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Learning Portal - OER Toolkit : Curating


This module includes information to help find, evaluate, adapt and share open educational resources to meet learning outcomes and objectives. The module also offers information on how to describe and organize OER to enable its discovery by future users.

Tips for Getting Started

  • Consider collaborating. With the shared aim of meeting student learning outcomes, faculty and Centre for Teaching and Learning staff can work together on constructing searches and evaluating fit of OER.
  • Conduct your searches in recognized repositories. Search recognized OER repositories and aggregated content collections to explore what already exists.
  • Become familiar with open licensing and accessibility requirements. If you are faculty, remember that the Learning Commons has staff with accessibility and open licensing expertise.
  • Determine your evaluation criteria. Criteria should incorporate learning objectives and outcomes, content quality, rigor, and even format. See the evaluation rubrics offered in this module for help.

Collaborative OER Curation

Collaborative OER Curation

Centre for Teaching and Learning staff bring specific knowledge and skills to the OER curation process, as outlined in the tabs above.

What the Learning Commons Can Do

  • Help faculty identify existing OER materials, including alternatives to textbooks

  • Use advanced search skills to find exactly what faculty need

  • Give options for ways that students can access resources

  • Advise on how to make resources more accessible

  • Advise on issues of copyright and fair dealing

  • Advise on use of Creative Commons licenses

What the Learning Commons (Likely) Cannot Do

  • Be completely knowledgeable of your subject area

  • Make the final call on the quality of a resource

  • Choose your textbook or course material

  • Interfere with your academic freedom


Text a derivative of “How Libraries can Help”, in CCCOER: Faculty and Librarians Selecting High Quality OER, by Tina Ulrich, licensed under CC BY 4.0

Video Clip: The Library’s Role in OER

This webinar discusses the four key roles that libraries play in faculty adoption of OER: Researcher, curator, educator, and content creator. It also addresses the tools that library staff use in their OER-related work.

Video (The Learning Portal Ontario, 2017) from CCCOER, CC BY 4.0

Faculty, are you ready to FREE the TEXTBOOK?

The flowchart outlines just one set of collaborative opportunities for library staff to support faculty as they seek to identify open materials for their courses.

How to Curate 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 deemed useful during evaluation can then be customized by the curator and re-shared for future users.

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


  • Search dedicated OER repositories and collections, including the eCampus Open Textbook Library

  • Build searches around keywords and material types, such as “organic chemistry textbooks," and “videos on substitution reactions”


 Adopt or Adapt:

  • Adopt the resource "as is" by downloading it, printing it, or linking to it


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.

Finding OER

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. Below is a sampling of such repositories and libraries.

    • The eCampus Open Textbook Library offers a curated collection of textbooks, many of which have been reviewed and vetted by educators across Canada.
    • In addition to the eCampus Open Textbook Library, other websites offer collections of open textbooks. Below is a sampling of these libraries, from both Canada and the U.S.

    • BCcampus Open Textbooks - Lists open textbooks in a number of subject areas, many of which are included in Ontario’s own eCampus Open Textbook Library. It also includes a directory of other open textbook sites and a guide to using open textbooks
    • OpenStax Textbooks - Provides open textbooks that are peer-reviewed by educators, and can be reused and remixed to align with general course requirements. 
    • Lyryx Learning - Offers free open textbooks combined with affordable high-quality online homework in the areas of Calculus, Linear Algebra, Business Maths, Financial Accounting (Intro and Intermediate), and Micro and Macroeconomics.
    • The NOBA Project - Ready-made textbooks that can be used as-is or customized to fit your needs.
    • The collections of aggregated OER below are some of the larger known initiatives that are utilized by educators and library staff in Canada and elsewhere. Many of them have overlapping resources, as they curate and aggregate their content from the same content providers.

    • SOL*R - Sharable Online Learning Resources is a BCcampus collection that provides guest access for browsing and downloading its Creative Commons Licensed resources.
    • Merlot II - A curated collection of free and open online teaching, learning, and faculty development services contributed and used by an international education community.
    • OER Commons -This international, extensive OER library aggregates a variety of OER across learning levels and subjects, and has an embedded authoring tool for remixing and localizing content.
    • The collections listed below offer a range of multimedia resources for use and integration into teaching and learning.

    • University of British Columbia's Aggregated List of Image Sources - Offers a comprehensive list of image collections that are either in the Public Domain or Creative Commons licensed.
    • Creative Commons Image Search - Users can search across several repositories, including YouTube, Google, SoundCloud, and more, for CC-licensed still images, music, and videos.
    • Flickr Images - Browse or search through Flickr’s images under each type of CC license.
    • Getty Institute Open Images - Searchable database of Creative Commons licensed images under Getty’s Open Content Program.
    • TED Talks - TED’s videos are all CC-licensed, unless otherwise indicated.
    • YouTube – Videos with a CC license can be found through Advanced Search options.
    • Open data may include non-textual material such as map-based data, mathematical and scientific formulae, medical data, demographic data, financial data, and so forth. The collections listed below are all freely available to use, integrate, modify and manipulate to meet local needs.

    • Open Data Canada - Government of Canada’s open data sets, covering demographic, financial, map data, and more. 
    • EU Open Data Portal - A portal housing a variety of open data across EU policy domains, including the economy, employment, science, environment and education.
    • - Comprises U.S. federal data with links to U.S. states, cities and counties with web sites that provide open data. Note that non-federal data available through may have different licensing than open licensing.


Introductory text a derivative of BCcampus Faculty OER Toolkit, by BCcampus, licensed under CC BY 4.0.

Evaluating OER

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 recommended rubrics.

Comprehensive OER Evaluation Tool

Use or adapt this OER Evaluation Tool, which 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 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 the tool in the following formats:

Open Textbook Rubric

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:

Accessibility Checklist

As educators bound by the the Alberta Human Rights Commission and the Duty to Accommodate, we have an ethical obligation 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. You can use the Accessibility Checklist below, which has been aligned to accessibility standards, to help to ensure that the resources you curate are accessible to all learners.

You can download the checklist in the following formats:

Adopting or Adapting OER

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.

BC Open Faculty OER Toolkit and Open Accessibility Toolkit

  • The Faculty OER Toolkit is a 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 content creators 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).


Pressbooks for eCampusOntario Members

Free access to a Pressbooks EDU account for anyone currently affiliated with one of our member institutions . Pressbooks is an online formatting and publishing system that makes it easy to create professional, well-formatted print and digital resources. Pressbooks is a Canadian-built, open source tool built on WordPress.


Open Author Module Builder

Module Builder is a tool that allows authors to create both student- and instructor-facing content views. Authors are encouraged to include overviews, pedagogical supporting text, and instructions for both students and other users of the resource.

Module Builder is a tool available through OER Commons and its suite of Open Author tools.


MERLOT Content Builder

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.


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