There are a variety of resources available to help instructors who want to use OERs in their classrooms.
Because OERs may vary in quality, it is important for instructors to carefully evaluate them before using them in their classroom. Criteria to consider may include the following:
Many OER repositories undertake peer review of sources before including them. Therefore, when you use OERs from these repositories, you can feel confident that they meet the evaluation criteria listed on this page. However, you still want to evaluate whether or not they will be suitable for your course and your students. These tools will help you:
Once you've incorporated OER into your courses, you'll want to evaluate their effectiveness. There is no single method of evaluating OER quality or its effectiveness in the learning activities involving it.
Learning Outcomes: For many educators, the most important thing to measure is the learning outcomes. This part of evaluation is routine, since you are already evaluating learners on what they have learned. Although learners failing to acquire the knowledge and information does not mean the OER is faulty, it does raise questions about its effectiveness.
Learner Reaction: Another metric for evaluation is learner reaction. In addition to finding out whether or not learners liked the OER, find out the "whys" behind their preferences. Although the composition of classrooms change over time, you should start to see patterns in the preferences of students. This evaluation can take the form of a paper survey, in-class discussion or focus groups. Which method you chose will depend on the time you are able to devote to evaluation.
Return on Investment: The third metric is a difficult one to measure, but it is what is often called "return on investment (ROI)." The concept of return on investment essentially asks "Was it worth the investment?" In order for measurement to be fully accurate, you need to take into consideration the time taken at each part of the OER life cycle. This metric is largely subjective, as only you can measure how much your time is worth. You'll probably find that your first OER will take more time than you originally thought. It is not uncommon to have technological issues during the first implementation. This should not discourage you from future OER production and use; as you develop new skills and refine others the amount of time needed will be reduced. You should also consider how much time it would have taken you to build the OER from scratch in relation to the other costs of proprietary solutions.