Emerging themes: Institutional context-Teaching through the medium of Welsh

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Below you will find excerpts from conversations during project meetings and responses to reflexive tasks which touch upon the impact of institutional context (teaching through the medium of Welsh) on OERs.


1. Excerpt from Delyth and Dafydd's response to reflexive task 1 ("Introducing OERs")

The potential synergy between the development of Welsh Medium HE teaching and the OER agenda is very strong indeed. Welsh Medium teaching is undertaken across a number of HEIs in Wales and is particularly embedded in Bangor, Aberystwyth and Trinity St Davids. However, even in those institutions with a strong tradition of Welsh Medium teaching initiatives in the past have been piece meal and dependent on the active engagement and enthusiasm of a small number of Welsh speaking staff who are committed to delivering education in Welsh. This context is changing as the Welsh


Government has committed to the establishment of a Coleg Cymraeg Cenedlaethol, which will provide increased resources and national strategic planning for the development of Welsh Medium HE. As part of the emerging Welsh Medium agenda colleagues have become increasingly interested in developing and sharing Welsh Medium resources – and in securing an effective repository for material developed for particular courses that may be retained and / or reused in the future. The desire for a national gateway to such resources has led to the development of ‘Y Porth’ – a national blackboard system hosting a range of resources – both open and restricted. C-SAP funded social science resources are already available on the Porth. 


2. Excerpt from discussions during the partner meeting on 20 January 2011

Dafydd mentioned that in the Welsh medium context, colleagues are much more prepared to share as this is such a small community, also there is a sense that sharing resources is necessary to sustain the project of delivering university-level education in Welsh. Dafydd added that because there are so few resources in Welsh at the moment, there is a higher chance for reuse, but maybe a lower one for repurposing.


3.Excerpt from discussion between Richard Pountney (project consultant) and Dafydd (aimed at supporting partners' participation in reflexive tasks)

DT [Dafydd Trystan] suggests that there is a cultural context in which Welsh-speaking colleagues are more open to sharing (Institutional / Pedagogical Culture). Course are validated in Welsh (10% of student population are welsh speaking approx.) A Welsh speaking external examiner is needed for these circumstances. OERs are seen as a means by which the curriculum can be accessed and also to facilitate the development of Welsh Language skills (OER as curriculum delivery and content).


Also see as pertinent was the question of whether there were curriculum subjects that were specific to the Welsh medium (e.g. Identity and Nationalism) (OER and Curriculum Uniqueness). One approach being taken is 'pick and mix' where OERs can be used i) as core to a module ii) as a useful addition or resource or iii) accesssed by any student to develop skills. In the 'Elections in the UK' module for example, the rationale for an SPSS  OER is that they must be a) open (e.g. for staff/students who have not used the package before and b) bi-lingual (OER characteristics). Another example is the 'Law in Welsh' module taught collaboratively across 3 institutions in which assessments, lectures and seminars are in Welsh and texts are in English. The development of key texts in Welsh is ongoing (DT mentioned an early 1950s move to get political philosophy translated into Welsh) . In terms of the cultural context for developing OERs DT mentioned the French Canadian context as being similar to the Welsh situation. 



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