Quality of Open Educational Resources

Quality of Open Educational Resources

 by Meenu Sharma (Research Associate) (04/09/2014)

As a researcher in Open Educational Resources for Development (ROER4D) project, I have been exploring ‘Open Educational Resources’ and unfolding it to others. I have been receiving questions related to its quality. At beginning, I myself was not well aware of this area. But, after reviewing several papers in this area, I am able to respond on quality of OER that I have understood so forth.

Certainly, it is argued that quality of any learning material depends on learning outcomes. These outcomes are assessed in terms of its usage and achievement of learners. But it has been difficult to assess and define precisely what ‘Quality’ means in the framework of OER.

Initially, OER was assessed on the basis of its assigned creative common license. But, it has been realized that assigning an “open license” on any educational material can’t be the criteria of ‘quality’. Thus, consequently quality of OER is being judged further more than “open licenses”.

On the basis of review analysis, I understood that “accessibility”, “adaptability” and “availability” are the foremost criteria of OER quality. Moreover, “sharing” which gives possibility to understand varied ideas of different educators is found another strongest criterion that reflect to preeminence of OER.

A good quality of OER is also arbitrated in terms of its “relevance”, if it provides up-to-date and accurate information. Similarly, if an OER has “reusability” implication which could provide meaningful usage to needy and has “extensibility” which could enlarge opportunities for additional learning are considered other significant characteristics of OER.

If learners can’t afford the cost of the resources then quality concern doesn’t even matter at times. Therefore, “Cost-effectiveness” found another admirable quality measure of OER. It is also appraised if it could easily “reach” to large distances for many different users.

While quality as a concept is very much in the eye of the beholder, there are measures that can help understand a common meaning of quality. I think, most significant is that OER has to be ‘clear’, ‘accurate’ and ‘concise’ which could illustrate their concepts in to meaningful ways and diverse learners can take advantages of them. Moreover, it is required to convey its subject matter to all learners to whom it is targeted. After all, quality of any educational resources depends on what an instructor intends to communicate to his/her learners and also intended them to learn.