Announcing a new textbook: ClicaBrasil!

Announcing a new textbook: ClicaBrasil!

Editor’s note: the below post is the introduction by Vivian Flanzer to the ClicaBrasil textbook that she recently published with COERLL. The introduction carries a CC BY-NC-SA license.  

ClicaBrasil, the web-based Portuguese program developed and in use at the University of Texas at Austin since 2010, is a media-rich Open Educational Resource (OER), which requires neither password nor fees. An OER is distinguished from commercial materials by its open copyright license (Creative Commons license). Users may adapt the original materials and share their adaptations with others, but must credit the original content and its author.

ClicaBrasil was designed to teach the Portuguese language in the context of Brazilian culture to intermediate and advanced language learners. It can be successfully used either in classroom settings or for autonomous learning. The website and the new textbook comprise an open curriculum that includes seven units based on culturally rich literary texts. In addition, the curriculum contains 157 authentic and unscripted videos of Brazilians from all regions and sectors of society speaking about their lives, their country, and topics that arise from these readings. Each unit contains hundreds of activities that hone language skills while raising awareness about contemporary Brazilian society. The activities are accompanied by a helpful answer-key. ClicaBrasil also provides a grammar bank with concise explanations about verb tenses and conjugations as well as a vocabulary list for each chapter. Designed to accompany the website, the ClicaBrasil textbook is downloadable for free in PDF format and is also available for purchase as a print-on-demand book from Amazon and

Tips for the Learner

Each unit has four sections with many activities: Pano de fundo (Backdrop), where you will be introduced to the unit’s specific socio-cultural scenario; Leitura (Reading), with glossaries and tools to help you understand the text; Gramática (Grammar), where you will learn and review grammar topics in the context of the readings and the videos; and Aproximando o foco (Zooming in), where you will have the opportunity to explore and reflect more extensively about aspects of Brazilian culture and society that arise in the units.

Tips for the Instructor

There are several ways to use ClicaBrasil. I encourage you to personalize these open materials according to your students’ needs. As this is an OER, you can edit and remix its content, crediting the original source and author. Feel free to skip a unit or a section, or to do them in a different order. And if, for example, you think a composition activity would make more sense in your course as a class discussion, go for it! It is always a good idea to select which activities you will do in class (as a group, in pairs, or individually) and which you will assign for homework. I suggest you ask your students to check the answer-key before submitting their homework, so they can clear up any questions in class. Some activities offer “suggested answers” because they reflect personal views or subjective opinions. My students have reported that the “suggested answers” have inspired them to discuss the lessons in class after doing the homework.

I have had a lot of fun reinventing the way I teach with ClicaBrasil. I hope you will too.

For more information:

Vivian Flanzer Vivian Flanzer was born and raised in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where she spent most of her life. She coordinates the Portuguese Language Program at the Department of Spanish and Portuguese of the University of Texas at Austin since 2001. She has a B.A. in Communications; an M.A. in Anthropology from the Museu Nacional of the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro; an M.A. in Foreign Language Education from UT-Austin; and is completing her Ph.D. in Iberian and Latin American Languages and Cultures at UT-Austin.



Congratulations to Dr. Gabriela Zapata of the Department of Hispanic Studies at Texas A&M University for receiving the Texas A&M University Libraries and the A&M Student Government Association (SGA) Open Education Champion award for her “compelling and significant positive impact in areas related to OERs or use of Texas A&M’s OAKTrust Institutional Repository”.

Dr. Zapata is currently working with a team of graduate and undergraduate students on Trayectos, a four-volume, open online textbook for beginning and intermediate second language learners of Spanish, with the support of COERLL.

We’d like to acknowledge Dr. Zapata for her generosity in sharing her work with so many people, and also thank Texas A&M Libraries and SGA for giving these awards to bring more visibility to open educational resources. We hope to see awards like this from more institutions in the future.

COERLL is lucky to work with many spectacular faculty, teachers, and students who put in extra hours to create resources and share them with others. We are very grateful for all of these people and their collaboration. You can find a partial list on our Language OER Network page.

Welcome to Open Education Week 2019!
COERLL Supports the #GoOpen Initiative

COERLL Supports the #GoOpen Initiative

COERLL recently became a supporting organization of #GoOpen, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology which supports states, districts and educators using openly licensed educational materials to transform teaching and learning.

The #GoOpen network consists of 96 launch districts and 23 ambassador districts, spread across 33 states. Launch districts identify a district open educational resources (OER) strategy team, commit to replace at least one textbook with openly-licensed educational materials in the next year, and document and share their implementation process. Ambassador districts mentor launch districts as they design and implement their OER strategy, and share the openly licensed materials they’ve created.

Supporting organizations (COERLL, Council of Chief State School Officers, Creative Commons USA, Digital Promise, Library of Congress, New America, and The Learning Accelerator) attend regular calls, contribute updates on new activities or resources relevant to #GoOpen states and districts to the monthly #GoOpen Newsletter, and spread awareness about the #GoOpen initiative to schools and districts.

If your school district is considering adopting or creating OER, we recommend you read the clear list of steps laid out in the #GoOpen district launch packet. And, consider committing to being a #GoOpen district. You’ll have lots of support from many others who have gone through the same process.

For our part, COERLL has pledged to…

  • Advise school districts whose language departments are interested in creating, adapting, adopting, or sharing OER
  • Advocate for more OER adoption and #GoOpen participation in Texas
  • Award digital badges to validate and promote the stories of language departments in #GoOpen districts who have used OER, through COERLL’s Language OER Network and other communication channels
  • Develop and share an FAQ guide for language departments interested in going open (which we will publish soon!)

Megan Schacht from Parkway Schools, a #GoOpen district, presented in one of our webinars about the Modern and Classical Languages department’s work with OER, and we are looking forward to seeing what other collaborations will be possible from being part of #GoOpen.


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. Be sure to also check out the website for the fifteen other Title VI language resource centers.

Teaching Materials

Trayectos: A Multiliteracies Approach to Collegiate Spanish is a collection of performance-based OER for beginning and intermediate second language learners of Spanish, developed by Texas A&M faculty and graduate students using the Learning by Design approach.

Teacher development

COERLL provides teacher development through workshops and online communities, where participants’ own work is published for other teachers to use.

Texas Coalition for Heritage Spanish (TeCHS) is a platform for members to share data and pedagogical resources, collaborate on best practices, connect with community organizations, and advocate for Spanish heritage language teaching.

Games2Teach Collaboratories are interactive workshops where teachers play technology-mediated games, learn how game design principles promote language acquisition, and learn to implement games in their classrooms. Based on work by CASLS and CERCLL.

Foreign Languages & the Literary in The Everyday (FLLITE), a project with CERCLL, aids instructors in designing their own literacy-based lessons that focus on the poetics of everyday language (letters, YouTube videos, etc.).

K-12 initiatives

Juntos: The Heritage Spanish Lesson Project is a series of proficiency-based lessons related to personal life, college tasks, career readiness, and civic participation for Heritage Spanish learners in grades 6-12.

Recorridos: AP Spanish Literature Anthology is a multi-volume anthology series of Hispanic literature for AP and other advanced students. Each textbook includes reading activities and glosses, historical and cultural information, and assessments.

Less Commonly Taught Languages 

Her Şey bir Merhaba ile Başlar (Everything Begins with a Hello) is an open-source, online curriculum for Intermediate-Mid Turkish students.  Learners use language to investigate, explain and reflect on contemporary Turks’ socio-cultural practices and products.

OER for Teaching and Learning Nahuatl aims to develop 30 units of online Huasteca Nahuatl multimedia learning materials for speakers of Spanish and English.

Reality Czech: A Course in Contemporary Czech Language and Culture is an online curriculum for beginning and intermediate language students. Modules follow a sequence of pre-class, in-class, and post-class activities ideal for a flipped classroom.

Two projects will add to COERLL’s existing Portuguese materials. Brazilpod Teacher’s Guide and Lesson Index helps users integrate media from the Brazilpod website into their teaching and learning. For the intermediate course ClicaBrasil, COERLL will provide a printed textbook to accompany the online videos and readings.

COERLL also provides consultation about open pedagogical design to project teams supervised by other grant-funded entities.

Outreach and dissemination

COERLL connects to teachers through newsletters, blogs, and social media. We support teachers’ work by offering stipends for materials creation as part of the Collaborators Program, and by awarding digital badges in the Language OER Network (LOERN). At the University of Texas, COERLL and other Title VI entities will reach out to students and instructors through More Than A Skill events about language learning as an ethical act.


COERLL’s main publications will be the fully-refereed online journal Language Learning & Technology, co-sponsored by the National Foreign Language Resource Center and Center for Language & Technology (both at University of Hawai’i), and “Open Education and Foreign Language Learning and Teaching”, an openly-licensed book of case studies.


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

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 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.

  • 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

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!