Assessing OER: Spotlight on C.R.A.A.P

Peg French

Not all Open Education Resources (OER) are created equal. Assessment is still key to your decision to adopt an OER, just as it is with publisher or Internet content.

There are several rubrics and checklists to assist your assessment of resources, OER or otherwise. BC Campus has a set of criteria to use when reviewing and open textbooks.  The Commonwealth of Learning has guidelines for OERs in Higher Education

Howard Rheingold’s Compendium of CRAP detection resources is a useful reference guide as you explore resources on the web.  It lists a wide range of tools to assess the quality of online information.

One widely used way to assess online resources is the C.R.A.A.P. test. First developed by librarians at California State University—Chico, institutions across the globe have adopted it as a framework for evaluating sources.

CRAAP refers to Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy and Purpose

The C.R.A.A.P.  Test

Currency = the timeliness of the information

When was the OER published or posted?

  • Has the OER been revised or updated?
  • Does your topic require current information?
  • Are the links functional?

Relevance = the importance of the information for your needs

Does the OER relate to your needs?

  • Who is the intended audience?
  • Is the information in the OER at an appropriate level for your learners?

Authority = the source of the information

Who is the creator?

  • What are the creator’s credentials or organizational affiliations?
  • Are the creators/collaborators contributors qualified to write on the topic?

Accuracy = the reliability and truthfulness of the information

Is the information supported by evidence?

  • Has the OER been reviewed or refereed?
  • Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar, or typographical errors?

Purpose = the reason the information exists

What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?

  • Is the information fact, opinion, or propaganda?
  • Are there political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional, or personal biases?

Take a look at this two minute video about “Evaluating Sources” (Western University, 2012) which provides an overview of the CRAAP test.


Extend Activity – Holy CRAAP

image credit: “Cow Manure” flickr photo by barbourians shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

Regardless of your discipline, you are concerned with learners’ understanding of their limited privacy online.

  • Evaluate the potential of “Hot on your trail: Privacy, your data, and who has access to it” using the C.R.A.A.P test.
  • Use the online form to record your C.R.A.A.P evaluation of the resource.
  • Check colleagues’ scores to compare evaluations.
  • Apply the CRAAP test to the resources that you chose for your contribution to our shared Padlet when you were exploring the repositories.
  • Use the CRAAP test to evaluate the resources for currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, purpose. If any of them “fail” the CRAAP try to find another one to replace it.
  • Now that you have deemed the resource worthy, annotate each resource, using “Add comment”. Briefly explain how you would use this resource in your course.
  • Peruse some of the contributions that are already there. Feel free to add constructive comments to their curated creations.

See some examples done by previous Extend participants.

The goal of this module is to extend your awareness and appreciation of content curation. We hope that you also recognize it as a viable and vital option for finding resources as you design, develop and revise courses. Armed with knowledge to source and assess open education resources, you now have the tools to take more control over customizing your courses while saving your learners money.



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