by: Sarah Sweeney, Project Coordinator, Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning (COERLL), The University of Texas at Austin
The Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning (COERLL) just launched the Language OER Network (LOERN), a page on our website to list language educators who are creating, using, or promoting open educational resources (OER). Every person featured on the page receives an open digital badge from COERLL. In this effort to acknowledge, validate, inspire, and connect open practitioners, we have already distributed badges to 41 teachers, librarians, and administrators.
We built the Language OER Network because we realized that more people than ever have started to understand what we do and are interested in getting involved in their own open projects. We are always thankful to hear from K-12 teachers and community college and university faculty who spend the extra time and energy to find the right open materials to support their students’ language proficiency. The Language OER Network exists to acknowledge this work.
Even though the open movement is gaining momentum, a large number of teachers and administrators either don’t know or misunderstand what OER is. Teachers who do advocate for openness often report that they are doing it alone. Badges provide teachers with proof of their accomplishments, to validate to their colleagues and employers that using and making OER is scholarly, creative work.
Language teachers (plus other staff, administrators, or students involved in OER for languages) can earn as many as six badges on the Language OER Network, for being either an OER Teacher, OER Master Teacher, OER Creator, OER Master Creator, OER Reviewer, or OER Ambassador. From what we’ve seen, this follows the natural progression that many people take, from the basic use of supplementary OER to the full involvement of sharing the benefits of OER with others. We hope that this set of badges will inspire people to keep opening up, eventually earning all six badges.
We would also love if people embarking on new open projects could look at this page and find others who have similar ideas, to connect with them and potentially collaborate. With the number of people pursuing OER right now, it’s likely that many of them are doing similar projects and could benefit from sharing ideas and resources.
Even though we are publishing the Language OER Network to benefit teachers, it benefits COERLL as well. LOERN will be a tapestry of open language education that will help us demonstrate what this multifaceted movement is all about. Since launching the page just days ago, we are excited to have already learned about new people and projects from across the country. We look forward to hearing from more open educators, and also hope that in the future we can find a way to acknowledge more types of open educational practices, which are just as important as open resources, but harder to quantify.
Do you know a language educator who should be featured on the Language OER Network?