In an open research and development project with FLAX at the University of Waikato, we have developed domain-specific language learning collections, and game-based mobile apps and eReaders for Android devices, to support second language learning. Research contexts include English for Specific Academic Purposes, English for translation studies, and Massive Open Online Courses.
Open Data, Open Educational Resources (OERs) and Open Access (OA) publications provide a compelling opportunity for Computer and Mobile Assisted Language Learning (CALL, MALL) for support with second language learning. OERs and OA publications supply large corpora of linguistic material relevant to particular subject areas, including text, images, audio and video. Such domain-specific corpora can be automatically analysed and enriched by linking to larger open linguistic datasets, including those derived from Wikipedia and Google. Domain-specific OERs and OA documents are transformed into a flexible resource that learners can browse and query in order to extend their ability to understand the language used in authentic communication contexts, and to help them express themselves more fluently and eloquently in specific domains through formal written assessments and informal course communications.
To illustrate this idea, an existing open-source language-learning system, FLAX, is applied to Open Data, OERs, OA research and government publications, and openly licensed MOOC content for the development of domain-specific language collections. For demonstration purposes, I will use a single running example, the Law Collections in FLAX, but the approach is fully automated and can be applied to any language collection. These law collections in FLAX were developed due to the scarcity of reliable specific resources for learning legal English and include resources such as the 8.85 million-word British Law Reports Corpus (BLaRC), derived from openly published judicial decisions. I intend to demonstrate and discuss how our open research and resources development methodology for building domain-specific digital language collections can be shared across a variety of second language contexts for both online and offline use. I will also present an overview of a multi-site research study into how theses open Law Collections in FLAX have been successfully reused to support second language learning across traditional classroom-based English for Specific Academic Purposes and legal English translation programmes (the UK and Spain), and in MOOCs (edX with Harvard Law School and Coursera).