There is an increasing body of literature on OER/OEP for language education. Within this field, topics addressed so far are among others OER for less used languages (Bradley & Vigmo, 2014), crowdsourcing and user-driven practices with OER (Beaven, T. et al., 2013), and OEP from a language teaching perspective (Beaven, Comas & Sawhill, 2013; Borthwick et al., 2014; Whyte et al., 2014). A topic that is much less explored is the way knowledge sharing and peer interaction develop around Open Educational Language Practice, especially when documented barriers to OEP expansion include limited OER uptake and few collaboration opportunities and practices with OER.
The paper explores whether, and under what conditions, social network dynamics are able to tackle more participatory OEP based on the claim that social networks offer more opportunities for user engagement, participatory learning and social interaction. The paper addresses two questions, namely a) What are the perceived advantages and limitations of social networks for open educational language practice? and b) how can language interaction benefit from OEP, as communication is fundamental to the development of language skills?
An expert survey has been launched with the aim of tackling these questions. We identified 20 experts working at the crossroads of OER and Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL), as CALL experts are in the best position to assess the value of OER, which by definition are digital materials. The methodology adopted aims to bring to the surface the relationships, expressed as similarities and divergences, which emerge in expert discourse generated in an expert survey on OER/OEP and the role of social networks in language learning and teaching. The paper adopts content analysis as an analytical, interpretative approach to understanding subjective realities (Mostyn, 1985; Mayring, 2000).
The paper identifies challenges and threats to OEP expansion through social networks in the language education field and contributes to an understanding of the role of social dynamics in open education.
Beaven, A., Comas-Quinn, A. and Sawhill, B. (eds.) (2013) Case Studies of Openness in the Language Classroom. Dublin: Research Publishing.
Beaven, T., Comas-Quinn, A. Hauck, M., de los Arcos, B. and Lewis, T. (2013). The Open Translation MOOC: creating online communities to transcend linguistic barriers. JIME. http://www-jime.open.ac.uk/jime/article/view/2013-18
Borthwick, K., and Gallagher-Brett, A. (2014) ‘Inspiration, ideas, encouragement’: teacher development and improved use of technology in language teaching through open educational practice, CALL, 27.2:163-183.
Bradley, L., Vigmo, S. (2014). OER in less used languages: a state-of-the art report. LangOER consortium. http://langoer.eun.org/
Mayring, P. (2000). Qualitative Content Analysis. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 1.2 http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0002204.
Mostyn, B. (1985). The content analysis of qualitative research data: A dynamic approach. In M. Brenner, J. Brown and D. Cauter (eds.), The research interview. London: Academic Press. 115-145.
Whyte, S., Schmid, E. C., van Hazebrouck Thompson, S. and Oberhofer, M. (2014). Open educational resources for CALL teacher education: the iTILT interactive whiteboard project. CALL, 27.2: 122–148.