UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

08/02/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 08/03/2021 03:39

Post pandemic learning: Exploring sustainable Open Education Resources (OER) business models

Experts from all over the world shared crucial information and wide-ranging good practices regarding the sustainability of OER models. The various interventions focused on the funding and business models of OER; innovative and inspiring practices that are driving the evolution of sustainable OER; creation and catalyzing of models that would ensure that OER access is not shifted to individual educators and students.

Dr Tel Amiel, Professor at the School of Education, University of Brasilia, gave an overview of business and reciprocity models that ensure OER sustainability. Dr Amiel illustrated these models with examples of successful online structures in the entertainment industry, MOOCs and media: extra services and advertising provided by Lumen, Coursera and Open Spotify; subscription by Le Monde diplomatique and Donations (Open Stax); and recognition by Flickr and Wikipedia.

Dr Ahmed Tlili, Co-Director of the OER Lab at Smart Learning Institute of Beijing Normal University, presented a study co-authored with Daniel Burgos, Fabio Nascimbeni, Ting-Wen Chang, Ronghuai Huang and Xiangling Zhang (2020): The evolution of sustainability models for Open Educational Resources: insights from the literature and experts.(link is external)This study, which supports the call of the OER Recommendation for more research on OER sustainability, ranked the top 10 models as follows:

  • public funding;
  • internal funding;
  • endowments;
  • donations;
  • OER Networks;
  • offering services to learners;
  • relying on OER authors;
  • community-based model;
  • production of OER on demand;
  • sponsorship and offering learning-related data to companies.

Dr Tilly Jensen, Professor in Accounting and expert in Digital Learning Technologies at the Faculty of Business, Athabasca University, highlighted the cost savings generated by her students using OER. 'If one person can save €2.8 million, what can all educators around the world do,' she stated. Dr Jensen emphasized the importance of having OER champions, who are rewarded and recognized through financial incentives. In this regard, she stressed the need for peer networks for OER assessment, support from higher education institutions' leadership to OER and transparency while advocating for a global paradigm shift to legitimize OER, both top-down and bottom-up.

This webinar is part of a series of knowledge and experience sharing sessions initiated within the framework of the UNESCO OER Dynamic Coalition activities, which aim to support the implementation of the UNESCO OER Recommendation, facilitate networking and create synergies in the different areas of its action.