In keeping with the Athabasca University vision of being an open institution, with the generous support of Alberta Ministry of Innovation and Advanced Education through the Campus Alberta OER Initiative we are developing an Open Educational Resource (OER) based alternative to Beginner Spanish textbooks with the help of academics, graduate students, writers, artists and Hispanic community groups from across the country.
Focusing on using existing Open Educational Resources that are available under the Creative Commons license, the final product of this project will be adopted for first year Spanish courses at Athabasca University in the form of a digital text with full Learning Managment System (LMS) integration. This free, open and modular textbook will help Alberta students by reducing textbook costs, improving access, and facilitating inter‐institution articulation and credit transfer through the integrated use of existing OERs available worldwide and newly created OERs that reflect the values and needs of Canadian students. Our on‐line OER based textbook will provide substantial savings to all first‐year Spanish students throughout the province of Alberta and at any other institution that is interested in adopting the textbook/courseware reducing student costs of learning Spanish. As an added benefit due to the modular nature of the initial project and the fact that language education is a relatively static field, the materials will be current and appropriate for a fairly long time and can easily be used as supplemental materials if institutions decide to stay with their existing textbooks.
This textbook will comply with the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) Guidelines while aligning to the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Languages as articulated for the Spanish language in the Plan curricular del Instituto Cervantes as this is the general direction many Canadian institutions are exploring.
To provide value by reducing student costs for university level education in Spanish while ensuring current, high quality relevant content. The value proposition will be extended to all post‐secondary institutions in Canada serving to reducing student debt and to increase the value proposition of studying a 2nd language.
To enable autonomy through OERs that will provide independence from publishers in course design and delivery returning the pedagogical responsibilities to the inidividuals responsible for and in direct contact with students. Educational materials will be created by educators for educators.
To ensure consistency by encouraging adoption of a common textbook based on accepted language education standards which, with wide adoption, will facilitate transfers, articulation and collaboration between post‐secondary institutions.
To promote inter-institutional collaboration and participation in Open Educational Resource use and development. We will expand our model to courses beyond the first year and where possible we will supprt OER inititives in other disciplines across the humanities and social sciences.