Skip to main content

Finding OER

This section includes information to help find, evaluate, and share open educational resources to meet learning outcomes and objectives. 

Overview of OER Selection

More than merely collecting content on a specific subject, choosing OER involves carefully selecting content and evaluating it for a specific purpose. When you choose OER as part of your course resources, content deemed useful during the evaluation process can then be customized by you, the curator, and re-shared for future users.

Below is a high-level overview of the processes and steps involved in selecting OER.

Find

Evaluate

Attribution:

Introductory text is a derivative of Content Curation: Finding the Needles in the Haystacks, - opens in a new window, by Christopher Lister, Roaming Educator, licensed under CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 International. - Opens in a new window

 

Processes for Curating OER by ISKME, licensed under CC-BY 4.0. - Opens in a new window

Finding OER

There are a multitude of OER out there to choose from, including open textbooks, courses, multimedia resources, and data. These can be found by searching regular search engines (like Google), but it is much easier to find them through dedicated OER repositories or libraries. Below is a sampling of such repositories and libraries.

OASIS

OASIS a search tool that aims to make the discovery of open content easier, developed by SUNY Geneseo.

Other Open Libraries

The eCampus Open Textbook Library - Opens in a new window offers a curated collection of textbooks, many of which have been reviewed and vetted by educators across Canada.

In addition to the eCampus Open Textbook Library, other websites offer collections of open textbooks. Below is a sampling of these libraries, from both Canada and the U.S.

The collections of aggregated OER below are some of the larger known initiatives that are utilized by educators and library staff in Canada and elsewhere. Many of them have overlapping resources, as they curate and aggregate their content from the same content providers.

  • SOL*R - Opens in a new window - Sharable Online Learning Resources is a BCcampus collection that provides guest access for browsing and downloading its Creative Commons Licensed resources.
  • Merlot II - Opens in a new window - A curated collection of free and open online teaching, learning, and faculty development services contributed and used by an international education community.
  • OER Commons - Opens in a new window -This international, extensive OER library aggregates a variety of OER across learning levels and subjects, and has an embedded authoring tool for remixing and localizing content.

The collections listed below offer a range of multimedia resources for use and integration into teaching and learning. .

Open data may include non-textual material such as map-based data, mathematical and scientific formulae, medical data, demographic data, financial data, and so forth. The collections listed below are all freely available to use, integrate, modify and manipulate to meet local needs.

  • Open Data Canada - Opens in a new window - Government of Canada’s open data sets, covering demographic, financial, map data, and more. 
  • EU Open Data Portal - Opens in a new window - A portal housing a variety of open data across EU policy domains, including the economy, employment, science, environment and education.
  • Data.gov - Opens in a new window - Comprises U.S. federal data with links to U.S. states, cities and counties with web sites that provide open data. Note that non-federal data available through Data.gov may have different licensing than open licensing.

Attribution:

Introductory text a derivative of BCcampus Faculty OER Toolkit, - opens in a new window by BCcampus, - opens in a new window, licensed under CC BY 4.0 - opens in a new window.

Evaluating OER

The best OER evaluation rubrics include traditional evaluative criteria that address a resource’s editorial quality. They also include criteria that address resource portability, and resource effectiveness in engaging learners. Below is a sampling of rubrics that are recommended for use in evaluating OER.

Use or adapt this OER Evaluation Tool, which was originally created by Achieve, Inc. Achieve is a US-based education nonprofit, and a leader in the development of OER evaluation rubrics.

The tool has been tailored for the OCLS post-secondary context. It is comprised of eight rubrics for assessing OER—ranging from how well the resource is aligned to learning outcomes, to the degree to which the resource meets local accessibility standards.

You can download the tool in the following formats:

For open textbook reviews, you may wish to use the BC Open Textbook Review Criteria. This rubric contains criteria that much of the field uses in evaluating open textbooks. Specific criteria listed include the comprehensiveness of the textbook, the organization and flow, and the cultural relevance of the textbook content.

You can download the rubric in the following formats:

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) requires that institutions provide all resources in an accessible format “on demand”. There are no specific guidelines for what is accessible-- other than it must meet the need of the student requesting the accessible format. However, as educators, we a have ethical obligations to ensure that courses are fully accessible to all learners, including those with disabilities.

Unless carefully chosen with accessibility in mind, instructional resources can erect barriers that make learning difficult or impossible. Use the Accessibility Checklist, which has been aligned to accessibility standards. The Checklist will help to ensure that the resources you curate are accessible to all learners.

You can download the checklist in the following formats: