks an appropriate number of exercises for mastery of elementary and complex content; does not offer clearly written, keyed, and scored exercises with documentation; and, provides no variety of types and formats of exercises.
Opportunities for Deeper Learning
  • Does the OER offer opportunities for deeper learning by incorporating at least three of the following:
  1. Thinking critically and solving complex problems
  2. Working collaboratively
  3. Reasoning abstractly
  4. Constructing viable arguments and critiquing the reasoning of others
  5. Communicating effectively
  6. Applying discrete knowledge to real world situations
  7. Constructing, using, or analyzing models?
  • Does the OER offer a range of cognitive demand that is appropriate and supportive of content?
  • Does the OER provide appropriate scaffolding and direction?
OER provides opportunity for deeper learning through at least three areas of higher level thinking skills; offers a range of cognitive demand commensurate with the content; and, provides appropriate direction and scaffolding.
OER provides opportunity for deeper learning through fewer than three areas of higher level thinking skills; offers a range of cognitive inconsistently matched with the content; and, provides incomplete direction or scaffolding.
OER does not provide opportunity for deeper learning through higher level thinking skills; does not offer a range of cognitive demand commensurate with the content; and, does not provide appropriate direction or scaffolding.
Accessibility
  • Does the OER comply with current ADA accessibility standards?
Components and functionality of OER comply with current ADA accessibility standards.
Parts of OER components or functionality comply with current ADA accessibility standards.
OER does not comply with current ADA accessibility standards.

NOTE: This rubric is a synthesis version of the eight (8) separate rubrics for the evaluation of OERs created by ACHIEVE.org. It is meant as a ready reference for quick evaluation of an OER. It was created and shared by Rodney Birch of George Fox University.