|I have worked with the Teaching Centre at my university in order to obtain funding for an Open Education Resource (OER) project. Working with one of my instructors and a hired undergraduate student we designed, developed and created an OER website meant to support our English for Academic Purposes (EAP) program, and to to be shared with other ESL/ EAP students and instructors. I have had my staff pilot the resources in their classes and they have provided feedback on possible improvements. |
Our EAP programme has recently been reviewed and slightly restructured, moving us to a more paired skilled style of class. Our Communications class is now made up of various learned skills such as, listening, note-taking, speaking, presentation, and academic discourse skills. It is, of course, virtually impossible to find a text book that can cover all of these skills. It is also very cost prohibitive to have students purchase multiple text books for each of their levels of instruction. Therefore, we decided that developing a sit of OER that would be specific to our Communications class, focussing on presentation and academic discourse skills, would be beneficial and cost/time saving for our students, instructors and to our programme as a whole.
After interviewing several undergraduate students, we hired a mature student in the bachelor of education programme who has some overseas ESL teaching experience. We wanted to ensure that we hired someone with an interest in pedagogical methodology, who was technically savvy and had an interest in second language acquisition. We then tasked our student assistant with a) designing and developing our site in collaboration with the university's IT department b) gathering creative commons or OER resources that would be relevant to our project c) creating OER materials that we were unable to locate but would enhance our project d) incorporate OER materials that were provided by the instructors or me into our website. We then met regularly over the next 3 months while the student worked to gather, create and incorporate the OER resources that would be helpful to our programme. We then made the website available to our instructors (and the world wide web) in august, 2018.
I am presenting our OER resource at the ATESL (Alberta Teachers of English as a Second Language) conference in Edmonton, Alberta on October 13, 2018, with my colleague Adriana Monteiro Lima. We hope that at that time we can encourage other ESL/EAP educators to utilise more Open Education Resources in their own professional practices, and encourage them to use our website to this end. It is also our hope that we can create a community of OER in ESL/EAP users in our province.