Reviewers Needed

Reviewers Needed

Photo credit: “Group” by Pixabay user Geralt, Public Domain

Almost a year ago, COERLL launched the Language OER Network, a website that features teachers, students, and staff who are using, creating, and promoting OER. Featured educators receive a badge and are listed on the website under different categories of work: OER Teacher, OER Creator, OER Reviewer, and OER Ambassador. The lists of featured people are growing in every category except one: OER Reviewer.

We encourage teachers to review the free materials they access online, especially if those materials are open educational resources (OER). (We define OER here as any material for teaching and learning that has an open license.) Since OER are self-published, people who use them don’t always know how or if they were reviewed. There is not always a guarantee OER will be high quality.

Many authors of open materials take great care in having their materials vetted: they may work on teams, ask colleagues to proofread, go through a formal review process, or test the materials many times with students before publication. However, not everyone has the time or resources to go through this process. This is where peers can be very helpful in reviewing each others’ content after it has been published.

OER repositories like MERLOT and OER Commons, or even other platforms for sharing copyrighted materials like Teachers Pay Teachers, offer ways to review materials. Often, a user can give a star rating and write a comment. Other platforms have a more involved and formal peer review process. For example, the Open Textbook Library at the University of Minnesota has faculty review open textbooks based on a specified set of criteria, resulting in a comprehensive, multi-paragraph review.

We recommend that rather than simply rating an OER with a number of stars and giving a generic response like “great activity”, teachers write a little bit about how they used the materials, how the students reacted, and what specific features worked or did not work.

Reviews help add legitimacy to materials posted online, where anyone with an internet connection can publish something. A review can:

  • help teachers sift through a mountain of content to find what is high quality
  • provide useful feedback to content authors
  • offer a forum for teachers to express gratitude to their colleagues for sharing their work
  • ideally, encourage teachers to talk to each other about ideas for teaching and to participate in a community.

If you have used open Creative Commons licensed materials in your teaching (including COERLL’s materials), please consider reviewing them. You can do so in a repository like MERLOT or OER Commons (see links to those and other repositories here), or in another public forum, like a blog. Then let us know, and we will give you a digital badge!

A New Grant and New Projects for COERLL

A New Grant and New Projects for COERLL

COERLL is thankful to have received the Title VI language resource center grant for 2018-2022, which means we have a lot of new projects in the works. You can read a summary below, or learn more on the Projects page of our website, which has more details about the projects and who is leading them. … [Continue reading...]

From MSA to CA: A Beginner’s Guide for Transitioning into Colloquial Arabic

From MSA to CA: A Beginner’s Guide for Transitioning into Colloquial Arabic

Editors note: This is a guest blog post by Lina Gomaa, Arabic Instructor in the Department of World Languages and Literatures at Portland State University, about the Creative Commons-licensed textbook she wrote, From MSA to CA: A Beginner's Guide for Transitioning into Colloquial Arabic.  At … [Continue reading...]

Inclusive Pedagogy and the Language-Learning Classroom

Inclusive Pedagogy and the Language-Learning Classroom

Editor's Note: The following is a guest post from Sarah Le Pichon, an Assistant French Instructor at the University of Texas at Austin, on the topic of inclusive pedagogies. Students, administrators, and faculty here at UT are developing inclusive policies and practices. If your institution is … [Continue reading...]

Working with Students to Create a Textbook

Working with Students to Create a Textbook

Editor's Note: Guest blogger Julie Ward edited an anthology of Hispanic literature with her students, elevating the role that the students played in the class, and proving that the pedagogical affordances of openness are just as important as the low costs most often associated with openness. I … [Continue reading...]

The Spanish Language and its Cultures in Perspective

The Spanish Language and its Cultures in Perspective

Photo credit: Sonia Balasch From the Editor: This is a guest post about a new set of openly licensed activities “The Spanish Language and its Cultures in Perspective”, by Sonia Balasch (Eastern Mennonite University), Alexia D. Vikis, Lisa M. Rabin, and Colleen A. Sweet (George Mason … [Continue reading...]