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Open Educational Resources (OER): Tools for Affordable Learning

This guide describes high-quality educational resources that can be used to decrease material costs for courses at WSU and in higher education more broadly.

Assessing OER

Open education projects have increasingly incorporated OER assessment into their work to help instructors more readily judge the quality of open educational resources. BCcampus, Open Textbook Library, and MERLOT are notable for including reviews alongside OERs, and for encouraging faculty members to leave their own reviews of materials in their subject areas. The assessment criteria used by these three projects are outlined below.


 BCcampus allows faculty to post reviews of open textbooks

BCcampus (an open education project in British Columbia) invites faculty reviews of the open textbooks that they publish. Note that, by clicking on "Faculty-reviewed" in the list of results on the BCcampus Open Textbooks site, you can narrows results to only books that have been reviewed.

Criteria for assessment of BCcampus open textbooks include:

  1. Comprehensiveness
  2. Content Accuracy
  3. Relevance/Longevity
  4. Clarity
  5. Consistency
  6. Modularity
  7. Organization/Structure/Flow
  8. Interface
  9. Grammatical Errors
  10. Cultural Relevance

This rubric was adapted from, which is a derivative of the review rubric used by College Open Textbooks. This rubric is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

Achieve's Rubric for Evaluating OERs

Achieve logo identifies eight criteria to consider when evaluating open educational resources.

  1. Degree of Alignment to Standards
  2. Quality of Explanation of the Subject Matter
  3. Utility of Materials Designed to Support Teaching
  4. Quality of Assessment
  5. Quality of Technological Interactivity
  6. Quality of Instructional and Practice Exercises
  7. Opportunities for Deeper Learning
  8. Assurance of Accessibility

Faculty Guide to Evaluating OERs

BCOER logo

BCOER suggests considering the following when selecting a suitable OER:

  • Relevance
  • Accuracy
  • Production Quality
  • Accessibility
  • Interactivity
  • Licensing

Open Textbook Library

 Sample Open Textbook Library review

Open Textbook Library (OTL) includes faculty reviews alongside the open textbooks in the library. OTL uses the same review rubric as BCcampus, inviting faculty members to rate textbooks on the basis of comprehensiveness, content accuracy, relevance/longevity, clarity, consistency, modularity, organization/structure/flow, grammatical errors, and cultural relevance.


 MERLOT rating

MERLOT is a repository of open educational resources that adds new resources via a peer review process. The site has organized more than twenty editorial boards to coordinate peer review activities. In addition, you as an instructor can join the MERLOT community and post your own reviews of the materials on the site.

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