When we have identified an OER of interest, what steps do we need to take to ensure that it is appropriate for our context and is of suitable quality for our purpose?

You should take the same steps that you do to ensure that any learning resource you want to use is fit for purpose, regardless of how open or closed its licence is. The process of ensuring the quality of our learning resources should be revisited from time to time and would include using institutional quality assurance processes for courses, as well as our own evaluation of individual resources.

Evaluating Resources

One way of ascertaining fitness for purpose is by using an evaluation toolkit provided by the Achieve organization. This tool is hosted at OER Commons and the evaluation system comprises eight rubrics addressing various aspects of quality that are appropriate to an open learning resource.

The following rubrics are included in the evaluation toolkit:

  • Rubric I: Degree of Alignment to Standards
  • Rubric II: Quality of Explanation of the Subject Matter
  • Rubric III: Utility of Materials Designed to Support Teaching
  • Rubric IV: Quality of Assessment
  • Rubric V: Quality of Technological Interactivity
  • Rubric VI: Quality of Instructional Tasks and Practice Exercises
  • Rubric VII: Opportunities for Deeper Learning  
  • Rubric VIII: Assurance of Accessibility

The Common Core Alignment and OER Evaluation Tool is found on all Resource Pages in OER Commons. You can use the tool to align appropriate resources to the Common Core State Standards and to evaluate the resource against certain aspects of quality.

Becoming Proficient at Resource Evaluation

OER Commons also offers training modules (OER Academy Series) to provide training on how to use its OER Evaluation Tools:

  • OER Academy: OER Quality Evaluation Module 1 ‘provides participants with an exploration of OER quality evaluation. We have designed these modules to first spark the learner's interest in the topics covered and then dig deeper into the content through presentations, storytelling, and demonstrations of the tools. We will offer opportunities for learners to practice exploring the resources and tools, and reflect on how they might use them in their work.’
  • OER Evaluation Tools Module 2 ‘provides participants with an introduction to OER evaluation tools.’
  • Another toolkit available is UKOER Synthesis and Evaluation (JISC HE Academy). The toolkit is made up of three elements:
  • Information and resources to support your evaluation activities;
  • An interactive tool to guide you through the Evaluation and Synthesis framework, providing an opportunity to submit findings, observations and links to evidence, feeding this back to you for inclusion in your project reporting mechanisms;
  • Examples of evaluation materials, instruments and reports from other UKOER projects.

Quality Guidelines

Useful guiding resources on quality standards include:

Some resources on developing good quality resources:

Self-Reflection Activity

  1. How do the elements in the various quality evaluation toolkits relate to quality assurance practices at your institution?