Our reflections on language teaching in the UK and Australia are presented in a co-authored submission spanning practice in an H.E. language teaching context to the Education Policy Analysis Archives (EPAA) for a special issue exploring “Models of Open Education in Higher Education” where we identify a gap between what is available online and can be distributed via institutionally-adopted means, and what can be:
- suitably modified for educational purposes, and
- legally used, especially in a context where large class sizes and online distribution models are being embraced as cost-cutting measures.
Furthermore we identify a number of barriers to the adoption of OER, with a particular focus on video resources, including policies aimed at protecting IP rather than facilitating learning outcomes, copyright concerns, commercial agreements, and the resourcing of staff, as well as outlining a vision for grassroots OER also known as “little OER” (Weller 2011 p109).
There are opportunities for OER in supporting the democratisation of language learning which are presented by the use of Open Educational practices (OEP). Language learning as an educational activity is largely commodified with quality learning resources generally requiring significant financial investment. The time and skill required for materials creation is costly and yet few attempts are made to connect those already producing such resources for their teaching. Fewer still are the attempts to explore the benefits of collaborative digital creation which would doubtless bring professional development opportunities. Some simple steps could be taken to embed Creative Commons licencing within faculty VLE upload workflows and to clarify the grey areas of copyright where confusion often disempowers the tutors who are engaged in creating resources.
These findings were presented at a joint ALT SIG webinar (OER SIG and Video SIG) in November 2014 in order to discuss some of the issues arising from our multi-lingual, international context and find out if the wider community has similar experiences. This presentation will report on both our research and the feedback and reactions obtained during the webinar.