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 curating

Collaboration icon

Consider Collaborating with Others

With the shared aim of meeting student learning outcomes, educators and library staff 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.

If you are looking for assitance with this, remember that most librarian and special education departments have staff with accessibility (AODA) expertise and open licensing expertise. You can also use the resources provided on this page.

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 create your own amongst your staff.

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 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, including the eCampus Open Textbook Library
  • Build searches around keywords and material types, such as “organic chemistry textbooks,” and “videos on substitution reactions


  • Assess quality of the resource using robust evaluation rubrics
  • Use tools to assess use permissions and accessibility

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 that can help you organize your OER for later use and for sharing
  • 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. For Nebraska Educators the first stop should be the Nebraska OER Commons Hub where items can be aligned to Nebraska Standards or are already aligned to Nebraska standards. Other popular OER repositories that could also be considered are shown and linked below. Remember the items in the other repositories cannot be aligned to Nebraska standards.

Nebraska OER Commons

The Nebraska OER Commons Hub has Nebraska Instructional Materials Collections in which all of the resources have been vetted, curated, and aligned to Nebraska Standards and Indicators. In addition Nebraska 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 dropdown 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 ESU’s.


 The Curriki 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 Knovation Content Collection is the foundation of our solutions–hundreds of thousands of professionally-evaluated, standards-aligned, engaging, free online resources covering all subject areas, all grade levels, and all learning resource types—ready to be used.  Knovation brings trust, order and context to a wealth of free online resources so you can easily find what you need, when you need it. The Knovation Content Collection is continuously updated and maintained to deliver the best teacher-selected, standards-aligned learning content.


The 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 you’ve found or created to the MERLOT Collection. Use Content Builder to create a webpage or site to host your own learning materials. Create a course ePortfolio and build your entire course – from prerequisites to online resources to assessment.

OpenEd/ACT Academy

ACT Academy is the go-to place to get personalized practice. We want you to be able to get the best resources, no matter what subject or publisher. One publisher might cover math really well, while another is better at teaching science. It’s important that concepts are presented to you in a variety of ways, not just one type of video. Today you might listen to a rap song, tomorrow you might be playing a game on the same topic! Sit back, relax, and let us automatically pick the exact resources you need to help you learn what you need to know.

Open Education Consortium

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 is a backward designed curriculum project that targets SHAPE America’s National Standards & Grade-Level Outcomes. OPENPhysEd.org membership is free. Your membership registration allows us to measure our equity impact, as well as keep you informed when we release new curriculum and instructional tools. Password protection allows us to keep our files safe and ready for you to download.

OpenStax CNX

OpenStax 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 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 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.

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


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 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 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

The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) requires 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 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:

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.

Open Authoring

There are 3 free authoring tools within the OER Commons. In addition, Google Documents can be directly imported into the 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 also a snap to organize, edit and publish resources that are tailored to you and your classroom. You can print and download your resources as a PDF, as well as download all included media. No more struggles to find and consolidate various types of information and resources. No more visits to multiple pages or screens to build the resources you need. Import Google Docs and create a new resource simply by uploading a Google Doc from your Drive to Open Author.


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.


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

~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. You may want to forward your OER to colleagues via email, or share it within your local learning management system (LMS). Below are tools and information to help you in describing, organizing, and assigning a license to your OER to enable subsequent use of your OER by others, within and beyond your 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 Commons there are 2 primary places that have collections. The first is the Nebraska Instructional Materials Collections which are sorted by content areas and created with the help of Nebraska teachers of these content areas. Teacher will find these materials are aligned to Nebraska Content Standards for easy searching. As we continue to work with Nebraska teachers more of these collections are being created. 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 Commons 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.


LibGuides are a useful tool that many libraries and school districts already subscribe to and that teaching & library staff could use for organizing OER by discipline, subject or topics, and for specific courses when collaborating with faculty.

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.

Watch this short video clip on Combining Open Licences to help guide you through these considerations. You can also download the Combining Open Licenses video transcript.

Updated May 22, 2019 4:21pm