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Hamersly Library

Open Educational Resources (OER): Tools for Affordable Learning: Assessing OERs

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

Assessing OERs

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 (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 identifies eight criteria to consider when evaluating open educational resources.This chart condenses Achieve's criteria into a more compact form.

Faculty Guide to Evaluating OERs

This checklist by BCOER suggests considerations when selecting a suitable OER.

Open Textbook Library

Open Textbook Library (OTL) also 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. Should you wish to contribute a review of an open textbook in the library, please contact OTL directly.


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. MERLOT recommends that each review address the quality of the content, its potential effectiveness as a learning tool, and ease of use.

iRubric: Evaluating OER Rubric

This resource by Rcampus includes a list of questions to ask as you are considering an open educational resource.