The collaborative creation of open educational materials as a pedagogical practice and act of resistance

March 15, 2021

Brook Danielle Lillehaugen
March 12, 2021

This is the eleventh in a series of blog posts** by participants in the 2019 ACLS Digital Extension Grant project “Ticha: advancing community-engaged digital scholarship” (PI Lillehaugen) published on GlobalSL / Community-based Global Learning Collaborative and Ticha. Previous blog posts are available here: (1) Lillehaugen/January 2020; (2) Flores-Marical/February 2020; (3) Kawan-Hemler/March 2020; (4) Lopez/July 2020; (5) Kadlecek/1 August 2020; (6) García Guzmán/15 August 2020; (7) Park/September 2020; (8) Zarafonetis/October 2020, (9) J. Lopez/Nov 2020, (10) Velasco Vasquez/February 2021.

**We’re thrilled to announce that our 2020 blog series was awarded Best DH Blog Post or Series of Posts by the 2020 DH Awards! Thanks you for support!

This month a team of 15 individuals involved in the creation of Caseidyneën Saën presented a paper entitled “Caseidyneën Saën: The collaborative creation of open educational materials as a pedagogical practice and act of resistance” at the International Conference on Language Documentation & Conservation. Normally held in Hawai’i, this year the conference was online, which allows us to share the recording of our talk with a larger audience. 

Caseidyneën Saën is a set of open educational resources on Colonial Zapotec funded by an ACLS grant and created by a team including activists, educators, academics, and students (as described in Lillehaugen/January 2020 and Flores-Marical/February 2020). Zapotec languages (Otomanguean) are indigenous to Oaxaca and are also spoken in diaspora communities, including in the greater Los Angeles area (see e.g. J. Lopez/Nov 2020 and Velasco Vasquez/February 2021). Historical forms of Zapotec are found written in an expansive corpus written during the Mexican Colonial period. The online, digital resource Ticha (https://ticha.haverford.edu) makes these manuscripts accessible to the public by providing open access to high-resolution images, transcriptions, translations, linguistic analysis, and historical context. The continued development of Ticha is embedded in community centered pedagogical practices and committed to co-creation with Zapotec individuals and pueblos. In Caseidyneën Saën, a collection of public-facing teaching materials, we use the resources available on Ticha to teach about Zapotec language, culture, and intellectual history.

In this talk we interrogated the relationships needed to develop interdisciplinary work with impact and reach beyond the academy. We demonstrated how projects like ours can serve pedagogical purposes while at the same time providing intentional resistance work. For example, our project facilitated community-building among language activists from different Zapotec-speaking communities, especially through workshops created to ensure that these teaching materials are accessible to and reflect the lived reality of Zapotec community members. Originally planned to be in person, these workshops shifted online due to COVID (see Lopez/July 2020 and García Guzmán/15 August 2020); feedback from these workshops were critical in the revision of each chapter. 

Interdisciplinary work is naturally a learning environment for all involved and can serve an explicit pedagogical role. For example, undergraduate student collaborators on the project attest to the development of skills in linguistics, translation, curriculum development, and multilingual collaboration while witnessing and participating in work that centers Zapotec knowledge and authority, something they had not previously seen in higher education. Watch the talk below!

Talk can be cited as: Broadwell, George Aaron, Janet Chávez Santiago, Laura Curiel, Xóchitl M. Flores-Marcial, Moisés García Guzmán, Rogelio Hernández Sernas, Eloise Kadlecek, Collin Kawan-Hemler, Brook Danielle Lillehaugen, Felipe H. Lopez, Edith Matías, Yaneth Molina, May Helena Plumb, Ignacio Santiago, and Maria Velasco-Vasquez. 2021. Caseidyneën Saën: The collaborative creation of open educational materials as a pedagogical practice and act of resistance. 7th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation, Honolulu, March 2021. Online: https://youtu.be/4AmOX0skxXI.

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