OER Toolkit – Curation

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 with Curation

Collaboration icon

Consider collaborating with others

With the shared aim of meeting student learning outcomes, educators can work together on constructing searches and evaluating fit of OER for the course needs.

Conduct your searches in recognized repositories

Search recognized OER repositories and aggregated content collections to explore what already exists. A list of commonly used OER repositories are provided within this resource.

Become familiar with open licensing and accessibility requirements

Contact your local Educational Service Unit (ESU) for more information on open licensing, copyright policy and accessibility requirements. You can also use the resources provided in the Licensing Module of the OER Toolkit.

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 or contact your ESU.

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 is a part of the curation process, content deemed useful during the evaluation process 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
  • Build searches around keywords and material types, such as “organic chemistry textbooks” or “videos on substitution reactions”


  • Assess the quality of the resource using robust evaluation rubrics
  • Assess use permissions and accessibility with tools for these needs

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

Organize & Share

  • Access online tools to help organize OER for later use and for sharing
  • Add descriptors so that others can find and use the resource, and select the appropriate license for any new or 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
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. For Nebraska educators, the first stop should be the Nebraska’s OER Commons Hub where items can be aligned to Nebraska standards or are already aligned to Nebraska standards. Other popular OER repositories that also could be considered are shown and linked below. Remember the items in the other repositories cannot be aligned to Nebraska standards.

Nebraska's OER Commons Hub

Nebraska OERNebraska OER – a customized Nebraska hub available on OER Commons – has the Nebraska Instructional Materials Collections in which resources have been vetted, curated, and aligned to Nebraska standards and indicators. In addition, Nebraska OER Hub members can build and become part of both statewide and content area groups where they can collaborate, have discussions, and create content with other Nebraska group members. To get started, educators just need to set up a free account at the OER Commons Home Page. Then they can search for the Nebraska hub from the drop down box and join the Nebraska OER Information group. To learn more about the Nebraska OER Hub, educators can attend training sessions offered around the state by the NDE, ESUCC and ESUs.

HippoCampus by NROC

HippoCampus.orgHippoCampus.org  delivers rich multimedia content — videos, animations, and simulations — on general education subjects to middle-school and high-school teachers and college professors, and their students, free of charge. Nebraska is a member of the NROC Network and receives a branded version of HippoCampus to share with staff as a teaching resource and with students as a study resource. HippoCampus is a searchable database of more than 7,000 multimedia learning objects in the NROC library, correlated to state standards. Teachers may readily link to objects in the repository from this website.  For more information go the HippoCampus Overview.


Curriki LibraryCurriki Library hosts thousands of standards-aligned lessons so you don’t have to start from scratch. Curriki offers thousands of vetted, curated lessons for educators, students and parents. Its innovative design allows for quick and efficient searches for curated courses, units, or lesson plans to save valuable planning time. Members can save any resource to their private Curriki Library for quick and easy access to those lessons at a later time.


The MERLOT systemThe MERLOT system provides access to curated online learning and support materials and content creation tools, led by an international community of educators, learners and researchers. Submit an online learning material curated or created to the MERLOT Collection. Use Content Builder to create a webpage or site to host personal learning materials. Create a course ePortfolio and build an entire course – from prerequisites to online resources to assessment.

Open Education Consortium

The Open Education Consortium (OEC)The Open Education Consortium (OEC) is a non-profit, global, members-based network of open education institutions and organizations. OEC represents its members and provides advocacy and leadership around advancement of open education globally. OEC works with its members to build capacity to find, reuse, create and share Open Educational Resources (OER), develop open policy, create sustainable open education models, and enable international collaboration and innovation. OEC annually coordinates and hosts Open Education Week, the Open Education Global conference, and Open Education Awards for Excellence. Collectively these efforts aim to bring high quality, inclusive education to all learners around the world.

OPEN Physical Education Network

OPEN PhysEdOPEN is a backward designed curriculum project that targets SHAPE America’s National Standards & Grade-Level Outcomes. OPENPhysEd.org membership is free. Membership registration allows for measuring equity impact, as well as informing members when new curriculum and instructional tools are released. Password protection keeps files safe and ready for download.

OpenStax CNX

OpenStax CNXOpenStax CNX is a dynamic non-profit digital ecosystem serving millions of users per month in the delivery of educational content to improve learning outcomes. There are tens of thousands of learning objects, called pages, that are organized into thousands of textbook-style books in a host of disciplines, all easily accessible online and downloadable to almost any device, anywhere, anytime. The best part? Everything is available for free thanks to generous support from Rice University and several philanthropic organizations.

The Orange Grove

The Orange GroveThe Orange Grove repository is Florida’s digital repository for instructional resources. The repository provides an environment for educators to search for, use, remix, share, and contribute educational resources. The repository can also be integrated with your Learning Management Systems (e.g. Canvas, Blackboard, Desire 2 Learn). Discover, contribute, and import repository resources directly from your LMS.

Teach Astronomy

Teach AstronomyTeach Astronomy is an astronomy learning tool, intended either as a supplement for classroom instruction or for informal learners wanting to know more about the subject. The major types of content can be explored with a keyword search and/or by using the visual display (called a Wikimap) to surf related items. To get started, choose a type of content from the map to the right or the tabs above.


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.

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  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.

Download the tool in the following formats:

Open Textbook Rubric

For open textbook reviews, evaluators may wish to use the 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.

Download the rubric in the following formats:

Accessibility Checklist

When creating resources it is important that institutions provide all resources in an accessible format “on demand”. 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 educators, 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 materials below to ensure that the resources you create are accessible to all learners.

You can download the checklist in the following formats:

Adopt or Adapt

An OER resource that is curated can be used “as is” or it can be revised or remixed. If changes or additions are made to a resource based on evaluation results, one option is to use the OER Commons field-tested guides and tools listed below to help in the alignment effort. Also, members of the Nebraska’s OER Commons Hub have the option to align the resources to Nebraska’s academic content standards.

Open Author

There are three free authoring tools within OER Commons called Open Author.  These tools help the author to build Open Educational Resources, lesson plans, and courses — and then publish them, to the benefit of educators and learners everywhere.


Resource Builder

This Open Author resource builder format makes it easy to combine text, pictures, sounds, files, and video, and save them as openly licensed educational resources — which can then be shared with friends, colleagues and educators from around the world. And with Open Author, it’s easy to organize, edit and publish resources that are tailored by the author. Resources can be printed and downloaded as a PDF and include all media.  The author can import Google Docs and create a new resource simply by uploading a document from the Google Drive to Open Author. Also, members of the Nebraska’s OER Commons Hub have the option to align the resources to Nebraska academic content standards.


Lesson Builder (For K -12)

The Open Author lesson builder format allows authors to create both student and teacher facing content views. Authors are encouraged to include overviews, pedagogical supporting text, and instructions for both students and other users of the resource. Lessons consists of sequenced tasks, which can incorporate a step-by-step approach to learning. Each task can have associated resources (as links) available for download. Members of the Nebraska’s OER Commons Hub have the option to align the resources to Nebraska’s academic content standards.


Module Builder (For Higher-Ed)

The Open Author module builder format 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. The Module can consist of sequenced tasks, which can incorporate a step-by-step approach to learning. Each task can have associated resources available for download. Resources created in the Module Builder can’t be aligned to Nebraska’s academic content standards since it is designed for higher ed or professional learning.


~All of these tools are available through OER Commons and its suite of Open Author tools.

Organize & Share

There are many ways to share OER. Resources can be forwarded to colleagues via email, shared within a local learning management system (LMS) or shared via online sites specifically designed to accommodate OER. Below are tools and information to help in organizing and assigning a license to OER allowing for subsequent use of OER by others, within and beyond a school district.

OER Commons

The OER Commons library offers multiple interfaces for users to select from lists of recommended descriptors, as well as to create customized taxonomies for describing and organizing OER into personal or shared collections around specific topics, subject areas, or courses.

In the Nebraska OER – Nebraska’s customized OER Commons hub – there are two primary places that have organized collections.

  • The first is the Nebraska Instructional Materials Collections which is sorted by content areas and created with the help of Nebraska teachers who have expertise in these content areas. Teachers help find, adopt, adapt, tag and align resources to Nebraska Content Standards for easy searching. As we continue to work with Nebraska teachers more of these collections are being created and existing ones will grow in content.
  • The second collection area is comprised of collections created by non-profit or professional providers of OER content. These collections have been specifically selected for inclusion to the Nebraska OER hub because of their high quality. Over time, these collections will also be vetted and aligned by Nebraska teachers and included within the Nebraska Instructional Materials Collections. In the meantime, they are are easily searchable by keyword, subject areas and content.


Although not designed uniquely for OER curation, LiveBinders allows users to create a central hub of digital resources on a topic, organized by a system of tabs. Peer and user feedback can be added to each binder through sharing and commenting features.

Licensing Considerations

When you curate coursework or collections that include OER, you’ll 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’ll also need to consider how the different licenses for each piece of content should be integrated into your final resource or collection. See the Licensing Module of the OER Toolkit for more in-depth look at open licenses.

Updated February 7, 2023 10:05am