|Since learning about OER about five years ago, it has been my mission to adopt and use them in my FL classroom. In my capacity as the Foreign Language Coordinator at my university (a position which is akin to being an assistant chair who develops the program they coordinate), I have made OER use, creation and adoption a central piece in program development. In addition to presenting on OER application recently, I am also writing my first Spanish language OER. My dedication and efforts have not only fundamentally changed my program but also inspired other programs in my department to implement OER as well. In my community, I have also helped an educationally focused community center implement OER in their Spanish teaching classes.|
In my department as the Foreign Language Program Coordinator (Arabic, Chinese and Spanish), I began my tenure implementing a complete OER transition for the program. I organized a Program-wide OER grant application and helped instructors and professors understand the benefits, resources and flexibility of using OER in our classrooms. I spearheaded a joining grant application for our entire program to implement and create OER and all were funded. Still, many people in other programs were skeptical or adamantly against OER. In the end, I not only won over the faculty in my program but also inspire the English Program to replicate my work and create and implement OER in their program as well. I am also currently writing my first OER for Spanish in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University.
Recently, I have given a presentation on how to address minority invisibility in the FL classroom through the use of OER as well as presented a poster in a digital humanities conference on using OER to diversify the Foreign Language classroom-- using current data, research and knowledge to combat prevalent racism and invisibility which we routinely see in the FL classroom. In my presentation, I discussed how the traditional content of the FL textbook usually makes invisible or furthers stereotypes of minoritized people in the target culture. Additionally, students in the classes can be alienated and are sold visions of the culture of the target language that do not reflect reality. In my poster presentation for the digital humanities conference as well as for my recent presentation, I promoted OER as well as provided tools and insights that authors could use in addressing the false theme of selling homogeneity in the foreign language class-- presenting the target culture as a monolith, homogenous entity and many times furthering colonial-based visions of target cultures like those in the Spanish-speaking world.
In my community in Katy, I reached out to a local Chinese community center Hua Xia in an effort to expand the knowledge of OER and Spanish learning. There, I helped to start the first Spanish language classes for those in the Katy community of all ages who wanted to learn, as well as design and build an OER-based curriculum. The impact is wider than just with the students. Their parents and peers have grown exponentially in not only awareness of OER in foreign language learning but also in using them. It is my hope that I may reach out tot he school board in the future to speak on the use of OER and teacher training to create FL OER that will speak to district, regional and national goals.
I consider myself to be early in the OER journey although for over 5 years I have implemented many different OER resources in classes, introduced them to other faculty and students and even begun the journey to creating one myself. Even so, I have had great impact in my university community in my program, department and campus. I am dedicated to OER implementation and creation as a means to fully and creatively educate our FL students.