Open Educational Resources and Language Teachers' Professional Practice: A Case Study of Engagement With OER

Beaven, Tita (2015). Open Educational Resources and Language Teachers' Professional Practice: A Case Study of Engagement With OER. EdD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000f007

Abstract

Open Educational Resources (OER) are educational materials that are in the public domain or published with an open license. The OER lifecycle involves users locating, adapting, reusing and sharing OER. In the past fifteen years considerable funding has been devoted to creating OER repositories; however, it appears that the promise of OER has not been fully realised, and the anticipated adoption, reworking and sharing has had only limited success. There have been very few studies of 'real world' reuse of OER, and there have been questions about whether reuse is indeed occurring at all.

This case study explores engagement with OER from a specific OER collection, LORO (Languages Open Resources Online, www.loro.open.ac.uk), by teachers on two blended beginners' language courses at The Open University, UK. It fills a gap in research by investigating the teachers' practices in order to ascertain whether they follow the steps in the OER lifecycle, as this might have a positive influence in their teaching. The research also seeks to understand the often tacit professional knowledge that teachers draw on when engaging with OER, as it has been argued that, through open educational practices, this tacit knowledge can be made explicit, and therefore useable and shareable, and thus contribute to enhancing teaching quality.

The study found that teachers engage with the steps of the OER lifecycle: they find and reuse resources in their teaching, and adapt them to suit their specific requirements. Most of the teachers in the study mix resources they find with others they create themselves. Although they do not share them back through LORO, they do share them through other, less public means, especially with colleagues and students. Some of the teachers' cognitive, affective and systemic tacit professional knowledge was also made explicit, a first step towards making it usable and shareable.

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