Open Educational Resources and the Future of the Language Textbook

Open Educational Practices and the Future of the Language Textbook
Christian T. Hilchey
University of Texas at Austin

Much of our experience as language instructors involves the use of closed materials, whether in the form of copyrighted textbooks, workbooks, or media such as popular music and film. Foreign language instructors have embraced the widening availability of internet media resources as a way of enhancing instruction. However, not all media resources are licensed equally and copyright concerns are often an impediment to sharing materials built using these media resources more broadly. How can we encourage sharing of materials and development of rich curricula that meet the needs of our students and foster proficiency?

This workshop will begin with a presentation of Reality Czech, an open curriculum currently under development at the University of Texas at Austin. I will discuss the rationale for creating an open textbook as well as some of the ways using open resources has shaped the trajectory of the curriculum. I will argue that open resources can not only meet the needs typically met by copyrighted works, but often represent a better option for both instructors and students. Valuable openly licensed content is easily accessible, often with minimal searching. We will discuss strategies for discovering rich and usable materials on common media repositories and search engines (Google, Wikimedia, Flickr, Forvo, Pixabay, Youtube, etc.) as well as discuss various methods for editing them and integrating them into our courses. Finally, we will examine various types of content delivery, focusing on freely available programs and websites for effectively disseminating what we adapt and/or produce, such as Google Docs, Canvas, Quizlet, Flickr, Youtube, etc.

This workshop will be interactive and participants will have the opportunity to test out techniques themselves, as well as discuss various issues surrounding the use and development of Open Educational Resources.

Christian Hilchey is a lecturer in the Department of Slavic and Eurasian studies. He received his PhD in Slavic Languages and Linguistics from the University of Chicago in Spring 2014 and has taught at the University of Texas since the Fall of 2014. He has taught Czech language classes at UT from Beginning to the Advanced level (1st-5th year Czech). His interests include language teaching pedagogy and is currently finishing an online open curriculum Reality Czech along with the Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning (COERLL).