Evaluating Open Educational Resources

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How to Evaluate Open Educational Resources

OERs may vary in quality. It is important for instructors to carefully evaluate them before using them in their classroom.  Although there is not yet a standard checklist that’s been developed for this purpose, see some ideas for evaluation below.

Pay attention to

  • The license of an OER;​
  • Formats of OER;​
  • Authors and Institutional Affiliation;​
  • Type of material;​
  • Date of revision;​
  • Accessibility statement;​
  • Reviews.​

Aspects of OER to Evaluate

  • Alignment to course objectives​
  • Explanation of subject matter​
  • Ease of use for instruction (for both students and faculty)​
  • Quality of assessment (included with OER and instructor-made)​
  • Technological interactivity of a resource​
  • Quality of Practice Exercises​
  • Opportunities for deeper learning (collaboration, abstract reasoning, effective communication, critique, real world applications, etc.)​


Instructors planning to use OERs in their courses should also keep in mind that the OERs should comply with provincial accessibility requirements.  

  • Relevance
  • Accuracy
  • Production Quality
  • Accessibility
  • Interactivity
  • Licensing


Ontario has adopted the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (also known as the AODA) that requires organizations to use accessible practices to better meet the needs of people with disabilities.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, often referred to as WCAG, are international guidelines created with the aim of providing common web accessibility standards worldwide. These guidelines apply to all web content, whatever the sector. To ensure that an appropriate level of web accessibility has been achieved, the AODA requires all organizations to comply with and respect the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0, Level AA.

Colour Contrast checker​ by WebAIM Services.

The WebAIM strategy is to expand the potential of the web for people with disabilities by empowering individuals and organizations to create accessible content.

WAVE web accessibility evaluation tool

WAVE can identify many accessibility and Web Content Accessibility Guideline (WCAG) errors, but also facilitates human evaluation of web content.

WCAG 2 checklist

It is a checklist that presents the recommendations for implementing the most common accessibility principles and techniques for those seeking WCAG conformance[1]:

  • Perceivable: Web content is made available to the senses - sight, hearing, and/or touch
  • Operable: Interface forms, controls, and navigation are operable
  • Understandable: Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable.
  • Robust: Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.