OER1112 Oral Presentation ppt

Thursday 12 May 14.00 Cockcroft Theatre

The Community café OER project: Tea, cake and teaching resources

Kate Borthwick & Alison Dickens, University of Southampton

Conference Theme: Collaboration and communities

Abstract: The Community Café project is a collaboration between the University of Southampton, Southampton City Council and Manchester Metropolitan University. It was funded by the JISC to create, publish online and share a collection of digital resources for community languages teachers in the Southampton area. The project addressed a particular problem: the scarcity of up-to-date, online resources for community languages. Community languages are defined as "…languages spoken by members of minority groups or communities within a majority language context" (Cilt). The Southampton area, for example, is home to a wide range of community languages, including Gujarati, Bengali, Chinese, Afghan Farsi, Punjabi, Polish and Urdu. These languages are often learnt in informal situations rather than within the mainstream education system and have historically been undervalued by society. Teachers of these languages are often reliant on creating their own materials as a range of teaching resources in these languages is not available. Materials that do exist are often of inconsistent quality, unsuitable for their local, UK context, and are paper-based. Teachers also have limited access to training for the creation and repurposing of material, as they operate outside of the mainstream system and receive very little funding for their activities. In short, this was a community group who could benefit greatly from access to open resources; training in using technology in teaching; increased numbers of OERs and the networking possibilities social media sites offer to make contacts with other teachers across the UK. This presentation will describe the mix of informal and formal methods used to successfully engage the community languages group in Southampton. It will expand on the collaboration between this group and the university and will include a demonstration of the materials collected and the online site that was used to extend the project to other local teaching groups beyond the Southampton area. It will reflect on the issues, challenges and pleasures of building an online community alongside a collection of open educational resources, with a group entirely new to OERs and the concepts and issues surrounding their use and creation.

Keywords: OER; community; collaboration; languages; repository


National Centre for Languages: http://www.cilt.org.uk/community_languages.aspx

Community Languages in Higher Education: Towards realising the potential, (2008) report by Joanna McPake and Itesh Sachdev for the Routes into Languages project