OER: insights into a multilingual landscape
Conference contribution, 2014
Although it is over a decade since the term OER was coined in the 2002 UNESCO’s Forum on the Impact of Open Courseware for Higher Education (Johnstone, 2005), there is still little consensus on the nature and the added value of OER in a language learning context. As Fred Mulder, UNESCO chair in OER, claims, “OER will need 20 to 30 years to reach its ultimate global realization” (Mulder, 2012). There is a growing interest into the shift from OER to Open Educational Practice (OEP) with the emphasis put on OER uptake in other learning contexts than those for which they have been originally designed, thus highlighting the dynamics that can occur in OER reuse (Conole, 2013; Weller, 2010).
In the CALL field, progress into understanding the potential of OER/OEP for language learning and teaching is made, through scientific events (Eurocall 2012 SIG on OER http://eurocallsigsbologna.weebly.com/ ) and joint publications (Beaven et al., 2013; Borthwick et al., 2013; Lane et al., 2013, Thomas & Evans, 2014).
The symposium addresses the question of multilingualism and OER, by discussing the place of linguistic pluralism in a fast developing OER landscape in which very few languages are dominant (Zourou, 2013). Less used languages due to fewer resources, human and material, compared to dominant languages, face new challenges when situated in the OER scene. More precisely we look at the following issues:
1. Which languages are represented in repositories of OER (ROER) and what kind of subjects do they cover?
2. How multilingual repositories cope with the management of OER in various languages? How is the management (upload, sharing, updates, monitoring) of these resources possible? How do language teachers and learners engage with OER in these repositories?
3. Is OER uptake a far-fetched idea or current practice? What kind of evidence does exist of OER uptake in a language learning/teaching context?
Computer Assisted Language Learning
Open Educational Resources