Are open textbooks and other OER the same quality as publisher resources?

Answer

The quality of open textbooks and other OER depends on the specific resource, as OER are not a singular resource. Like publisher textbooks, the depth and quality of the openly-licensed content can vary. 
 
In general, OER are considered high-quality resources. A study from 2014 found that most faculty using OER consider open resources to be equivalent to, or even better than, products produced by traditional publishers (Babson Survey Research Group). 
 
Additionally, OER are generally updated more frequently than traditionally published resources. Since openly-licensed resources can be adapted and redistributed, they do not rely on a single creator to continually update the resource. For example, OpenStax textbooks are high quality, peer-reviewed textbooks that are frequently updated and revised. 
 
To evaluate the quality of an OER, we recommend BC Campus’ Faculty Guide for Evaluating OER checklist.
 
When selecting resources for your course: 
  • Use your course learning outcomes to guide your OER search; ask yourself “what resources will help my students achieve the outcomes?” 
  • Look for openly licensed assessments to save time.
For more information about evaluating OER, please see our OER Guide: Evaluate and Use OER
  • Last Updated Apr 14, 2021
  • Views 8
  • Answered By RDP Library

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