The potential of open pedagogy

The potential of open pedagogy

Photo credit: “Create” by flickr user Eden, Janine and Jim Creative Commons License

Open pedagogy is an approach to teaching that has emerged from the open education movement. It aims to make learning more accessible, learner driven, and connected. Open pedagogy gives learners the space to create something that will be used by someone else. This approach is the alternative to what David Wiley has referred to as “disposable assignments” that students spend a few hours working on, faculty spend time grading, and then students throw away once the course is over.

Open pedagogy is different from open practices, which include sharing, giving feedback, testing new ideas, applying open licenses, and giving credit to people whose ideas or resources you use. These practices support open pedagogy, but they don’t always put the student in such an active role. However, both open practices and open pedagogy are made possible by the permissions that are granted through open Creative Commons licenses: making copies, adapting, and distributing resources as part of a community.

One source for information about open pedagogy is the Open Pedagogy Notebook, edited by Rajiv Jhangiani and Robin DeRosa, who have shaped and advanced the discussion about this subject. In the notebook, they describe the theory behind open pedagogy and provide open pedagogy case studies authored by faculty from different fields.

In these case studies, students develop a variety of products, either on their own, in teams, or alongside their teacher: course goals, multiple choice question banks, introductions for anthologies, wiki articles, peer assessments, and syllabi. The assignments allow students a large role in determining their learning, but it’s important to note that they are still carefully scaffolded so that students understand what is expected of them and are not pushed beyond their capacity. These projects require some experimentation and may reveal the messy process of learning, but they have the potential to provide students with experience and knowledge that they can apply in many other facets of their lives.

In a blog post on Digital Pedagogy Lab, Jhangiani and DeRosa also point out that open pedagogy can reflect social justice ideals, first because it is an alternative to expensive textbooks. Just as important, it positions knowledge as co-constructed between learners and instructors, rather than a one way transfer from instructor to student.

Here are some open pedagogy projects for language learning that put the students in the role of creators:

  • Kelly Arispe and Amber Hoye lead the Boise State University Department of World Languages’ Pathways OER Language Teaching Repository, an open collection of instructional materials and professional development created by and uniquely for Idaho’s K-16 language teachers and students. Participating teachers and students come from different fields of study to create open digital activities that support the teaching and learning of foreign languages and promote intercultural competence.
  • Anna Comas-Quinn and Mara Fuertes Gutiérrez tasked students with translating the subtitles of a TED or TEDx talk of their choice, reviewing and providing feedback on their peers’ translations, and taking part in the online subtitling community.
  • Lionel Mathieu, Kathryn Murphy-Judy, Robert Godwin-Jones, Laura Middlebrooks, and Natalia Boykova developed a multiphasic project where 202 students curate authentic materials online, upper level students sort and scaffold the curations into online modules, and students discuss curations with native speakers. This will eventually culminate in the creation of open textbooks featuring the authentic materials and modules.
  • Ewan McAndrew and Lorna Campbell led their translation Studies MSc students at the University of Edinburgh to take part in a Wikipedia translation assignment as part of their independent study component.
  • Jon Beasley-Murray and the University of British Columbia‘s class SPAN312 (“Murder, Madness, and Mayhem: Latin American Literature in Translation”) contributed to Wikipedia during Spring 2008. The collective goals were to bring a selection of articles on Latin American literature to featured article status (or as near as possible). By project’s end, they had contributed three featured articles and eight good articles.
  • Jeannette Okur taught her students to use collaborative Google Docs and Aegisub Advanced Subtitling Editor software to create and add original English subtitles to three classic Turkish films
  • Julie Ann Ward developed the antholgy “Antología abierta de literatura hispana” with her students, and piloted it with collaborating instructors and students

Public facing student projects could also include student presentations at public meetings, campus public service campaigns, or the publication and dissemination of student-authored zines, to name a few other ideas from the open pedagogy notebook.

Now, what can you create with your students?

Inspiring case studies of open practices to engage teachers and students

Inspiring case studies of open practices to engage teachers and students

Editor’s note: the below post is the forward by Carl S. Blyth, COERLL director, to the recently published book New case studies of openness in and beyond the language classroom, edited by Anna Comas-Quinn, Ana Beaven, Barbara Sawhill. The forward carries a CC BY license.  

Today, in the field of foreign language teaching, there is much talk of shifting paradigms. The term paradigm was popularized by the American physicist Thomas Kuhn in his 1962 book entitled The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. According to Kuhn, scientific progress is neither linear nor continuous, but rather subject to abrupt shifts in the consensus of a scientific community. To illustrate this phenomenon, Kuhn cites the well-known shift in astronomy from geocentrism (the belief that the sun and the planets revolve around the Earth) to heliocentrism (the belief that the Earth and the planets revolve around the sun). Kuhn stresses that paradigms are defined by contrasting concepts and discourses and, as a result, are largely incommensurable. Kuhn also notes that paradigm shifts are not only a matter of accepting new facts, but of reorganizing those facts into a new worldview. In other words, paradigm shifts entail objective as well as subjective change.

Despite examples of revolutionary change in the sciences, paradigm shifts in the humanities – such as in foreign language education – appear to be more gradual. Most foreign language educators integrate new ideas into their curricular and pedagogical practices in an incremental process of professional development. Personally, I believe that paradigm change in foreign language teaching is largely a matter of educators learning by example from each other. Simply put, there is nothing more powerful than a case study for catalyzing change in our field. And in this book, New case studies of openness in and beyond the language classroom, foreign language specialists share their stories of personal and professional transformation in the well-known form of a case study. Following the same format, each case study provides the reader with the necessary information to understand and to implement a specific pedagogical or curricular innovation. For example, each case study includes a detailed description of a new project, the intended student outcomes, as well as the tools and resources used in the project.

While many case studies focus on the use of ready-made Open Educational Resources (OERs), others describe how to integrate Open Educational Practices (OEPs) into foreign language classes. Several case studies explain how to implement principles of open pedagogy such as the creation of a Wikipedia page or a translation of a TED Talk by the students themselves. In such cases, students are challenged to follow the editorial guidelines of Wikipedia and TED for the creation of open content. Thus, in the open language classroom, students share their knowledge with the world while, at the same time, improving their proficiency in the target language. In short, each case study described in this book is a beautiful illustration of the creative commons in action. I sincerely hope that foreign language educators who read these case studies will embrace the affordances of openness for themselves and their students and thereby shift the paradigm one classroom at a time.

For an open world.

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.

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.

How to Write a Review

You can write a review in any public form: a repository like MERLOT or OER Commons (other repositories are listed here), a blog post, or anywhere else you can think of.

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.

How to Earn a Badge

Once you have written a review in a public forum, you can apply to receive an OER Reviewer badge from COERLL.

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 Portland State University (PSU), the Arabic program is designed to teach Modern Standard Arabic ( MSA) for at least one year, after which the students can learn Colloquial Arabic (CA). Because of how the Arabic program at PSU is designed (similar to many programs in the USA), the importance of this book arises. This transition can be challenging for some students. The book targets students in NM (Novice Mid) who have studied Arabic for a year or more and aims to help them advance to IL (Intermediate Low) according to the Oral Proficiency Interview standards by ACTFL, the American Council on The Teaching of Foreign Languages.

This book documents answers to questions from students in CA classes. Its goal is to transition students smoothly from MSA to CA, giving them confidence to explore both varieties while reaching the NH (Novice High) or IL level, navigate predictable social situations in CA, and utilize their previous knowledge in MSA to learn CA. The content and structure are based on my teaching experience and as an ACTFL OPI interviewer to assist students in their quest to speak CA with native speakers with relative ease.

The material, organization, topics and translations are based on comments, suggestions and ideas which students shared with me during teaching colloquial Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic. While creating the book, I wanted it to be a reference for students to “get a feel” for MSA and CA similarities and differences. This book introduces the Cairene Egyptian dialect; however, it also explains commonly used expressions in the Levant (Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, and Israel). The goal is to introduce students to more varieties, allowing them to choose which dialect to specialize in and still be able to communicate with Arabic speakers. Although this book does not introduce Gulf dialects, many of the expressions and terms are frequently used in most of the Arab world, and many are derived from MSA I aim that this book will benefit students of Arabic at PSU and elsewhere, reduce their textbook expenses, and help them improve their CA speaking.

I also hope that the dialogues (recorded by PSU students of Arabic) will be enjoyable for learners and provide successful examples for others to follow.

The book is published on the PSU library page and the website of the Center for Open Education at the University of Minnesota. It has been downloaded over 1,000 times and counting all over the world by different universities, institutions, business and governmental bodies.

Professor Lina Gomaa is an Arabic instructor at Portland State University.

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 initially had the idea to work on OER because of the wonderful OER librarians at my campus. Their initiative to promote the adoption and creation of OER on campus inspired me to propose a project for my Introduction to Hispanic Literature and Culture course, a third-year Spanish course required for Spanish majors.

The course generally relies on fairly expensive and large anthologies. I thought that if I assigned texts that were in the public domain, and asked students to choose one particular text to study and prepare for inclusion in an online, open-access anthology, the Antología abierta de literatura hispana, they would have a richer research experience and really get to understand what literary studies are about.

This project would also give them the chance to practice their writing in Spanish, and to write for a much larger audience than a traditional classroom paper provides. Students knew that they had the option of submitting their work for inclusion in an open-access anthology, and that anyone with internet access around the world could potentially read their work. This fact motivated them to do their best and to consider their audience.

Finally, I was happy that students had the chance to create something that could help other students. Their results of their hard work over the course of the semester are visible and useful. The learning experience doesn´t stop at the end of the semester, but is shared with others. It is also a lasting example of their skills that they could highlight in the future.

My goal in leading students to create their own textbook was to help them learn the tools of literary research and give them an audience beyond the classroom or the campus. In small groups, students chose one of the texts studied in our Introduction to Hispanic Literature and Culture course and created a critical edition, complete with introductory information about the author, time period, and literary context; footnotes annotating various aspects of the text itself; and a bibliography for further study.

With the help of two undergraduate research assistants, I uploaded the results into Pressbooks, where it is downloadable and accessible in many formats. Now the first edition of the anthology is available for students of Hispanic literature, and I am working on a second edition, with the help of the Rebus Community, that incorporates critical editions made by students at other institutions.

My goal is for the AALH to continue expanding and become a go-to, open-access resource for anyone who wants to know more about Hispanic literature and culture.

For more information:

Julie Ward joined the faculty of the University of Oklahoma in 2014 as Assistant Professor of 20th- and 21st-Century Latin American Literature. She holds a PhD in Hispanic Languages and Literatures from the University of California, Berkeley (2013). Her current research focuses on the representation of the real in contemporary Latin America.

Sharing responsibly with your colleagues

Sharing responsibly with your colleagues

Photo credit: flickr user Hoffnungsschimmer Creative Commons License

You can help other teachers by sharing your creations, whether you give your materials away or sell them.

However you share, we suggest you do it with a Creative Commons (CC) license. This allows users of your work to make changes to fit their students and their teaching context, and to use the materials in their classroom. And you still get credit! Copyright, which is the default license on any unmarked online content, doesn’t allow these rights.

Here’s how to add a CC license:

1. Click here to download the CC BY license image to your computer.

2. Add the license image to your resource (in the footer, at the end of content, or anywhere else you prefer).

3. Copy and paste the following text underneath your license image:

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

There are other licenses which give more or fewer rights to the users of your materials. You can learn about them on the Creative Commons website.

Creating videos For Use in the Classroom

Creating videos For Use in the Classroom

Photo credit: flickr user chelsea(: Creative Commons License

Editor’s Note: Josie Jesser created videos of elementary school students speaking Spanish as part of our COERLL Collaborators program. Here, she explains her process.

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth even more. Even just two minutes of “screen time” can engage or re-engage students by pulling them into a world outside their classroom. As soon as the faces appear on the screen, the students’ curiosity is switched on. Who are these people? Where are they? What are they saying? I’ve found the engagement multiplies when the images are of students the same age as mine. With this classroom experience in mind, I set out to create a few more options for my students in the Spanish classroom. I wanted to film kids the same age as my students, speaking Spanish naturally but answering simple questions so the students could understand.

Here is what I learned:

  1. Our best resources are in our own backyard – see if your school district has any Dual Language Schools and reach out to the administration to set up visits to these schools.
  2. Be clear about the purpose of the videos (that they will be Open Educational Resources) and ask for names of specific teachers that would be willing to work with you and suggest students that would be comfortable in front of the camera.
  3. When making appointments to film, request a quiet location in the school, such as an empty classroom or corner of the library at a time it’s not being used.
  4. Explain to these teachers that you’ll need parents to sign permission slips (Media Release Forms), which you can collect on the day you show up.
  5. Use a tripod. Whether an iPhone, iPad, or digital camera is used to film, a tripod ensures consistency and steadiness for the viewer.
  6. Keep the camera at the students’ eye level.
  7. Have the students look over the questions before you start filming, so they can think about answers.
  8. Film 2 students at a time, so 1 student can ask questions and the other can answer.
  9. Good questions are never yes or no questions, but the type that encourage students to talk for a little while. For older kids, asking their opinions, their feelings, and what-if scenarios are always great. For younger kids, asking them to describe their daily world works well.
  10. Remember to keep it light and fun!

Good luck!

For more information:

Josie Jesser joined the Girls’ School of Austin faculty in 2013. Ms. Jesser completed her Bachelor of Arts in Latin American Studies from Dickinson College and her Master of Arts in Latin American Studies from The University of Texas at Austin. Ms. Jesser has worked as an interpreter and translator (Spanish, Portuguese) and she has lived in Argentina and Brazil. She has also worked in the technology sector, providing client support for Latin American clients. She loves teaching and working with students!

A network to showcase OER for language learning

A network to showcase OER for language learning

Editors note: This post was originally published on the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources blog

The Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning (COERLL) just launched the Language OER Network (LOERN), a page on our website to list language educators who are creating, using, or promoting open educational resources (OER). Every person featured on the page receives an open digital badge from COERLL. In this effort to acknowledge, validate, inspire, and connect open practitioners, we have already distributed badges to 41 teachers, librarians, and administrators.

We built the Language OER Network because we realized that more people than ever have started to understand what we do and are interested in getting involved in their own open projects. We are always thankful to hear from K-12 teachers and community college and university faculty who spend the extra time and energy to find the right open materials to support their students’ language proficiency. The Language OER Network exists to acknowledge this work.

Even though the open movement is gaining momentum, a large number of teachers and administrators either don’t know or misunderstand what OER is. Teachers who do advocate for openness often report that they are doing it alone. Badges provide teachers with proof of their accomplishments, to validate to their colleagues and employers that using and making OER is scholarly, creative work.

Language teachers (plus other staff, administrators, or students involved in OER for languages) can earn as many as six badges on the Language OER Network, for being either an OER Teacher, OER Master Teacher, OER Creator, OER Master Creator, OER Reviewer, or OER Ambassador. From what we’ve seen, this follows the natural progression that many people take, from the basic use of supplementary OER, to the full involvement of sharing the benefits of OER with others. We hope that this set of badges will inspire people to keep opening up, eventually earning all six badges.

We would also love if people embarking on new open projects could look at this page and find others who have similar ideas, to connect with them and potentially collaborate. With the number of people pursuing OER right now, it’s likely that many of them are doing similar projects and could benefit from sharing ideas and resources.

Even though we are publishing the Language OER Network to benefit teachers, it benefits COERLL as well. LOERN will be a tapestry of open language education that will help us demonstrate what this multifaceted movement is all about. Since launching the page in the past month, we are excited to have already learned about new people and projects from across the country. We look forward to hearing from more open educators, and also hope that in the future we can find a way to acknowledge more types of open educational practices, which are just as important as open resources, but harder to quantify.

Read about your colleagues and their open projects, and join the community! https://community.coerll.utexas.edu/

OER for a Common Goal – Meeting the Needs of Spanish Heritage Learners

OER for a Common Goal – Meeting the Needs of Spanish Heritage Learners

Editors note: This post was written by COERLL partner Jocelly Meiners, and originally published in Tex Libris, the blog from the libraries at the University of Texas at Austin, for a special Open Education Week series.

In recent years, the development of Spanish language courses designed specifically for heritage language learners has gained much attention throughout K-12 and post-secondary education in the US. Heritage language learners are students who were exposed to Spanish at home while growing up. These students usually have a broad knowledge about their cultural heritage, and varying degrees of language dominance. Over the years, it has been found that these learners have different pedagogical needs than second language learners, and that they benefit greatly from language instruction that is catered to their specific needs. Throughout the country, as more institutions realize these needs, Spanish instructors at all levels are forming programs and creating materials to serve this student population. It seems that we all have some common goals: to help heritage Spanish speakers develop their bilingual skills, to empower them to apply those skills in academic and professional settings, and to feel proud of their cultural and linguistic heritage. So if we all have similar goals in mind and are all working on creating programs and materials to serve these students, why not share all the work we are doing?

I have been teaching courses for heritage Spanish learners here at UT for over 4 years, and about a year and a half ago I started working as the community moderator for the Heritage Spanish Community. This web-based community, which is hosted by COERLL (The Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning), serves as a space for Spanish instructors to collaborate, share and communicate with others about the teaching and learning of Spanish as a heritage language. We encourage instructors at all levels to ask questions on our online forum, to help other instructors, and to share the materials they are working on. Open Educational Resources are an excellent way to share these types of materials, since they can easily be adapted to the specific needs of each instructor’s particular student population.

As community moderator, I add useful content to our website, create interesting questions for discussion, and encourage others to explore our website and share their work. I have also been able to share my own materials as OER, and it has been very rewarding to hear from people in other parts of the country who have found my resources useful and are adapting them for their own heritage Spanish programs. I believe that if we all collaborate and share our resources openly, we will be much more successful in attaining both our personal and common goals.

Jocelly Meiners was born and raised in San José, Costa Rica and moved to Austin, TX to attend UT, where she obtained her undergraduate education, as well as an MA in French linguistics and a PhD in Hispanic Linguistics. She is currently a Lecturer in the Spanish and Portuguese Department at UT, where she teaches courses for Spanish heritage learners.

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/.