2.3 Finding and evaluating OER

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Photo by Blocks on Unsplash (Unsplash licence)

In this section we examine how to find relevant, quality open educational resources for use and/or adaptation in teaching and learning, and how to evaluate OER based on recognised criteria. A rich variety of databases and repositories now exist from which to find OER suited to the topic you are teaching, so as to provide material in alternative formats and engage learners in complex topics. Many high quality OER have also been produced to support learning more generally, for example, through supporting information literacy or academic writing. We suggest that the best way of learning about finding and evaluating OER is to try it out. The activity in this section focuses on a small search for one OER, and provides a rubric to evaluate it.


1. Choose a database: A good starting point is to choose one database from the following list. All are widely-used and well-populated databases which should offer plentiful resources for your search and evaluation task:

2. Search: Search and identify a suitable OER for teaching a topic in your discipline area, or alternatively for a topic related to supporting students’ learning (e.g. to support academic referencing). 

Note: This is a focused search for a small OER. While you will find full textbooks and courses in the databases listed, we advise selecting a more granular, smaller resource for the purposes of this task. An example of a small OER might be a single image or worksheet/handout, or perhaps a short guide like this.

3. Evaluate: Assess your chosen OER using this simple rubric (LTTC, TU Dublin).

Note: A range of more detailed rubrics is provided below for reference; these may be suitable for more detailed evaluative work or to evaluate a full course or textbook.

4. Reflect: How much time did this take for you? How does this compare with the time needed to develop a new equivalent resource of your own? How did you make decisions about the OER selected, and where it fits with your teaching? How will you attribute it? Could your students undertake a similar activity?
5. Share: We invite you to share your selected OER on Twitter using the hashtag #NFopen.

Alternative rubrics


2.2 Creative Commons for open licensing
2.4 OER attribution