OpenEd Week 2022 Highlight: Department Driven

As OpenEd Week continues, it’s clear that one week is not time enough to spotlight and recognize all of the energies and efforts directed towards opening education at Muhlenberg, in relation to open educational resources and open educational practices more broadly. Today, we’re recognizing the momentum in a department, Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, where the introduction of OERs across multiple courses connects up to a larger department commitment to foster open pedagogies.

In 2016, the Digital Learning Team at Muhlenberg began offering workshops to faculty and staff to raise awareness about open educational resources and the possibilities of this work at Muhlenberg, This included Tech Talks (one of the earliest opened Tech Talks: ) and a campus visit from Robin DeRosa who led a seminar and workshop for faculty and staff (archived here: ). In that early moment of the work, it was two professors of Italian who first approached us with an interest in creating their own digital textbook to align with their liberal arts pedagogical practice in a way that no commercial textbook was able to do. In supporting the efforts of Daniela Viale, Lecturer in Italian and French, and Dan Leisawitz, Associate Professor of Italian and director of Italian Studies, we have had opportunity to discover so much that informs our approach to collaboration and partnership with faculty interested in OER, as well as an approach that recognizes the transformative experiences of students who contribute their insights to OER development and iteration.


Welcome to Spunti: Italiano elementare 1 – a unique program authored by the Italian faculty of Muhlenberg College that takes the place of a traditional language textbook.  Spunti is a fully designed course available to all college instructor of Italian for use and adaptation…

…Spunti is a work in progress, and we would greatly appreciate any feedback, suggestions, and adaptations that anyone can give us.  Our hope for Spunti is that it can benefit from the input of Italian instructors and students from around the world.

A strong foundation of knowledge and experience has been critical to growing department-wide thinking about the value of open educational resources and practices. Alongside the development of OERs in Italian, French professor Eileen McEwan has developed and published her text, Paris à travers les pages, another example of OER co-creation with students, so well suited to the pedagogical context at Muhlenberg:

Paris through the Pages is the culminating project for an advanced level undergraduate French course that explores the images of Paris in literary works from the 17th to 20th centuries. As an open source book, it is intended to be re-used, revised, and repurposed by undergraduate students and academics in French studies.

In our current pedagogical learning community on open education this semester, no department is more strongly represented than Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, where open educational initiatives exist and are expanding in Italian, German, French, and Spanish. Together, they are helping to radically expand access, equity, and engagement in foreign language study at Muhlenberg, a general academic requirement for all students at the College. Their work to create and integrate more OERs contributes importantly to the wider College commitment to foster inclusive pedagogies.

Here are links to some of the OERs created in Pressbooks by faculty in Languages, Literatures, and Cultures:

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