Skip to Main Content

Faculty & Staff Resources: Digital Course Resource Evaluation

This LibGuide highlights library resources for Butler's faculty and staff


Evaluating Media

Typically when we talk about evaluation, we are using the CRAP test. This can still be a helpful process, but it doesn't quite fit as well with media sources as it does with text ones. Since there are other considerations fo

Evaluating media: images, audio, video


Visual Literacy

"Visual literacy skills equip a learner to understand and analyze the contextual, cultural, ethical, aesthetic, intellectual, and technical components involved in the production and use of visual materials. A visually literate individual is both a critical consumer of visual media and a competent contributor to a body of shared knowledge and culture." ACRL Visual Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education


  • What do you observe?
    • Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?
  • What do you feel?
  • Can the media be viewed in different ways?


  • Look at the media composition
    • What meaning is conveyed by design choices - color, light, sound, shape, order, placement, etc?
    • Has the media been altered - cropped, filtered, autotuned, etc? If so, why?



  • Who created this? Who published it? 
    • Do they have education or experience with the topic?
    • Is there a reason for the creator or published to be biased? 
  • Where was it published? 
    • Why did they choose that particular method? Were they paid?
  • Did they include the work of others? Was proper attribution given?
  • What information accompanies the media file - dates, technical information, context? 
    • Who supplies it? Can it be trusted?


CONTEXTUAL INFORMATIONDoodle of swirl with global landmarks around edge

Gathered through your observations, the information provided with the file, and through additional research:

  • What was the original context for this media?
    • What historical or socioeconomic factors influenced the production of this media?
    • Who was the original intended audience?
    • What was the social, cultural, and political climate at this time? 
  • How does this context influence your understanding of the media?
  • Has the media file been used outside of its original context? How has its use and interpretation changed over time?

OER Evaluation

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

Two Reasons: Cost and Restrictiveness of Traditional Resources

This material was created by David Wiley and published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license at:

This framework 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.

"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.

Digital Resources & Metaliteracy

Attribution:Metaliteracy Model (created by Roger Lipera in Adobe Illustrator)

"Metaliteracy and Digital Resource Evaluation"

The prevalent availability of digital materials provides educators with an opportunity to engage students in the classroom with a multitude of non-traditional learning resources that are available at little to no cost to the student or educator. Conversely, this overwhelming availability of resources presents a new set of challenges for educators as the evaluation, integration, and utilization of these resources requires a pluralistic set of established and emergent literacies- i.e. Metaliteracy.

This new set of literacies reflect the need to evaluate resources in regard to the immersive participatory online environment of the 21st century educator and student.

Want to Reuse this Content?

Creative Commons Attribution License

You are welcome to reuse the content of this Guide as long as you attribute Butler University Libraries.


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

Like us on FacebookInstagramFollow us on Twitter