Throughout their years of study, students take many courses and create many disposable assignments, the ones that they burn after getting a grade. These assignments add no value, “a student spends three hours creating it, a teacher spends 30 minutes grading it, and then the student throws it away” (Wiley, 2013). Some of these are of excellent quality and of potential use to future students yet are never to be seen again. This is particularly true in language courses where the biggest obstacle is finding appropriate level content that is openly licensed.
To harness and direct the talent and energy of language students, we adopted Open Educational Practices (OEP) incorporating reusable or meaningful open assignments (Wiley, 2013) into the language classroom. The assignments are reusable because students perfect the living text through various collaborative editorial and pedagogical practices (Paoletti, 1995) focusing on vocabulary, grammar, and structure. Additionally, through open and collaborative practices online (Stahl et al., 2006) and in the classroom, the students created, edited, and designed ancillary learning materials under Creative Commons licenses with the objective of producing a meaningful stand-alone open educational resource for future iterations of the course while exploring socially relevant topics. The content is based on UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals to guide sociocultural understanding of Hispanic America and to develop global consciousness while working on polishing the target language (Spanish).
Cronin defines four dimensions shared by open educators as guiding principles for the OEP learning experience: leveraging social learning, balancing privacy and openness, developing digital literacies, and challenging teaching roles (Cronin, 2017). The students with support from the teacher and graduate students have co-created a knowledge resource available globally [https://ocw.lms.athabascau.ca/course/view.php?id=134]
and guided by these principles. The course activities enhanced scholarship and empowered the learner to leverage collaborative digital technologies, perfect language skills by teaching their peers, and have their course-work impact the world in a socially meaningful way by contributing to the open movement. Work that embodies collaborative learning practices (Dillenbourg, 1999) in stark contrast to the competitive nature of our current educational system. OEP offer the opportunity to extend open content creation to a much larger community while at the same time promoting a practice that allows the learner to participate actively in and contribute to the subject matter that they are studying.
We will also explore some of the risks and drawbacks for educators and students when engaged in open and collaborative practices in creating open educational resources.
Since this open resource is under continual development, participants will be encouraged to engage via suggestions and open discussion throughout the presentation. An open invitation to future collaboration will also be proposed to those who may be interested.
Cronin, C., 2017. Openness and Praxis: Exploring the Use of Open Educational Practices in Higher Education. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning 18. https://doi.org/10.19173/irrodl.v18i5.3096
Dillenbourg, P., 1999. What do you mean by collaborative learning?, in: Dillenbourg, P. (Ed.), Collaborative Learning: Cognitive and Computational Approaches. Elsevier, Oxford, pp. 1–19.
Paoletti, G., 1995. Peer interaction and writing: The process of revision, in: O’Malley, C. (Ed.), Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning, NATO ASI Series. Springer-Verlag, New York, pp. 39–50.
Stahl, G., Koschmann, T., Suthers, D., Sawyer, R.K., 2006. Computer-supported collaborative learning: An historical perspective, in: Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp. 409–426.
Wiley, D., 2013. What is Open Pedagogy? [WWW Document]. iterating toward openness. URL https://opencontent.org/blog/archives/2975 (accessed 8.22.17).