'Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe' open educational resources selection for English language skills proficiency at the University of the South Pacific

Neelam Narayan and Alanieta Lesuma-Fatiaki
The University of the South Pacific

Sura, Fiji

Open educational resources (OER) are increasingly being considered as a means through which the learning and teaching experience is enhanced, thus ensuring successful outcomes for both learners and teachers. According to A Basic Guide to OER (COL and UNESCO 2011), OER are continuously being added on a weekly basis which presents an overwhelming challenge for potential OER users in selecting suitable ones within a reasonable timeframe. The University of the South Pacific (USP) is owned by 12 member countries in the Oceania region which serves more than 20,000 students. English is the official language of instruction at the USP, but students who attend the institution are mostly second or third language speakers of the English language (Mugler 1996, 273), and providing appropriate and just-in-time support presents a grave challenge. The Centre for Flexible Learning (CFL) of the USP resorted to OER as a possible solution to this issue.

This paper focuses on the criteria utilized for selecting appropriate OER based on feedback solicited from English language skills support personnel and CFL staff of the USP. In addition, it highlights other factors, such as licensing types and design viability, and these were further substantiated through tests conducted in six of the 12 member countries of the USP where students were expected to use these OER. It also discusses issues that arose related to the criteria being used. In conclusion, the paper outlines recommendations for improving OER selection which could be of value to education providers globally for choosing OER in general or specifically for English language skills proficiency.