The evaluation and re-use of Open Educational Resources in language teaching – a case study

Pulker, Helene and Calvi, Anna (2013). The evaluation and re-use of Open Educational Resources in language teaching – a case study. In: OER13: Creating a Virtuous Circle, 26-27 Mar 2013, Nottingham, UK.



The use of digital resources to support language teaching and learning in higher education has become standard practice in recent years. A particular type of digital resources are Open Educational Resources (OERs), defined as: ‘…teaching, learning and research resources that reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property licence that permits their free use or re-purposing by others.’ (Atkins, et al., 2007). While the creation and uploading of OERs has been widely researched, there is little evidence about OERs’ evaluation and re-use by practitioners. This study investigates the criteria applied by language teachers, while evaluating OERs. It considers the type of changes most commonly made to the original resources, which had been purposely designed for a specific course and identifies the reasons for the changes made. The research is a case study based on four interviews with teachers of beginners French in a distance learning course, teaching online.

Although perhaps unsurprisingly, teachers look for easily accessible and downloadable materials, the findings show that even when resources meet all the criteria teachers are looking for (reliably sourced, interactive, student-centred) they nevertheless adapt the resources to fit not only their own teaching styles, but their approach and beliefs about online teaching.

This study is of relevance to course developers and language teachers who are interested in developing OERs that can cater for a range of objectives as well as a variety of teaching and learning styles.

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