As the open education movement continues to grow and affect foreign language (FL) teaching and learning in a variety of educational contexts (e.g., K–12 and post-secondary institutions, including community colleges and minority-serving institutions), there is a critical need for research that explores (a) how FL educators perceive and make use of open educational resources (OER) in their classrooms, and (b) the nature of and reasons for the rise in open educational language practices (OEP) in the United States and in other parts of the world. COERLL's research initiatives intend to fill a void in the literature regarding OER and OEP and promote the overall expansion of the FL open education movement.
An International OER/OEP Survey: How Open is Foreign Language Education in the United States and Europe?
This project involves the creation and distribution of an OER/OEP survey to FL educators working in all levels of education—K–12, community colleges, and 4–year colleges both in the US and in the European Union (EU). The survey will target FL educators at many types of institutions (e.g., private vs. public, urban vs. rural) to answer the following questions:
- What are the reasons why FL educators are using OER/developing OEP in their classes?
- How much time/effort does it take to integrate OER into FL classrooms?
- What are the barriers to widespread adoption of FL OER/OEP?
- What are the areas of content and training that might result in more FL educators using OER and/or adopting OEP in their courses?
- What are the similarities and differences between the US and the EU with respect to FL OER and OEP?
- What are the primary differences between traditional, publisher-produced FL materials/content when compared to FL OER?
COERLL is partnering with LangOER and various other entities in the EU to create and distribute the OER/OEP survey across the US and in several countries in the EU. This US-EU collaborative effort will help to shape a better understanding of the processes and practices developed around OER in various learning contexts. The results of this project will be disseminated via scholarly publications and conference presentations in both the US and EU.
Joshua Thoms, Utah State University, USA will serve as the primary coordinator for both projects in the US. Katerina Zourou, Sør-Trøndelag University College, Trondheim, Norway will serve as a co-coordinator and will support the European team with the survey project.
Assessing the OER Needs of FL Educators in the US: High Schools, Community Colleges and Four-Year Colleges
Based on the findings of the OER/OEP survey project, this project will involve a needs analysis of FL educators in the US regarding the types of OER they currently use and/or would like to have. Data for this project will come from group meetings and interviews with targeted teacher populations in high schools, community colleges, and 4–year colleges/universities who attend national conferences. The results will be disseminated on the OER Research Hub website and published in peer-reviewed educational journals. The results will help COERLL and the other National Foreign Language Resource Centers in the US to better understand the OER market and to improve the effectiveness of FL OER that, in turn, will help to expand FL OEP.