Finding Free and Open Resources: Module 7

Evaluating Resources

Adopting, modifying, or creating an open textbook for your course is a big decision, requiring you to evaluate new resources often on your own. Because of this, Affordable Learning Georgia has created a list of criteria for evaluating OER. You can also download the list as a modifiable .doc using this link.

When you begin evaluating open textbooks, use the following criteria:

  • Clarity, Comprehensibility, and Readability
    • Is the content, including any instructions, exercises, or supplemental material, clear and comprehensible to students?
    • Is the content well-categorized in terms of logic, sequencing, and flow?
    • Is the content consistent with its language and key terms?
  • Content Accuracy and Technical Accuracy
    • Is the content accurate based on both your expert knowledge and through external sources?
    • Are there any factual, grammatical, or typographical errors?
    • Is the interface easy to navigate? Are there broken links or obsolete formats?
  • Adaptability and Modularity
    • Is the resource in a file format which allows for adaptations, modifications, rearrangements, and updates?
    • Is the resource easily divided into modules, or sections, which can then be used or rearranged out of their original order?
    • Is the content licensed in a way which allows for adaptations and modifications?
  • Appropriateness
    • Is the content presented at a reading level appropriate for higher education students?
    • How is the content useful for instructors or students?
    • Is the content itself appropriate for higher education?
  • Accessibility
    • Is the content accessible to students with disabilities through the compatibility of third-party reading applications?
    • If you are using Web resources, does each image have alternate text that can be read?
    • Do videos have accurate closed-captioning?
    • Are students able to access the materials in a quick, non-restrictive manner?
    • See our Accessibility page for more details.
  • Supplementary Resources
    • Does the OER contain any supplementary materials, such as homework resources, study guides, tutorials, or assessments?
    • Have you reviewed these supplementary resources in the same manner as the original OER?


1. Not all criteria apply equally within each academic discipline. Why would certain criteria be more heavily weighted for a Nursing professor in comparison to a Mathematics professor?

2. If you found a few OER that you wanted to use in your course, but you wanted a second or third opinion on them before implementing them in the classroom, who could you ask? What kinds of support do you have at your institution for resource evaluation?

Return to Module 1