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OER Toolkit

Curating OER

Overview of OER Curation

More than merely collecting content on a specific subject, strong curation involves carefully selecting content and evaluating it for a specific purpose. When OER are part of the curation process, content you deem useful during the evaluation process can then be customised and re-shared for future users.

Below is a high level overview of the processes and steps involved in curating OER.





Adopt or Adapt

  • Adopt the resource "as is" by downloading it, printing it, or linking to it.
  • If needed, adapt or remix the resource using OER authoring tools such as Western Open Textbook Initiative, or seek support from library staff

Organise & Share

  • Publish your OER for later use and for sharing, for example, linking to or hosted OER Library Deposit (Word download).
  • Add descriptors so that others can find and use the resource, and select the appropriate licence for any new/adapted resources


Introductory text is a derivative of Content Curation: Finding the Needles in the Haystacks, by Christopher Lister, Roaming Educator, licensed under CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 International. Processes for Curating OER by ISKME, licensed under CC-BY 4.0.


There are a multitude of OER out there to choose from, including open textbooks, courses, multimedia resources, and data. These can be found by searching regular search engines (like Google), but it is much easier to find them through dedicated OER repositories or libraries. Start by searching the OER (Open Educational Resources) libguide and Pressbooks Directory. Also consider using seminal works for your discipline, or browsing DRM-free resources.

Use this OER Development Worksheet (Word download) to help determine the OER required for educational purposes.


Like other resources used in your teaching, OER will need to be evaluated to ensure they are suitable to use. Aspects you may need to consider could include:

  • Suitability: Does it align with course or program learning outcomes?
  • Licensing: Is the OER licensed for educational reuse, revision, remix or redistribution?
  • Quality: Who is the creator? Are they reputable? Is the content accurate and up-to-date?
  • Ease of use: Is the OER easy to use, accessible and available in alternative formats to assist a wide variety of learning styles?

The best OER evaluation rubrics include traditional evaluative criteria that address a resource’s editorial quality. They also include criteria that address resource portability, and resource effectiveness in engaging learners. Below is a sampling of rubrics that are recommended for use in evaluating OER.

Use or adapt either of the following OER Evaluation Tools.

1) The OER Evaluation Checklist (Word download) is a simple evaluation checklist you can use to quickly decide whether the OER is appropriate for your purposes. OER will need to be referenced like any other source of information. It was originally created by the University of Queensland Library licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0.

2) The Comprehensive OER Evaluation Tool was originally created by Achieve, Inc. Achieve is a US-based education nonprofit, and a leader in the development of OER evaluation rubrics. The tool has been tailored for the OCLS post-secondary context. It is comprised of eight rubrics for assessing OER—ranging from how well the resource is aligned to learning outcomes, to the degree to which the resource meets local accessibility standards.

You can download this tool in the following formats:

For open textbook reviews, you may wish to use the BC Open Textbook Review Criteria. This rubric contains criteria that much of the field uses in evaluating open textbooks. Specific criteria listed include the comprehensiveness of the textbook, the organization and flow, and the cultural relevance of the textbook content.

You can download the rubric in the following formats:

Western Sydney University strongly supports the aims and provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act (1992) and Disability Discrimination Act Education Standards (2005). Our latest Accessibility Action Plan 2018-2020 articulates the active measures the University will take to prevent disability discrimination across the institution and the Greater Western Sydney region.

The University’s Disability Policy states our commitment to provide reasonable adjustments wherever possible to students and staff to accommodate disability-related needs. There are no specific guidelines for what is accessible—other than it must meet the need of the student requesting the accessible format. However, as instructors we a have ethical obligations to ensure that courses are fully accessible to all learners, including those with disabilities.

Unless carefully chosen with accessibility in mind, instructional resources can erect barriers that make learning difficult or impossible. Use the Accessibility Checklist, which has been aligned to accessibility standards. The Checklist will help to ensure that the resources you curate are accessible to all learners.

You can download the checklist in the following formats:

Web Accessibility Guidelines


  • EQuIP Initiative | Achieve: EQuIP (Educators Evaluating the Quality of Instructional Products) is an initiative designed to identify high-quality materials aligned to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) or Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

You will need to use the same criteria you use to evaluate all your course materials to ensure the suitability of OER for use in your courses. There are also a few additional criteria to think about when selecting OER. 3 things you may want to consider are: 

  • Quality
  • Accessibility
  • Copyright

Evaluating OER

Attribution: Adaptation of the Open Education Resources - Evaluate OERs NSU Florida which is licensed under CC BY 4.0.

Adopt or Adapt

If you identify changes or additions you want to make to your resource based on your evaluation results, you can use the field-tested guides and tools below to help you in your alignment effort.

PressbooksEDU is enterprise-level hosting of Pressbook's authoring and editing platform that enables authors to clone, revise, remix, and redistribute open licensed educational material in accordance with the creator's chosen open license, enrich the content, build interactive elements using H5P technology, and make the content available in various formats including EPUB, PDF, XTML, ODT and more via the Pressbooks Directory. The University uses the Pressbooks open academic publishing platform as its OER authoring and editing platform for the authoring of educational textbooks and coursework.

  • Faculty OER Toolkit is guide to adapting and adopting Open Educational Resources. Included are definitions and examples, information about Creative Commons licensing, and tips on how to adapt and/or adopt OER for classroom use.
  • The BC Open Accessibility Toolkit offers resources and guidelines to support you in creating truly open and accessible textbooks. The BC Open Accessibility Toolkit is a collaboration between BCcampus and the Centre for Accessible Post-secondary Education Resources BC (CAPER-BC).

MERLOT’s Content Builder provides templates for creating tailored websites with a variety of designs, including e-portfolio structures, lesson plans, online courses, and others.

License for Sharing

There are many ways to share OER. You may want to forward your OER to colleagues via email, or share it within your local learning management system. Below are tools and information to help you assigning a licence to your OER to enable subsequent use of your OER by others, within and beyond your college.

The Library provides an open repository for your OER content. Upon submitting your OER for Library Deposit (Word download), the Library will catalogue and index your content to make it discoverable in Google, Google Scholar and Trove. You can also link directly to the content in the repository via the Library catalogue.

When you curate coursework or collections that include OER, you will need to consider how those resources may be used by others based on the copyright permissions that are allowed. If you are curating a resource or collection with content from various sources, you will also need to consider how the different licences for each piece of content should be integrated into your final resource or collection.

Watch this short video clip on Combining Open Licences to help guide you through these considerations. You can also download the Combining Creative Commons Licenses for OERs video transcript (RTF download).

© Western Sydney University, unless otherwise attributed.
Library guide created by Western Sydney University Library staff is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY)