Since the establishment of the Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol (the Welsh National College) in 2011 dedicated to the further development of Higher Education delivered in Welsh, technology enhanced learning has been a central part of the Coleg’s academic strategy. A central pillar of such learning has been the provision of open educational resources in Welsh that are available for students across universities in Wales, and beyond, of course.
The aim of this paper is to consider and assess the development of OERs in Welsh since 2011 – and to consider the extent to which the Welsh experience may be replicable in other linguistic contexts where a smaller / minority language exists.
The first part of the paper will focus on the development of resources under the aegis of the Coleg Cymraeg and those resources that have been supported by Coleg funds. It will analyse the use made of these resources by students and others, and consider what lessons may be learnt, in the first instance, in relation to the future development of resources in Welsh. These lessons it is argued are both timely and important given the Welsh Declaration of Intent on Open Educational Resources in September 2013, http://www.oerwales.ac.uk/about/ and the report of the (Welsh) Ministerial Working Group on Open and Online Learning http://wales.gov.uk/docs/dcells/publications/140402-online-digital-learning-working-group-en.pdf.
The second part of the paper will consider the broader landscape of language support and promotion across Europe, and consider whether the proactive engagement with OERs exhibited by the University sector in Wales offers a suitable template for other language communities to follow. It will also seek to identify elements of best practice in other linguistic contexts that may be of relevance to Wales.
The paper concludes that the nature of Open Education Resources are ideally suited for the development of resources in community, regional and smaller state languages, but to be successful a suitable institutional structure needs to be in place to support these resources and thus to ensure and assure the quality of the resources.