In the Netherlands, teachers do have access to high quality online educational materials, often provided for by the publishing sector, additional to the purchased educational materials in printed form by the school. These online educational materials however, are not open. Teachers in general are however enthusiastic about the online teaching materials which are purchased by the school, as they are of high quality and can be used on their Digibords. In the Netherlands, a clear challenge thus exist in raising awareness of the benefits of Open Educational Resources (OER) and the concept of Open Educational practice (OEP) as an alternative or complementary to the online materials purchased by the schools, which are not open.
The Mercator Research Centre, part of the Fryske Akademy and coördinator of the langOER project, adressed this by organising training session in the Netherlands, which was hands-on centred and allowed the participants to work towards a common goal. We choose to set-up a training structure to work in a collaborative form towards an endproduct: a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for Frisian, as a form of OEP. Teachers were asked to join a working group for the MOOC. Either working on the: lessonplan, addressing the target audience or working on the didactical approach of the MOOC. In this way the participants received a hand-on experience of the concept of open education and truly open educational practice and it’s added value to the eductaion sector and the wider community. The added value of a MOOC for the Frisian language, was an important motivation for the teachers as well (predominantly teaching the Frisian language or teaching some subjects in Frisian) to learn on OER and OEP. One of the first topics in the first training session for example was: Wat to know about copyright and creative commons licensing before creating a MOOC? (organized by Lisette Kalshoven, Creative Commons Netherlands / Kennisland). Expertise was also delivered by the University of Groningen, which worked towards a MOOC for Dutch, with over 30.000 subscribers. More information can be found here.
Thus, working towards a Frisian MOOC to raise awareness of the benefits of OER and OEP for teachers was beneficial. Next to that, this approach had several positive side effects as well:
– Working towards a MOOC for the Frisian language gives a substantial contribution in working on raising awareness for the Frisian language as mentioned, an important motivation of the teachers to attend the training:
- 2nd or 3rd generation Frisian emigrants living in Australia, New Zealand or for example the Unites States (US) and Canada could decide to learn the mothertongue of their ancestors;
- Students from abroad attending the NHL ( University of Applied Sciences in Leeuwarden, Province of Friesland) or are following the Master Multilingualism in Leeuwarden at the University Campus Fryslân, could learn the official second language of the Province of Fryslân;
- Immigrants in Fryslân can get acquinted with the Frisian language and culture;
- Toerist interested in the Frisian language can follow the MOOC, to for example no the basics on getting around in the province and using the language during their stay in Friesland.
- all over Europe, especially students in English and Dutch could learn more on the Frisian language, which belongs to the same language family as English and is very close to old English. Students from the University of Warsaw where they can study Dutch, were very interested in learning more on the second official language in the Netherlands, namely Frisian.
Concluding, as a result of the teacher training in the Netherlands, teachers became aware of the added value of OER and OEP and are more likely to use OER in the future, eventhough they have access to high quality online material. Next to that, Creative Commons licinsing and copyright issues in relation to using online material was an eye-opener for the participants. Often when they for example look for images, to use in the class room, they were not fully aware of what to know about copyright and creative commons licensing. In that respect the training had high impact. Using a bottum-up and open approach towards creating a MOOC, proved to be a succesfull approach in engaging teachers in learning on OER and OEP. For the MOOC itself it proved to be beneficial as well. The MOOC is very much tailored towards the target groups; takes into account the student perspectives; took into account the various ideas about the didicatical approach; and the materials and structure of the first lessonplan of the MOOC was reviewed by practicioners in the field. This initiative received considerable attention by other institution in the North of the Netherlands (University of Applied Sciences (NHL, Leeuwarden), University of Groningen and the Afûk) and the aim to work further in finishing other lessonplans for the Frisian MOOC as well.