Using OERs in an open education subject: A reflection

EEL426 Adoption of Open Educational Practices was revised prior to 201890 session.   This is a 4 unit, six week subject in the Master of Leading Online, Open and Distance Education. It was paired with EEL421 Globalisation, Development and Open and Distance Learning (also revised).  Although there was a focus on higher education, students were able to adjust their learning to suit the sector in which they were working. For EEL426 to commit to its name it needed to embrace the principles of Open Learning and have Open Education Resources (OER) as key components of the subject’s design.

Required and recommended readings were taken from Open Education: International Perspectives in Higher Education (Blessinger & Bliss, 2016) as well as other sources.  Two key student learning outcomes addressed the evaluation and application of open education, as well as design and creation of an OER for use in students’ own teaching area.  Students accessed and completed the Open University course An introduction to Open Educational Resources (OER) (Open Learn, 2019) and submitted a certificate of completion.

They were also required to choose two or more sections from the University of New Hampshire course Introduction to Open Educational Resources (University of New Hampshire, n.d.) that they believed would help them to complete their own OER as part of the assessment.  The activities were supported by a scaffolded reflection and each resource was evaluated using an OER evaluation checklist of the students’ choosing.

Other tasks required were to find and evaluate an OER for use in their own situation and to create an OER for use in their own teaching using an OER platform that met the 5Rs of Open Education – revise, reuse, remix, redistribute and retain (Wiley, 2014).

Challenges and Benefits

The most challenging part for both myself and students was finding appropriate OER resources.  I have since discovered better units of work that I could have used, and students found that there were either so many resources that they spent a lot of time searching for one to meet the appropriate learning outcome(s), or none that fully met their needs or did not incorporate the 5Rs to allow changes to be made.  Time spent finding and evaluating resources was one of the biggest challenges.

The benefit for students and myself was what we found, and learning how to evaluate OER through choosing appropriate checklists, and in some cases adapting them for specific teaching situations.  The greater knowledge about the levels of Creative Commons licensing (from Creative Commons Australia) as listed below, and how to evaluate OER and places to create them was of great benefit.


Licence Terms as outlined on the Creative Commons Australia website


I was impressed with the quality of OER available and I am now trying to build up a database of suitable resources for the subject areas that I teach in, as well as my research area.


Recommended Resources

For academics wishing to explore the use of OERs further, here is a list of some of the resources I used the subject.  Most of the evaluation pages are part of an institution’s help with OER, some are copyright (which seems counter intuitive to the philosophy of Open Education) but most are Creative Commons licensed.

Open Education Resources Evaluation Rubric (CC by license)

Queensland University Library’s Open educational resources (OER) (which is copyright to QU but an excellent resource) and Evaluate open educational resources’s Achieve OER Rubrics is a portal and the pdf Rubrics for Evaluating Open Education Resource (OER) Objects provides details for creating your own rubrics and checklists under CC.

Montgomery Community College Library (this site is CC (BY 4.0)) and provides a list of links to multiple evaluation rubrics.

The University of New Hampshire’s Intro to Open Edu Resources course’s Rubrics, Checklists, and Frameworks page is also helpful.



Blessinger, P., & Bliss, T. (2016). Open Education: International Perspectives in Higher Education [CC by license]. Cambridge, UK: Open Book Publishers.

Open Learn. (2019). An introduction to open education resources (OER) [CC by license]. Milton Keynes, UK: The Open University.

Photo for blog header by Nicole Wolf on Unsplash.

University of New Hampshire. (n.d.). Introduction to Open Educational Resources (self-paced) [CC by license].   Retrieved from

Wiley, D. (2014). The Access Compromise and the 5th R [CC by license].  Retrieved from


Contributed by:

Sandra Stewart, Sessional Staff member and Subject Coordinator EEP425, EEP505, EMT503 & Subject Convenor EEP400 201930 for the School of Education

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