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Digital Materials Evaluation: Open Educational Resource Evaluation

This guide will provide information regarding the evaluation of different digital resources.


This guide is intended to act as a tool to guide your evaluation of Open Educational Resources for adaption into coursework. Due to the inherently open and digital nature of OERs it is critical to not only evaluate the content of the resource itself, but also the context and medium in which it was created and will be used. Criteria is suggested for evaluation of OERs in regard to content, context and medium.

Criteria were adapted from a similar evaluative framework found at: licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Open Educational Resources are teaching, learning, and research resources released under an open license that permits their free use and repurposing by others. OER can be full courses, course materials, lesson plans, open textbooks, learning objects, videos, games, tests, software, or any other tool, material, or technique that supports access to knowledge.”

-SPARC Definition of Open Educational Resources


"Evaluating the Text Itself"

  • Clarity

    • The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used

  • Comprehensiveness

    • The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary

  • Content Accuracy

    • Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased

  • Consistency

    • The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework

  • Grammar

    • The text contains no grammatical errors

  • Organization

    • The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion

"Evaluating the Context of Authorship vs. the Context of Use by Students"

  • Course Relevance

    • The content of the text is appropriately suited to the level of your students and learning outcomes of the course.

  • Cultural Relevance

    • The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds.

    • Content of the text should be appropriate to the students utilizing it. There could be dissonance between the cultural relevance to the author and to your students.

"Evaluating the Digital Medium of Deliverability"

  • Interface

    • The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader. The interface is user-friendly and adequate to an extent that learning the technology will not subsume engaging with the content.

      • Further consideration could include: Multimedia Features and Canvas Integration.

  • Modularity/Organization

    • The text is readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be utilized at different points during a course. Persistent navigation should facilitate the realignment and reorganization of the text to to be used at different points during the course.

  • “Shareability” and "Remixability"

    • The resource should be openly licensed in order to facilitate broad and free redistribution of the text.

    • The resource should be able to be remixed to more adequately suit the needs of your course if content and/or context are less than adequate.

      • Many resources offer platforms that enable you to easily remix and create OER content. For more information, please see: OER @ Butler University.

  • Stability

    • The platform the content is hosted on is stable and students will not lose access at any point during the course.

Additional Resources


Email Butler University Libraries
Irwin Library: 317-940-9227
Science Library: 317-940-9937
CAT: 317-940-8575

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