Looking Back on Four Years of COERLL Projects

Looking Back on Four Years of COERLL Projects

COERLL’s 2014-2018 Title VI national foreign language resource center federal grant, and the projects funded by the grant, will soon be coming to an end.

COERLL and the project teams have learned a lot during this grant about the potential and the challenges of open educational resources. Each project had slightly different goals and a different way of reaching those goals. For every idea you see implemented in these materials, there is another great idea that we just didn’t have time for… but we hope to work on more of these in the future. And perhaps our reflections on these projects can provide some guidance or inspiration for those of you who may be considering creating your own open educational resources.

You can read about each of our projects by clicking the links below. Each of the projects was managed by faculty, created through faculty and graduate student labor, and supported by technical, graphic design, pedagogical, and administrative assistance from COERLL and other centers at the University of Texas at Austin.

Thank you to all of the project teams! It has been wonderful working with you and we are proud to help share your work.

Happy Open Education Week 2018!

Happy Open Education Week 2018!

Open Education Week is a celebration of the global Open Education Movement. Its goal is to raise awareness about the movement and its impact on teaching and learning worldwide. Join us March 5-9, 2018!

Language OER Network Launch

Here at COERLL, we’re excited to launch a new network for promoting open projects in language education. The goal of the Language OER Network (LOERN) is to showcase the work of open educators in the field of language learning and teaching. If you are a language educator or student who uses, creates, or promotes open educational resources (OER), COERLL would like to recognize your innovations by listing your name on the LOERN page and by sending you a COERLL badge.

Teachers and students are featured as an OER Teacher, OER Master Teacher, OER Creator, OER Master Creator, OER Ambassador, OER Reviewer, or some combination of those roles.

Please also follow us on Facebook and Twitter to hear from OER Master Creators and Master Teachers about how they have integrated openness into their curricula.

Stories From Open Educators

We’ll also be publishing blog posts here on this blog from language faculty at the University of Texas who have created open educational resources.

OER for a Common Goal – Meeting the Needs of Spanish Heritage Learners by Jocelly Meiners
Creating an OER for Turkish-language learning has made sharing my ideas possible! by Jeannette Okur
Open Access at the Core of Materials Development for LCTLs by Orlando Kelm

Open Education Worldwide

Other organizations around the world are celebrating Open Ed Week too. Learn more about the movement and the events and materials available at openeducationweek.org/.

A Program for Professional Growth Based on Collaboration

A Program for Professional Growth Based on Collaboration

Over the past three years, COERLL has been working on several projects that require participation from language instructors; a new realm for a language center accustomed to making language learning materials with small teams of faculty and graduate students.

In order to jumpstart these participatory projects, we started a “COERLL Collaborators” program to mentor teachers and give visibility (and some funding) to their work, while spreading the use of open licenses and starting a network for our projects. Participants in the COERLL Collaborators program have helped COERLL tremendously over the past year or so, by testing and providing insights into our projects.

We piloted COERLL Collaborators for FLLITE (Foreign Languages and the Literary in the Everyday), a project with CERCLL (Center for Educational Resources in Culture Language and Literacy) in which teachers write multiliteracies lessons around an authentic resource, receive peer review feedback, and have their lesson published on fllite.org. The FLLITE team chose three graduate students to go through this process, based on lesson proposals they submitted.

These lessons are now published on the project website for anyone to use, and exemplify how a teacher can transform their interests into a completely original lesson.

  • Natasha César-Suárez photographed an image from Spain’s 15-M movement and turned it into a lesson on language in social movements.
  • Marcelo Fuentes developed an image of a letter to God found in a Chilean church into a cultural lesson and letter writing activity.
  • Carol Ready used a poem by Pablo Neruda to teach students about the impact of commercial food production on Latin America through the study of descriptive language.

For our digital badging partnership with Austin Independent School District, which awards teachers digital badges for professional development based on the TELL (Teacher Effectiveness for Language Learning) Framework, we chose three more Collaborators. The three teachers agreed to attend professional development and personal mentorship sessions organized by Thymai Dong, AISD’s World Languages Coordinator, and to earn digital badges related to the topics of the sessions.

Unfortunately administrative changes stopped us from seeing this process through to the end, but the COERLL Collaborators still received some mentorship and challenged themselves to take risks and reflect on their teaching.

  • Rachel Preston developed her own professional growth plan based on a self-assessment of her teaching, which led to an increase in her students’ self-assessment, reflection and goal-setting.
  • Tania Shebaro got motivated at a workshop to scrap her lesson plans for the next day and rewrite everything, leading to engaging and participatory class sessions.
  • Janeth Medrano attended every professional development event possible to get new resources and tools she could adapt for her students.

Thank you to all six of our Collaborators – they have taught us, in addition to teaching their students!

Six more COERLL Collaborators are now busy perfecting some new FLLITE lessons in Spanish, Portuguese, Persian, and German, and we are narrowing down COERLL Collaborators applications for our Heritage Spanish project. We are looking forward to expanding the COERLL Collaborators program and building up a network of creative and collaborative language instructors.

See what the COERLL Collaborators have created:

The TELL Collab: a New Model for Professional Learning

The TELL Collab: a New Model for Professional Learning

This summer, COERLL will team up with the Teacher Effectiveness for Language Learning (TELL) Project to offer a new kind of professional learning experience for world language educators. Embracing a participant-driven model of learning, the TELL Collab will allow educators to engage in the very practices of effective learning they are expected develop in their own language teaching environment. Over the course of the experience, participants will be challenged to become active learning leaders in a variety of settings that ask them to explore, model and share effective language learning practices identified in the TELL Framework.

COERLL’s mission is to promote Open Education, a global, grassroots movement of DIY educators who are taking matters into their own hands.  The TELL Project is very much in keeping with the Open Education movement–it is created BY teachers FOR teachers.

The TELL Collab promises to be a one-of-a-kind event, an “unconference” during which the program is largely decided by the participants themselves. An unconference is lightly planned and highly flexible. The event is aimed at teachers who are highly participatory and not afraid to share their new ideas with others.  In essence, the TELL Collab is a grand experiment that seeks to model a new approach to professional development for foreign language teachers.

How TELL Collab Empowers Participants

The TELL Collab fosters professional conversations and deep learning experiences with national experts, teacher leaders, and colleagues.  The goal is to empower participants to take control of their own professional learning.

TRADITIONAL CONFERENCE THE TELL COLLAB
  • Set schedule developed by organizers
  • Series of speakers selected by organizers
  • Pre-determined content
  • Notebook full of good ideas with possibly no time to process how to use them
  • Sessions may be so large that participant interaction becomes minimal
  • Professional credit based on seat-time
  • Participant-driven schedule based on professional learning needs
  • Participants share resources to support professional learning needs
  • Participants able to personalize content
  • Participants leave with idea(s) AND strategies for implementing them
  • Participants actively work in a variety of small group settings
  • Participants earn performance-based badges that “show what they know”

The first annual TELL Collab will be held June 26-27, 2015 in Austin, TX. The event will be facilitated by Thomas Sauer and Alyssa Villarreal, two of the founders and current directors of the TELL Project. Participants will include Megan Smith and Kara Parker of the Creative Language Class blog, along with world language educators and administrators from across the country.

Learn more about the TELL Collab and register to attend at http://www.tellcollab.org.

COERLL Awarded New Title VI Grant for 2014-2018!

COERLL Awarded New Title VI Grant for 2014-2018!

COERLL is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a four-year Title VI grant by the Department of Education to continue its operation through 2018. Established in 2010, COERLL is one of 16 national foreign language resource centers. COERLL’s mission is to produce and disseminate Open Educational Resources (OERs) for the Internet public (e.g., online language courses, reference grammars, assessment tools, corpora, etc.). The term OER refers to any educational material offered freely for anyone to use, typically involving some permission to re-mix, improve, and redistribute. Open Education is part of the Free Culture Movement, whose goal is to promote the freedom to distribute and modify creative works in the form of open content by using the Internet and various forms of media. COERLL’s OER carry Creative Commons open licenses, a legal alternative to traditional copyright.

The $750,000 grant will allow COERLL to develop and disseminate OER in several languages such as Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Czech, French, K’ichee’ Mayan, Persian, Portuguese, and Turkish. As part of the grant, COERLL will join forces with UT-Pan American to develop OER for heritage Spanish speakers. COERLL also plans to develop a professional development badge system for foreign language teachers based on the popular TELL Project. Finally, COERLL’s research agenda will focus on determining the impact of OER on language learning and teaching in an increasingly connected world.

More information about our new projects will be coming to the COERLL website soon!

Introducing “Open Up”

Introducing “Open Up”

At the heart of the movement towards Open  Educational Resources is the simple and powerful idea that the world’s knowledge is a public good and that technology in general and the Worldwide Web in particular provide an opportunity for everyone to share, use, and reuse it.
(UNESCO Conference 2009)

Welcome to COERLL’s brand new blog, Open Up, devoted to conversations about open education in language learning. Here, educators can get informed and dream together about dynamic, community-driven open educational practices in language learning.

As you know, blog comments include like-minded voices as well as new perspectives to help us broaden our understanding on a topic. So please participate in the conversation. Open Up advocates progress toward a better future in language learning. As such, we ask you to keep your comments constructive, useful, civil, and in all other ways sociable. We’ll launch new blog conversations twice a week, and you can stay in the loop by subscribing through the options listed at the top of this post.

To begin, we’d like to devote this conversation to your questions and thoughts. Take a look at our categories (at the top menu). Which do you want to know more about? Let us know! We look forward to moving into the future of language education together.