#OpenEd18: Achieving Sustainable Innovation for OER Models

#OpenEd18: Achieving Sustainable Innovation for OER Models

Donna Desrochers from RPK Group and Mark McBride from SUNY System Administration presented on developing sustainable open educational resource (OER) models. They focused on building a framework for OER pathways. This presentation provided me with some ideas on how to create a sustainable model.

Desrochers began the presentation. She focused on two elements: sustainability and infrastructure. To sustain OER, you must have time and money. In terms of infrastructure, one must create policies and procedures.

Vision + Skills + Incentives + Resources + Action Plan = Change

OER is a vehicle for innovation. However, innovation without a return on investment cannot be sustained.

To make OER successful and sustainable, it must be weaved into day-to-day operations. One must consider what happens when funding dries up. You have to plan for the day when grants dry up.

Desrochers outlined three areas of focus:

  • Resources
  • Infrastructure
  • Culture


In order to access additional revenue, you must find new monies or reallocate funds. Funds can be found through fees or tuition dollars from student success (increased enrollment).

You can also lower existing costs by finding efficiencies, investing in internal expertise, or leveraging system or community resources.


Infrastructure is broken down into four elements:

  • Policies
  • Processes
  • Platforms
  • People

Things to consider when developing policies is course expectations, adopting or creating content, and licensing guidelines.

When developing processes, think about implementation and review, establishing common frameworks and tools, job responsibilities, and incentives such as stipends. They also noted the role of OER faculty fellows to help with adoption and adaptation.

In terms of platforms, you will want to consider tagging OER courses in catalogs and possibly on the LMS. Additionally, you may want to think about a repository for your OER content.

Finally, when considering people, look for individuals to fill these roles: OER Champion, administration and faculty roles, and a support unit. You do not want to create a single point of failure when the responsible individual leaves or changes roles.


Culture plays an important part in change management. OER adoption must align with the college’s vision and strategy.

There also needs to be key performance indicators created to ensure there is a return on investment. How do we know this initiative is working? How do we know when to scale or pivot?

Additionally, how will you be getting the word out? Is there a student marketing campaign? Is there a campus communication effort established to discuss OER? Is there an open campaign? How do the students know about OER? One of the things I would like to do is add a category on the TEI blog focused on OER. We will also be adding a Blackboard announcement explaining how to identify OER and its meaning.

There is a lot to consider to keep this OER effort going.

Stan Skrabut, Ed.D.

Stan is Director of Technology-Enhanced Instruction. He has over 20 years experience working as an instructional technologist and trainer. He has a master’s degree in computing technology in education and a doctorate in education specializing in instructional technology.

Twitter LinkedIn Google+ YouTube Skype 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *