Finding & Evaluating OER

How to Find and Evaluate OER by Abbey Elder under a CC by 4.0 license

There are many different repositories that focus on collecting open educational resources for people to download and use. While each OER that you are considering using must be evaluated for its content, you can save yourself some time by evaluating the entire repository in which it’s located. The idea is that a good repository will have good resources within it.

Workflows for Finding OER

Selecting a Resource

Open educational resources exist everywhere. There is no one place where you can find content, and a simple search for resources on Google can yield millions of possible results. While narrowing your search to resources licensed for adaption, there are many considerations when selecting an OER to use.

As with research practices, developing a workflow on what you are interested in finding and how you will identify the most useful content and discard other content is a necessary part of being effective in finding material. The next step considerations that will help you are: 1) narrow down the number of resources you may find when searching for content; 2) select the most appropriate content based on your specific context and and needs.

Checklist for Including Third-Party 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:


  • Do you have copyright permission to adapt and reuse the resource as you wish?
  • Before reusing content, check the license details and the exact terms of reuse to see if there are any restrictions on modifying the resource to create something new.

Appropriateness / Relevance

  • Is the content appropriate to your audience? Consider, for example, level (i.e. first year, fourth year, etc), expertise/assumed background knowledge.

Clarity, Comprehensibility, and Readability

  • Is the content clear, comprehensible, and well organised (logic, sequencing, and flow)?

Consistency and Accuracy

  • Does the resource use consistent language, terminology?
  • Is the content accurate, error-free and unbiased?
  • It the resource free from factual, grammatical, or typographical errors?

Adaptability and Modularity

  • Is the resource in a file format that allows for adaptations, modifications, rearrangements, and updates?
  • Can the resource be easily divided into bite-sized pieces that can be re-mixed or reordered?

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?


  • Does the resource encourage active learning and class participation?
  • Are there opportunities for students to test their understanding of the material (e.g., a video with embedded questions)?


  • 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?

Cultural Relevance

  • Is the text culturally insensitive or offensive in any way?
  • Does the resource make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds?


  • Is the content accessible to students with diverse abilities?
  • 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?