|I co-authored an OER Spanish textbook to be used in first-year Spanish courses at Portland State University. The project was led by Jenny Ceciliano, the First-year Spanish Coordinator. Work was supported by grants through the PSU library and the department of World Languages and Literatures. I was initially invited on as a research assistant, identifying existing OERs that could be incorporated into the text. Identifying works that were appropriate for introductory level students, applicable for adult learners, and also attentive to diversity, equity, and inclusion needs was challenging but necessary. We wanted to ensure a broad range of voices and perspectives were included besides our own and I believe we met that goal. The final text includes over 100 videos, texts, images, and recordings from outside sources. |
After research work was complete, I was asked to co-author the text. I assisted with writing new materials that would cohesively link content and successfully guide students through their first year of Spanish learning. The final text, “Beginning Spanish, ¡Empecemos por aquí!” (CC-BY-NC), focuses on ACTFL Interpretive, Interpersonal, and Presentational communication skills while centering student voice. Activities engage students in real exchange of information on topics that are relevant to adult students. In addition to language acquisition learning outcomes, this text supports learning outcomes in diversity and inclusion, cultural sustainability, and social justice. The book will be published as an open text through PDXOpen in fall 2021.
Since beginning this project I have co-authored a forthcoming article, “Fulfilling a Wish List: Creating an OER Beginning Spanish textbook and curriculum” through Second Language Research and Practice. I have co-presented about the project at the 2020 Symposium on Language Pedagogy in Higher Education; about the curriculum built around the text at the 2021 Foreign Language OER Conference; and about how OER meets Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion goals at PSU’s 2021 Open Education Week panel. I was named a 2021 OER Champion for “Open Pedagogy, Equity, & Social Justice” by Open Oregon.
As an adjunct instructor, working with OERs has given me power to impact curriculum in new ways. I feel proud of the work we’ve done. Besides improvements in the curriculum, the textbook saves our students roughly $150,000 a year which makes our program more accessible. Another benefit of OER is that as disability accommodations change we are able to quickly modify our text to meet the needs of our students.