OER14 homeApplication › Mrs Anna Comas-Quinn

Reconceptualising professional development through open resources and practices

Tuesday 11:00-12:30 (3), Darwin Suite

Type: Lightning talk

Theme: Academic practice, development and pedagogy

#oer14 #abs44


Mrs Anna Comas-Quinn, Lecturer in Spanish and Associate Head of Department, Department of Languages, Faculty of Education and Language Studies, The Open University, UK, [email protected]


Professional development for online language teaching is often excessively focused on technical and pedagogical skills, neglecting the fact that learning to teach online can have a transformational impact on teachers’ professional identity. To support teachers adequately in their transition to online language teaching a more ‘holistic approach’ (Wang, Cheng and Levy, 2010) is advocated, built on practice, reflection and collaboration, with an emphasis on self-awareness, identity formation and personal development.

Embedding Open Educational Practices (OEP) into professional development can create valuable opportunities for self-reflection and collaboration, and is starting to be recognized as a powerful tool for ‘surfacing’ implicit models of teaching and learning (Casey, 2013) and for encouraging and supporting changes in pedagogy. Openness can take the form of sharing resources (Borthwick & Dickens, 2013), joining online communities for support and discussion around practice (Dale, 2011) or using social media and open publishing to showcase and disseminate one’s work. All these activities exemplify an approach to professional development in which teachers are the main agents in their own learning, and their classrooms and practice the main ‘sites for professional learning’ (Johnson, 2006).

Language teachers at the Department of Languages at The Open University have been accessing and sharing teaching resources through LORO (http://loro.open.ac.uk), an open online repository, since 2009. The change in practice encouraged by the use of LORO has paved the way for the integration of openness in a range of professional development activities in which exposure to different pedagogies, and discussion and collaboration around the creation of open resources have acted as a catalyst for pedagogical reflection and learning.

This paper discusses the various roads into openness that teachers might choose to walk, and reports on the benefits to institutions and individuals that result from the inclusion of OEP in professional development activities for language teachers.


Borthwick, K. and Dickens, A. (2013). The community café: open practice with community-based language teachers. In Beaven, A., Comas-Quinn, A., & Sawhill, B. (eds) Case Studies of Openness in the Language Classroom. Dublin; Voillans: Research-Publishing.net, 85-95. Available from: http://research-publishing.net/publications/2013-beaven-comas-quinn-sawhill/. [Accessed 23 November 2013].
Casey, J. and Turner, N. (2013). Developing learning design for OERs in art colleges: the institutional benefits, OER13. Available from: http://www.medev.ac.uk/oer13/97/view/. [Accessed 23 November 2013].
Dale, J. (2011). If you build it, they will come. The rise and rise of the MFL Twitterati. Available from: http://www.slideshare.net/joedale/if-you-build-it-they-will-come-the-rise-and-rise-of-the-mfl-twitterati.[Accessed 23 November 2013].
Johnson, K.E. (2006). The sociocultural turn and its challenges for second language teacher education. TESOL Quarterly, 40(1), 235-57.
Wang, Y., Chen N-S. and Levy, M. (2010). The design and implementation of a holistic training model for language teacher education in a cyber face-to-face learning environment. Computers & Education, 55, 777-788.


Recap recording

A recording of this presentation is available to view at https://campus.recap.ncl.ac.uk/Panopto/Pages/Viewer/Default.aspx?id=bd7e096a-9a82-59cc-23d6-b606202707c8 ©The Open University 2014 Anna Comas-Quinn cc-by 4.0.

Further details

Keywords: academic practice, professional development, open educational practices, OEP, LORO, language teaching

Mrs Anna Comas-Quinn, Associate Head of Department, The Open University

Twitter abstract: Openness as a catalyst for pedagogical reflection