ED MAP: Insights Blog

Discovery: How Do You Know You Have Quality OER?
By Mark Christensen

Discover OER blog graphic

Eureka! You have discovered what everyone has been talking about: Open Educational Resources (OER). And you’re excited to offer students an affordable course materials option and ensure they have what they need on or before the start of class. It’s going to be a great move from the old textbook paradigm. You’re ready to go.

But before you take the next step, do you know how to find high-quality OER? The quality open digital content that will support your institution’s mission to offer a better learning experience, empower your students, and ultimately lead to degree completion?

To find out, I checked in with one of Ed Map’s resident OER experts, Heidi Wilhelm. She manages CURATE by Ed Map™, our consultative course materials service. Heidi has insights on identifying your content goals within OER permissions, rallying stakeholders to your vision, and of course, she knows well-respected sites to find quality OER.

Take a few minutes to watch the video below. Learn from Heidi as she shares a few tips to consider as you set out to integrate OER content into your institution.



The desire to incorporate open educational resources (OER) into course content is becoming more and more popular. The benefits are quite compelling. Offering students up-to-date course materials and enhancing the learning experience are just a couple of reasons why institutions are making the switch.

The flexibility of OER content, combined with its mapping to competencies, allows institutions to better manage content and pass lower prices to students. Just like Jeremy Anderson, Deputy Chief of Academic and Administrative Technology at The American Women’s College at Bay Path University, discovered. Jeremy explains,

“Using OER allows us to quickly change out under-performing content. Another step will be to track the costs of delivering OER courses as compared with courses that were built upon proprietary textbooks. We are confident that the more courses we can build with the OER curated by Ed Map, the more we can pass savings on to our students.” Read the full story here.

So, like Jeremy, you too have decided to pivot toward a 21st-century content strategy. Decided that tapping into journal articles, images, videos and podcasts, and other OER materials found in various digital media collections was the right move to support your institution’s mission.

But before you can see the benefits of OER take shape, you’ll need to make sure the OER content you curate is high-quality. Here are a few tips to remember.

Define your goals. Explore the role OER can play in your program and course development while making sure you understand any copyright restrictions. To help educators, OER’s 5R permissions can be a useful guide.

Use well-respected sites. There are many websites to explore with resources covering a wide variety of topics and learning modalities. A few of our favorites are Merlot, OpenStax, and Khan Academy.

Involve your stakeholders. Make sure to include your internal and external stakeholders in the process. You’ll want content experts to review the OER to make sure the content is appropriate for the course and aligns with the learning outcomes. These experts could be members of your faculty, library staff, or even an outside consultant like the CURATE by Ed Map™ team members specializing in OER course material curation.

Still interested in bringing OER content to your institution? Need help powering up your team to take the next step? Looking for a quick and simple way to demonstrate the benefits of OER to your institution’s administration? Then be sure to get more info on Ed Map’s OER Booster Kit today!

Mark Christensen

Mark Christensen
Senior Director of Marketing

Mark Christensen has worked in K–12 and higher education in various roles throughout his career from teacher to administrator to ed-tech marketing communications. He currently works with Ed Map, helping institutions navigate today’s dynamic and changing content landscape. He holds his MBA in Marketing from Rivier University and his Ed.D. in Curriculum & Technology from Plymouth State University/Argosy.

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