Refresher – Evaluating OER

Evaluating OER

Evaluating resources is standard procedure for all educators and the CRAAP method is a great initial framework to use. When searching in the open, there are some evaluation criteria that are unique to OER. Check out this comprehensive list shared by Queen’s University that includes criteria that are useful especially when your focus is on adopting and adapting OER.

Checklist for Reviewing an OER

As you find existing openly licensed content which you would like to adapt to integrate into your own course, consider the following review criteria:

  1. Permissions: do you have copyright permission to adapt and re-use the resource as you wish?
    • Before re-using content, check the licence details and the exact terms of re-use to see if there are any restrictions on modifying the resource to create something new.
  2. Appropriateness/relevance: is the content appropriate to your audience? Level (i.e. first year, second year, etc.), experience/expertise.
  3. Clarity, comprehensibility and readability: is the content clear and comprehensible, well-organized (logical sequence and flow)?
  4. Consistency, accuracy: does the resource use consistent language and terminology? Is the content accurate, error-free and unbiased? Is it free from factual, grammatical or typographical errors?
  5. Adaptability and modularity: is the resource in a file format which allows for adaptations, modifications, re-arrangements and updates? Can the resource be easily divided into bite-sized pieces which can be re-mixed or re-ordered?
  6. Production quality: is the information clear and understandable? Is the layout and interface easy to navigate? Do the design features enhance learning? For audio or video resources, is the sound quality high? Are there broken links or obsolete formats?
  7. Interactivity: Does the resource encourage active learning and class participation? Are there opportunities for students to test their understanding of the material (i.e. a video with embedded questions)?
  8. Interface: Is the text free of significant interface issues — including navigation problems, distortion of images, charts and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader?
  9. Cultural relevance: is the text culturally insensitive or offensive in any way? Content should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities and backgrounds.
  10. Accessibility: is the content accessible to students with disabilities? Is it AODA compliant? For example, do images have alternate text that can be read? Do videos have accurate closed-captioning? Are students able to access the materials in a quick, non-restrictive manner?

Refreshers by Paula Demacio; Alissa Bigelow; Tricia Bonner; and Shauna Roch is licensed under a CC BY-SA licensed and adapted from Adapt an Open Educational Resource created by the Queen’s University Library and licensed under a CC BY-SA 3.0


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Extending Into the Open Copyright © 2022 by Paula Demacio; Alissa Bigelow; Tricia Bonner; and Shauna Roch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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