Skip to Main Content

Faculty Guide: OER & Open Textbooks

A faculty guide for accessing and adopting open educational resources and textbooks

How do I evaluate open textbooks?

As faculty, you are the subject matter experts for your course. However, below are some criteria and questions you may consider when selecting an open textbook. 


Evaluation Checklist

Here are some criteria to consider when you are selecting an open textbook.

  • Peer Review available 
  • Reputation of author/ institution is transparent
  • Pedagogical methods are sound 
  • Content is accurate
  • Sources are identified and cited
  • Alignment with learning outcomes or course objectives 
  • Appropriate reading level  (see

  • Technical quality (clear visuals, high production value)
  • Clear licensing declaration (Creative Commons License present, in the Public Domain, etc.)


List adapted with permission from "Open Textbooks, OER & Other Open or Free Resources for Faculty" by Kirkwood Community College.


Additional Considerations

Does this OER cover the content you'd like your students to learn in this course or module?

How accessible is this content? Will it be accessible for your students, or is it too technical? Or is it robust and challenging enough for your students?

How can you use the content? Verify the license that the resource is under. Can you remix or revise the OER as long as it isn't for commercial purposes? Who do you have to recognize if you use it? Will you be able to do so? For more help with this, please contact the library.

Once you determine how you can use the OER, what would you like to do with it? Does only a portion of it apply to your class? Would you possibly want to combine this OER with another OER or resource? Does the library have access to articles that could act as supplemental readings? 


"Evaluate OER" by University of Illinois Library is licensed under CC BY 2.0