LangOER video series

Challenges of OER/OEP for language learning

Giulia Torresin and Katerina Zourou (Web2Learn) conducted a series of interviews with experts on Open Educational Resources (OER) and Practices (OEP) for language learning, as part of the activities of Work package 6 (opportunities and limitations of OER for language learning).
Some of the questions addressed are:

  • What is OER for you?
  • Do you believe that OER are appropriate in a language learning context?
  • Do you see possibilities of OER (re-)use in teacher-free learning contexts?
  • Are social networks a suitable means for OER uptake and expansion?

Data from expert interviews are analysed from a research angle, resulting in two research publications (more information here).



Anna Skowron, Academic teacher, Jan Dlugosz University, Czestochowa, Poland 


Carl Blyth,Associate Professor of French, Director of COERLL Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning, University of Texas at Austin


Ed Dixon , PhD,Director for Technology of Penn Language Center, USA


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Shona Whyte, Associate professor of English, interactive Technologies In Language Teaching, Université Nice Sophia Antipolistitle


Cristobal Cobo,Research Associate, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford 


 Fred Riley, Freelance, Nottingham, UK


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Teresa MacKinnon, Principal Teaching Fellow, Language Centre, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK


 Sylvi Vigmo, Department of Education, Communication and Learning, University of Gothenburg, Sweden


 Gosia Kurek, PhD, Jan Dlugosz University, Czestochowa, Poland 

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Kate Borthwick, Senior Academic Coordinator, University of Southampton, UK


Linda Bradley, PhD, University of Gothenburg, Sweden


 Alannah Fitzgerald, Open Fellow with the OER Research Hub, The Open University, UK

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Anna Comas-Quinn, Senior Lecturer in Spanish and Associate Head of Department of Languages in the Open University Milton Keynes (UK)

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 Teresa, MACKINNON  

Principal Teaching Fellow, Language Centre, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK

Teresa is an award winning language teacher and Certified Member of the Association for Learning Technology. She is experienced in technology enhanced learning design in secondary and higher education. 
Recent projects include the development of a ground breaking platform for online language learning, she curates CPD resources for language tutors. She researches and designs to find solutions supporting student-centred pedagogy. She was involved in the development of the National Language Standards (now National Occupational Standards), delivered specialist input into the Ofqual Vocational awards review.
Teresa is Vice Chair for external engagement and communications on the University Council for Modern Languages where she leads the online networks for this over-arching organisation for UK HEI language provision. An active advocate of computer-mediated communication, her report  was published by the Higher Education Academy.


Malgorzata (Gosia), KUREK

PhD, Jan Dlugosz University, Czestochowa, Poland

Dr Malgorzata Kurek is an Assistant Professor at Jan Dlugosz University and a teacher trainer long involved in designing and delivering blended and online teacher training sessions. Her research focuses on the use of technology in the context of language learning and teaching (CALL).

In her current research and publications she focuses on CALL task and syllabus design, online intercultural exchanges, open educational content and teacher training for CALL. She is also interested in multiliteracy pedagogy. Dr Kurek publishes regularly and disseminates her work at national and international conferences.

Websites: | 


Senior Academic Coordinator, Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies, University of Southampton

Kate Borthwick is a Senior Academic Coordinator for elearning within the Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies. She is an experienced EAP teacher, developer of online learning materials and an e-tutor, currently coordinates LLAS activity in relation to elearning, including running the annual elearning symposium.

She has managed a number of projects related to OER and oversees two repositories of OER for LLAS: LanguageBox and HumBox. She advises on elearning development within Modern Languages at the University of Southampton, and was the course designer for the University of Southampton/British Council FutureLearn MOOC: ‘Understanding Language: learning and teaching.’ Her research interests include OER and learning design.

Website:  | Twitter: @Kborthwick 



Senior Lecturer in Spanish and Associate Head of Department of Languages, The Open University Milton Keynes, UK

Anna leads work on Open Resources and Practices at the Department of Languages, The Open University, UK, where she headed the development of LORO, an open repository of teaching resources for language teachers and learners. She has researched and published in the areas of technology-enhanced, mobile language learning, and open educational resources and practices.

Anna has championed the embedding of open practices in several projects ranging from the collaborative writing of teaching materials, to the application of theatre and performance to language teaching, or the exploration of Open Translation tools and practices. She is one of the editors of Case Studies of Openness in the Language Classroom, the first book that collects language teachers' experiences of engaging with open resources and practices.

Websites:  |  |  |  |



Associate Professor of French, Director of COERLL Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning, University of Texas at Austin

Carl S. Blyth (Ph.D., Cornell University) is Associate Professor of French Linguistics and Director of the Center of Open Educational Resources and Language Learning (COERLL) at the University of Texas at Austin (USA). His research interests include computer-mediated discourse, corpus linguistics, cross-cultural, intercultural pragmatics, and pedagogical grammar.

He has published on metalinguistic awareness, native and nonnative role models for language learning, L2 narrative discourse, pedagogical norms, stance taking in interaction and open models for educational publishing.



Cristobal, COBO

Research Associate, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford, UK.
Director, Study Center - CEIBAL Foundation, Uruguay

Director of the Study Center – Ceibal Foundation in Uruguay. He coordinates research on knowledge sharing and the future of learning research projects. He works with a trans-disciplinar group of PhD specialised in areas of knowledge generation and transfer, digital skills, creativity, innovation and digital culture. Dr. Cobo currently serves on the board of the Global Open Educational Resources Graduate Network and on the ‘Open Education 2030’ board (European Commission).

Distinguished by the British Council of Economic and Social Research. He has a PhD “cum laude” at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and is co-author of the book “Invisible Learning”. His earlier book about Web 2.0 had 250,000 downloads. He has been a speaker in more than 25 countries (+2 TEDx) across 3 continents.

Websites:  |



Freelance, Nottingham

Fred is an e-learning professional who's been involved in languages (CALL) and healthcare education in UK universities since 1992. He has also been involved in EUROCALL  since the mid-90s. He has interest in both the technical development side of e-learning, and the teaching and learning (pedagogical) side - a CALL colleague called him a "para-academic". He speaks Italian well, French rustily, and Scots Gaelic to an intermediate level. He has a strong interest in OER. 




Open Fellow with the OER Research Hub (The Open University, United Kingdom), FLAX Language Project Educational Research and Development (University of Waikato, New Zealand), PhD Candidate in Educational Technology (Concordia University, Canada)

Alannah is an open education practitioner and researcher working in the area of technology-enhanced English language education. She is also a doctoral candidate in Educational Technology at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada and a member of the Global Open Educational Resources (OER) Graduate Network (GO-GN).

Her doctoral thesis work with the FLAX Language Project, supported by The International Research Foundation (TIRF) for English Language Education and the OER Research Hub at the UK Open University (OU), is investigating the design, development and evaluation of flexible open language resources for uses in informal online learning and in traditional face-2-face classroom-based learning. 

Website:  |  Blog: Twitter: @AlannahFitz | Slideshare: AlannahOpenEd 

Shona, WHYTE

Associate professor of English, interactive Technologies In Language Teaching (, Université Nice Sophia Antipolis

Shona has held a teaching and research position at the University of Nice (France) for the past 20 years, teaching EFL and TEFL, and researching classroom interaction and teacher integration of interactive technologies. She led the French team in the European lifelong learning project iTILT (2011-13) on interactive whiteboards in the foreign language classroom, producing a collective volume for teacher education (co-edited with Euline Cutrim Schmid, Bloomsbury) and a monograph on teacher implementation of innovation (Palgrave Macmillan).

A follow-up Erasmus+ project with other interactive technologies (iTILT 2) will provide opportunities to research task design, live communication with young learners, and social media in teacher development.

Her courses and projects can be accessed at and her academic blog at She curates resources for teacher education in languages with technology is @whyshona on Twitter.



Jan Dlugosz University, Czestochowa, Poland

Anna is an academic teacher of English (JDU, Czestochowa, Poland) long involved in the teaching of academic-level grammar classes. She is interested in incorporating new technologies in traditional classroom to bridge the gap between accuracy and fluency. Currently, she is working on her PhD where she concentrates on openness in education and the attitude towards openness in different cultures.

Twitter: @ankaskowron


University of Gothenburg LangOER, Sweden

Linda Bradley is a Senior Lecturer working with language learning in engineering education. She holds a PhD in education within the area of digital technology and learning. In her thesis from 2013, the focus was student collaboration, communication and intercultural learning in web-based environments within English for Specific Purposes (ESP) in higher education. She has a great interest in Open Educational Resources and open learning.



Sylvi, VIGMO 

Department of Education, Communication and Learning, University of Gothenburg

Sylvi Vigmo is a PhD, Senior Lecturer in pedagogy at the Department of Education, Communication and Learning, at the University of Gothenburg. Her area of expertise is grounded in a particular interest in learners’ agency in which ICT afford boundary-crossing activities, to include viewing people’s learning as belonging to digital media ecologies.

This implies in turn, the acknowledgement of challenges of existing and emerging ICT, and the need to explore beyond a biased view on education as instructional. Vigmo’s expertise is grounded in research in the learning sciences, methodological approaches for implementation and evaluation of ICT for learning, and for potential implications of this changing learning landscape.

Websites: |


Ed, Dixon 

Penn Language Center, University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) , USA

Ed Dixon Ph.D. is Director for Technology of Penn Language Center and former president of the Northeast Association for Language Learning and Technology. He is active in a variety of areas related to classroom instruction, faculty support and research. In 2013, he designed a Foreign Language Certificate in Instructional Technologies and Online Learning. In 2010, Ed taught the first fully online language course for credit from the University of Pennsylvania and in 2011 received Penn's prestigious affiliated faculty teaching award for distinguished teaching in the College of Liberal and Professional Studies.

In 2011, he edited a special monograph for the International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments (IJVPLE; Volume 3: Issue 3 (2012). His proposal with co-author Michael Thomas was selected by CALICO's Editorial Board for the 2015 CALICO Monograph. In 2014, he designed the first language-learning MOOC for German on the Coursera platform. Ed presents regularly at regional and national conferences on the use of participatory networks for language teaching and learning.



Additional information
The LangOER team through WP6 leader (Katerina Zourou) conducted a study on the role of OER/OEP to enhance language interaction and peer support.
The study stimulates the debate around three topics: a) appropriateness of OER for language learning; b) affordances of OER for language interaction and c) role of social networking in OEP in a language learning context.
Expert views were gathered through video interviews (see above) and through replies to an online questionnaire. Two publications are in progress:

  • Zourou, K. 2016, to appear. Social networking affordances for open educational language practice. Learning, culture and social interaction.
  • Zourou, K. 2016, to appear. Identity and engagement in networked Open Educational Practice. International Journal of Applied Linguistics (InJAL).


In addition, a collection of research papers on Social dynamics in Open Education Language Practice is being prepared for the Learning, Culture and Social Interaction journal (Elsevier), as part of the same work package (6).


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