Building Sustainability

I thought I’d start a thread to discuss ways of building financial sustainability around the production of open educational resources.

This is a topic that I’ve been conducting interviews and building case studies exploring the business models behind the endeavours of different creatives, technologists and educators. In particular, I have been interested in the models for those that fall outside of the support of traditional institutions.

The first of these Case Studies is in this year’s Open Education Library, exploring the funding that Nicole Kang and David Li are creating around Elementari, an interactive, animated storytelling platform:

You can also view the first two interview below.

Elementari (Funding), My Dear Nicole Kang:

Creating a Social Economy, Maria Grazia Suriano on Crowdfunding and OER:

As a part of this research, I have also begun experimenting with the Web Monetization Standard, which I shall write up my preliminary findings on and share in the replies below, as it stands to hold a fair bit of potential.

How about you?

  • How are you creating sustainability into your projects?

  • What is your funding model(s)?

  • Have you seen a project that you think has done this in a clever way that you wish to highlight?

  • Where are you struggling in building sustainability and looking for solutions?

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Hi Erica,
Sorry for such a slow reply! I was getting around about how to do the research and interviews, still figuring out, but made some progress now.

Answers to your questions:

  1. I not a content creator yet, but I wanted to start creating educational content for the computer science fields. Specifically to engage more diversity in the fields and lower the perceptual and cultural barrier. Not there yet. But I don’t think I need to monetize this content but what I do want is ability to understand how the content is being used.

  2. I am a graduate computer science student in my second PhD year. I did not get funding for my main research, bit complicated story. But then I found about program which provides grants to graduate students when they are partner with industry. Even better yet, recently they allowed for students to have their own company. My husband have a consulting company for IT contracts. My husband also publish a book about technology and education way back in 2006? I don’t remember. This book was a collaborative book, with many connections in B.C., that is where he studied (TRU, Thompson Rivers University). Few years ago he went back to TRU to do an MBA and did a project on technologies that can improve knowledge sharing. We continued these discussions among ourselves and started to poke some of his connections out in the west (we are located in Toronto) that he has made during the collaborative book project. Now that I am doing my PhD, and Mitacs can provide some funding form me decided to start it pursue it more seriously. For Mitacs, if the student plays the role of the company the company, as is my case, then I have to be officially in incubator. This summer I have dedicated primarily to this project.

  3. The main challenges will be the cultural challenges. Currently I have focused on interviewing teachers in primary and secondary schools. They have a very different culture, one that is dominated by the Free Web culture. It is not their fault. Will I be able to create something that provides them value so that they can support content creators better, that is what I am trying to figure out. At the same time, I am talking to higher ED, and surprisingly, some of the mindset towards free content on YouTube is there too. It is a bit better because they are required to document their resources, but I have never came across a professor that reached out to a content creator to inform that they have used their content in class. Its one way-culture there to. The attitude is more of legal requirement then building the community up and support each other. check out this thread:

I hope to talked to you at some point in the near future. I find your interviews very valuable for my work. Would it be nice you knew that even if we never crossed paths and had indisputable proof of me using your work in a specific way, so that you could use this in your grants or promotion?