Evaluate OER

Evaluation Rubrics & Checklists

There are plenty of rubrics and evaluation tools available. In fact, many institutions or academic departments may already use one for evaluating traditional textbooks and course materials that can be used to evaluate OER. Outside of considering the 5Rs in Module 1 and whether the licensing on the resources allows for adaptation, evaluating OER should not be any different than evaluating other curricular material under consideration for adoption.

Suggestions for easy-to-use and widely-adopted rubrics and checklists for evaluation include:

What do you want to do with that OER?

As stated elsewhere in this tutorial, OER are flexible in that they can be used as they are, or are licensed to be adapted to fit a particular situation, course, or subject. So first, before diving into rubrics, consider the license for the OER and what the permissions allow.

Yellow rectangle with four icons left to right. Icons represent the option to adopt, adapt, combine, or create.

The following questions can help guide you when selecting and evaluating OER. The list below is also available in PDF format from Affordable Learning Georgia.

Clarity, Comprehensibility, and Readability

  • Is the content, including any instructions, exercises, or supplemental material, clear and comprehensible to students?

  • Is the content well-categorized in terms of logic, sequencing, and flow?

  • Is the content consistent with its language and key terms?

Content Accuracy and Technical Accuracy

  • Is the content accurate based on both your expert knowledge and through external sources?

  • Are there any factual, grammatical, or typographical errors?

  • Is the interface easy to navigate? Are there broken links or obsolete formats?

Adaptability and Modularity

  • Is the resource in a file format which allows for adaptations, modifications, rearrangements, and updates?

  • Is the resource easily divided into modules, or sections, which can then be used or rearranged out of their original order?

  • Is the content licensed in a way which allows for adaptations and modifications?


  • Is the content presented at a reading level appropriate for higher education students?

  • How is the content useful for instructors or students?

  • Is the content itself appropriate for higher education?

Supplementary Resources

  • Does the OER contain any supplementary materials, such as homework resources, study guides, tutorials, or assessments?

  • Have you reviewed these supplementary resources in the same manner as the original OER?

Accessibility and Inclusion

  • Is the content accessible to students with disabilities?

  • If you are using Web resources, does each image 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?

  • Do visuals include multiple races and ethnicity?

  • Do historical examples include traditionally underrepresented groups or viewpoints?

Module 6 will cover accessibility more in depth.

Getting Organized! Curriculum Mapping

Another successful approach to evaluate an OER is to use a course map template to track course outcomes, activities, and teaching resources. A course map, also known as a curriculum map, is a record of teaching and learning that can provide faculty an opportunity to align OER with course learning outcomes. An added advantage to course mapping is unearthing unintentional gaps or redundancies in your learning outcomes.

Curriculum mapping and redesigning courses are rewarding and, at times, necessary tasks. Unfortunately, these processes can also be cumbersome and time consuming. Many institutions of higher education have Distance Learning professionals or Instructional Designers who are equipped to help ease the process and provide guidance and helpful tools. It’s a good idea to contact these offices before you start collecting course material.

This course and its modules were developed by adapting Texas Learn OER, and a course map was used to track, organize, and evaluate content. The template is available for use. Retrieve a copy below, as well as a sample course map:

A Comment On Quality

Often, in conversations surrounding the evaluation of OER, questions emerge related to quality. A typical question might be: Is the quality of the OER as good as commercially produced copyrighted course material? As with anything, OER content, formatting, and quality will vary. It is good practice to consider HOW quality is defined and measured. David Wiley addressed this in a 2013 blog post: On Quality and OER.

“For educational materials, the degree to which they support learning is the only meaning of quality we should care about.”


Information for this module was consulted and adapted from

"How to Find and Evaluate OER" by Abbey Elder is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

"Identifying, Finding, and Adopting OER" by SUNY OER Services is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

"OER Evaluation Criteria" by Affordable Learning Georgia is licensed under CC BY 4.0.