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Open Educational Resources

News and information for UMGC Faculty on using OERs in the online classroom.

UMGC OER Quality Guide Q&A

UMGC OER Quality Guide Q&A

What is the purpose of the guide?

The UMGC OER Quality Guide is a tool to help you learn what to look for when selecting OERs to support student learning, and to streamline your selection of OERs. The hope is that with this tool, you will be able to evaluate most resources in just a few minutes. 

Ultimately, you might move away from the guide altogether. You will develop a sense of the characteristics to watch out for—good and bad—so you can select the most effective and appropriate resources for your course with or without the guide. Of course, you can always come back to it if you have questions, or if you just want a refresher.

What is the minimum score that allows me to use the resource in my course?

This is not a quantitative tool—there is no “pass/fail” threshold and no scoring mechanism. Of the criteria included here, DR compliance is a must. ADA compliance is also required; the difference is primarily the mechanisms through which compliance is achieved. Open licenses that allow for modification of content offer the user the opportunity to bring noncompliant content into compliance. Every other criterion in the guide is for your consideration in assessing the quality and usefulness of a resource as a whole.

How do I begin?

Check the OER’s licensing status first. If the item appears to be openly licensed (or its status is unclear), evaluate the resource against the remaining criteria.

Am I supposed to know whether a resource is openly licensed? 

Digital rights standards may vary by institution. UMGC users can consult the Office of Legal Affairs for detailed guidance in this area. Non-UMGC users should consult the appropriate body within their own institution.

Am I supposed to know whether a resource is ADA compliant? 

Accessibility standards may vary by institution. UMGC users can contact with specific questions. Non-UMGC users should consult the appropriate body within their own institution for detailed guidance in this area. 

What do you mean by targeted? Do I have to use each resource in its entirety?

A targeted resource serves the purpose without extraneous content. You do not have to use a resource in its entirety: You can use individual pages, sections, paragraphs, even sentences or definitions to ensure content is laser-focused on the learning outcome. In fact, we strongly encourage that type of “chunking” approach. 

What industry standards and accreditation requirements will I need to consider?

This criterion applies to only a handful of resources. If a course or program outcome relates to some type of certification or licensing, the resource you are reviewing should align with the standards of the credentialing organization.






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