One Size Doesn't Fit All: Contrasting Approaches to Building Communities of OER Users Amongst the Language Teaching Community

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Abstract

The LLAS Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies, at the University of Southampton, UK, has led a number of projects aimed at creating and building communities of sharers and users of open educational resources (OERs). We have worked with very different groups within the language teaching community to raise awareness about OERs, encourage practical engagement with OERs, and foster good practice in the use and re-use of open content. All of our projects sustain continuing community activity. We have found that a 'one size fits all' approach is often offered by institutions to those wishing to engage with open practice, but that it is unlikely to be as effective as a more direct, personalised approach. Through an analysis of the needs and challenges of different groups of language teachers we have worked with, we will show that a flexible approach, which takes into consideration existing practice and indicates how OERs relate to this, ensures a greater chance of OER uptake and use, and increases the likelihood of open practice sustaining in the longer term.

Keywords: open educational resources, language teaching, professional development, technology.

References

Atkins, D., Brown, J. S., & Hammond, A. L. (2007). A Review of the Open Educational Resources (OER) Movement: Achievements, Challenges, and New Opportunities. Report for the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Retrieved from http://www.hewlett.org/programs/education-program/open-educational-resources

Borthwick, K., & Dickens, A. (2011). The Community Cafe project: final report. JISC. Retrieved from http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/192825

Borthwick, K. (2012). What HumBox did next: real stories of OERs in action from users of a teaching and learning repository for the humanities. In Proceedings of OpenCourseWare Consortium Global 2012: Celebrating 10 Years of OpenCourseWare. Cambridge, MA.

Comas-Quinn, A., Beaven, T., Pleines, C,. Pulker, H., & Delos Arcos, B. (2011). Languages Open Resources Online (LORO) – Fostering a culture of collaboration and sharing. The EuroCALL review, 18, 2-14. Retrieved from http://www.eurocall-languages.org/review/18/index.html#loro

Darby, J. (2012). Engaging institutions: changing the OER culture in your institution. A presentation given at OER in Languages, 1st June, 2012, University of Central Lancashire, UK.

Dickens, A., Borthwick, K., Richardson, S., Lavender, L., Mossley, D., Gawthrope, J., & Lucas, B. (2010). HumBox final report. JISC. Retrieved from http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/192913

JISC. (2012). Open Educational Resources Programme. Retrieved from http://www.jisc.ac.uk/oer

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Borthwick, Kate; Dickens, Alison. (2012). One Size Doesn't Fit All: Contrasting Approaches to Building Communities of OER Users Amongst the Language Teaching Community. In Linda Bradley, Sylvie Thouësny (Eds), CALL: Using, Learning, Knowing, EUROCALL Conference, Gothenburg, Sweden, 22-25 August 2012, Proceedings (pp. 26-31). Research-publishing.net. https://doi.org/10.14705/rpnet.2012.000021

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