Supporting Language Learning With OERs and Open-Authoring Tools

Supporting Language Learning With OERs and Open-Authoring Tools

Christine Scott (Oregon State University, USA) and Nadia Jaramillo Cherrez (Oregon State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8267-1.ch010
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Open educational resources (OERs) in language learning have recently captured the interests of language educators, curriculum developers, and researchers as these open-source materials serve as an alternative to traditional textbooks and costly web-based learning resources. OERs offer several benefits for language learners, including access to controlled language practice, self-study, engagement, and learning satisfaction. These resources can also promote innovative instructional practices that respond to constructivist and interactionist perspectives of second language acquisition. However, widespread use of open resources remains low among language teachers for several reasons, including a lack of awareness of how to develop and use them, overreliance on commercially produced textbooks, scarcity of resources, and guidelines for developing original open resources. In this chapter, the authors explore how to best approach the process of creating and using open resources in order to develop and promote OERs among language educators.
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The rising popularity of OERs began around 2001 when the MIT OpenCourseWare initiative promoted the development and use of educational and research resources under an intellectual property license or public domain that allows others to reuse and repurpose these resources for free (Adams et al., 2013; Weller et al., 2015). Research and initiatives on the use of OERs have identified compelling reasons to promote their use including a considerable reduction in the cost of learning materials, affording equal access to content and knowledge to a wider audience, enhancing instruction and pedagogical strategies, and improving student engagement (McGill et al., 2013; Weller et al., 2015). In addition, OERs facilitate the adaptation of learning resources at varying levels (e.g., create own material, aggregate elements, contextualize materials) as well as lead to more reflective practice on the part of instructors (Weller et al., 2015) and encourage learner-driven learning (Conole, 2013). The use of OERs also enables educators to “learn from and contribute to their professional practice” (Littlejohn & Hood, 2017, p. 1-2) allowing them to expand their range of knowledge and expertise in educational innovations. The use of OERs is also well perceived by students who largely regard the quality as similar to traditional publisher textbooks (Bliss et al., 2013).

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