Open Educational Resources (OER)

A guide for faculty to identify, evaluate, and implement Open Educational Resources (OER) in UMA courses

How to Evaluate and Use OER sources

Things to Consider with Regard to Using OERs for Instruction


Checklist with pencil and cogwheelThe following checklists of criteria may be helpful as you evaluate OERs:




Open educational resources (OERs) are free digitized materials offered to educators, students, and self-learners through an open license that allows users to copy, use, adapt, and redistribute for educational and research purposes. 

It is important to pay attention to the type of copyright assigned to an OER by its author and to use the OER in strict accordance to its stipulations. In order to facilitate their use, modification, and distribution, many OERs have flexible copyright licenses from organizations such as Creative Commons; these licenses provide varying amounts of protection, ranging from “all rights reserved” (full copyright) to “no rights reserved” (public domain). 

For more information, please see our Copyright Tips.
OERs and Student Success
Research shows that OERs are as effective and of the same quality as textbooks in terms of student engagement and performance (Hilton, 2016). In addition, faculty members have found quality OERs more effective in supporting diverse learner needs and promoting an inclusive learning environment, in part through the ability of faculty and others to customize course content and improve alignment to learning outcomes.

OER use also plays a role in removing barriers to student success. Educational institutions use OERs as one way to address the needs of low-income and underserved students, who are at a disadvantage with peers who can afford textbooks more easily. OER use is seen as an effective way to ensure that all students, regardless of economic status, have the resources they need to succeed.

Adapted from: University of Maryland University College. (2018). Open educational resources: Considerations for using OERs. Retrieved from