Creating Sustainable Open Education

A few financial models of Open Education Resources:

  • Value Added – Free, charge for extra services like documentation or support
  • Freemium – Restricting some set of the features to only paying customers
  • Sponsorship – TV model
  • Producer Side Payment – Contributers pay to be included



Only two entities have resources to pay, Individuals or Institutions. Since we go back to being “free to anyone” that means we are looking for instutions to pay. But what are they getting for their money?

How to do it?

  • Value should have an existing budget line item
  • Value purchase should be only a few decisions makers
  • Value purchase decision should happen in a short time
  • Value should not dramatically increase your work or overhead

Considering Price Point and Market Size – Find out the highest price possible for this value and determine that amount that would need to be sold to make it. Can you support that kind of production/support?

The main way they have had success is with membership services. At the basic level, they rebrand and host the software for institutions. Above that, they provide more support. They can roll out a custom version in only minutes each.

One big lesson is that Search Engine Optimization is an imperative for both the business side and the mission side of most OERs. It needs to be found!

I would assume this also means that for an open source initiative to succeed, communication and PR in general is essential.


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