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Open Educational Resources

Open educational resources, open movement, OER, teaching, learning, learners, students, creative commons.


Evaluate OER

Once you’ve found potential OER for your course or learning goals, take some time to evaluate the content thoroughly.

  • How do you currently assess content to include in your courses?
  • Do you have a clear set of criteria?
  • Are there specific types of content or organizational structures that matter to you?


While your criteria and subject expertise will be vital in OER evaluation, the Open Community has shared a number of evaluation rubrics specific to open content. We recommend the BC Campus Evaluation Criteria, Open Textbook Network Rubric, and the Affordable Learning Georgia Criteria, which prompt reviewers to assess broad criteria including:


License type

Review the license assigned to the work. With a CC license, an author may grant you a combination of rights: to freely copy, freely redistribute, freely transform, or freely reuse your work. Learn more about CC licenses on our guide and review the Creative Commons FAQ for licensees.

Format type

Consider the format of the work and the ease with which you might remix, edit, or revise. Review the chapter Assess Editability from Modifying an Open Textbook.

Organization and flow

Consider the logic and clarity of the topic organization. Consider if the language and sequencing will be comprehensible to learners.

Cultural relevance

Consider if the text is inclusive of a variety of worldviews, races, cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds.


Relevance to context

Consider the course and learners that will use the OER. Ask if the content is appropriate for learners and teachers in higher education.


Consider the accessibility of the content for all learners. Explore Accessibility considerations in more detail below.

Content Accuracy

Review content for accuracy and absence of factual, typographical, and grammatical errors.  


Consider if the content will quickly require updating to remain relevant.  


Review the text for clarity and absence of jargon or overly technical language.


Are you evaluating an open textbook? Consider copying and completing the evaluation worksheet:

  Worksheet : Textbooks

  Worksheet : Other OER

Adapted from Open Textbook Library Rubric, licensed under CC BY 4.0 and BC Campus Review Criteria, licensed under CC BY 3.0.


Accessibility Accessible design benefits all learners.

Accessibility is one of the criteria included in the rubrics and checklists listed above. The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, developed by the World Wide Web Consortium, provide an international standard that defines accessibility of web-based resources.

Watch Open Dialogues: Open education and accessibility [Link opens in a new tab]


Some key factors for inclusive learning design:

Page Structure

Content should be organized to help readers understand the purpose and relationships within the content. Properly organized content will ensure successful reading by screen readers. Pay attention to overall Structure, Headings, Lists, Tables and HTML 5 Regions and ARIA Landmark Roles.


Text & Documents

Text in documents should meet both color contrast (text color in relationship to background color) recommendations and readable text size (12px minimum).


Media Captioning

Spoken word and audio of multimedia resources should be transcribed. Transcriptions should include speakers’ names and description of non-speech audio.


Visual Alternative Text

Photos, diagrams, pictures, charts, graphs, maps and other graphics should include alt text. Describe the content and purpose of the visual.  


Descriptive Hyperlinks

Hyperlinks should include descriptive text that explains the purpose of the link. (Avoid learn more, click here go here.)

Additional Resources