Transnational online discussions to foster open practices

Rossade, Klaus-Dieter (2013). Transnational online discussions to foster open practices. In: Beaven, Ana; Comas-Quinn, Anna and Sawhill, Barbara eds. Case Studies of Openness in the Language Classroom., pp. 137–148.



This case study reports on the outcomes of asynchronous task forums in an advanced language and culture course in the Department of Languages at the Open University (OU). In these task forums, distance learners have the opportunity to discuss a variety of topics that relate to the themes of the course and are closely embedded within the materials. Learners share their understanding and opinions immediately after they have worked through a particular resource or section in the materials. The examples and quotations are based on contributions from the 2011 cohort. One example, a forum discussion about what learners make of the term Heimat (homeland), revealed a high level of interaction between participants which was based on authentic personal experiences and required little teaching input. Even learners with lower than required levels of German contributed regularly and used the forums to try out target language discourse in the protected space of the course. The principles and examples presented here point to a successful open educational practice which is transferrable and could be turned into user-generated open educational resources themselves. The case study also discusses some of the technical and structural nuts and bolts of such task-based forums.

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