Students as evaluators of open educational resources

The global open education movement is thriving and growing, and as the term open educational resource (OER) reaches adolescence, critical questions are starting to emerge. Is the promise providing open access to high-quality education being delivered?

Startlingly absent from the literature is the thorough understanding of the views of OER student users, be they campus-based or open learners on the web. This paper presents the results of a mixed method survey of student attitudes to examine their awareness of OER and understanding of quality. Student volunteers additionally worked with university staff to develop an OER evaluation matrix (OEREM) to aid selection and use of resources. Student selection of OER is based on a mixture of value-based and quality-based judgments, and ease of use may simply be driving their choices. Further research is required to understand how the resulting OEREM matrix can be used to provide a more informed and critical selection, and also how such strategies can be used to assist open learners who bring a diverse range of academic abilities and personal circumstances that influence their learning.