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Open Educational Resources (OERs)

This guide exists to support the OER pilot program at the University of Calgary.

Evaluating Open Education Resources

With so many freely available resources online, choosing OER can be overwhelming. This checklist contains some suggestions for faculty when choosing resources for use in the classroom.


  • Does the information directly address one or more of the class objectives? 

Production Quality

  • Is the information clear and understandable?  
  • Is the layout and interface easy to navigate?
  • Do the design features enhance learning?
  • For multimedia resources, are the audio/video quality high? 


  • Is the resource available in alternative formats (e.g. .doc or .odf)?
  • For audio or video resources, is there a transcript or subtitles? 


  • Does the resource encourage active learning and class participation? 
  • If not, are you able to add that to the resource?
  • Are there opportunities for students to test their understanding of the material (e.g. a video with embedded questions)? 


  • Does the license allow for educational reuse of the materials? 
  • Does the license allow modifications or adaptations of the materials?
  • If so, can you modify the resource to better fit the class objectives or encourage active learning?


  • Is the information accurate?
  • Are there major content errors or omissions?
  • Are there spelling errors or typos?
  • Has the material been peer reviewed?  

Further Information

JISC. (2016). Open Educational Resources infoKit [wiki]. Retrieved from

MERLOT. (n.d.). MERLOT Faculty Development Portal: EVALUATION CRITERIA. Retrieved from

Shank, J. D. (2014). Interactive open educational resources: A guide to finding, choosing, and using what's out there to transform college teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Link to ebook (University of Calgary subscription).


This guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0) unless otherwise noted. Content adapted from work done by BC Campus, Simon Fraser University, George Washington University and more.

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