Sustainable Funding Models for Creatives and Educators : an Open Course :async:

Erica Hargreave (StoryToGo / Ahimsa Media / BCIT / UBC), Lori Yearwood (StoryToGo / Ahimsa Media)

As innovative educators, we are living in exciting times as technology creates ever increasing opportunities for us to build and share open educational resources in different forms from immersive experiences (virtual reality / augmented reality / mixed reality) to digital video to transmedia to podcasting to games to mobile and e-learning ... and the list goes on. Creating these resources though, costs time and money.

In order to better understand both established and emerging funding / business models around the production and distribution of such open educational resources, our team of educators, storytellers, and technologists has been researching various funding models including the web monetization standard, grants / awards, foundation funding, crowdfunding, sponsorship / brand partners, traditional broadcast solutions, advertising, affiliate marketing, freemium models, and more to learn what makes open education, technology, and storytelling projects successful in each of these streams of funding. The team’s goal in doing this has been to create free and open resources in the form of vlogcasts and case studies with creators for other creators and educators to learn from, as they approach finding funding for their open educational resources.

The lessons learned from these interviews and case studies have been compiled into an open course exploring Sustainable Funding Models for Creatives and Educators, which shares the findings of our team’s research, including projects that have been successful and those that have not. This course examines what worked for these projects in their funding initiatives, and what did not; along with the rational of the creators in the decisions they made on which parts of their projects they made open, free, and / or accessible at a cost.

Extended abstract: OE_Global_2021_paper_129.pdf 📄

Activity Details

UNESCO OER Action Area: Sustainable OER
Format: Asynchronous Interactive Activity
Language: English


This activity can be completed at any time during (or after) the conference.

Instructions and materials for the activity will be added below by the authors. They will provide specific details on how to participate and what to share back as a response to the activity.

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Hello OE Global 2021!

Lovely to be virtually sharing with all of you!


Join us as we delve into brainstorming pathways to building Sustainable Funding Models behind our open projects.

Get started with contemplating the possibilities for your project with Unit 1 of this open access course: Sustainable Funding Course for Creatives, Educators and Technologists

This is a dynamic / living course that we will be growing, adapting, and evolving over times, as we add in the voices and experiences of the different creatives that we’ve been interviewing as a part of the Sustainable Funding Series for Creatives, Educators, and Technologists on their funding pathways. So please visit often to discover the latest Units and to learn through the successes and pitfalls of the creatives, technologists, and educators that we’ve interviewed.

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As you reflect on the questions on the Plan for Sustainable Funding course page, we encourage you to share some or all of your replies here, or even other queries that they begin to bring up.

We’d love to use this space to begin to help one another brainstorm and problem solve around finding sustainable funding solutions for your various projects.

Also knowing which funding solutions are of particular interest to you, will help guide us in prioritising future Unit to this open educational resource.


Over the past year as we’ve immersed ourselves in the Web Monetization Standard as Grant for the Web Grantees (to further build upon the Sustainable Funding Series), we’ve been increasingly getting excited about the potential Web Monetization holds for sustainably funding open educational materials, at the very least in the maintenance of them. To learn more about this potential, we invite you to our pre-recorded talk, Sustainable Funding Solutions in Open Education with the Web Monetization Standard and our open course, Understanding and Utilizing the Web Monetization Standard as a Creator and an Educator.


This course on Sustainable Funding Models is part of a journey that we began in 2019 as a way of addressing both our own team’s struggles with funding our projects and that of our media students. Initially sparked by Lori Yearwood, we used my Masters of EdTech to embark on this journey and create ourselves some deadlines under the guidance of David Porter. In the Spring of 2021, I reflected back on our journey thus far …