One of the initial challenges that content creators face when deciding to make open educational resources and free to access content is the push back and advice to rethink their decision from more traditional content creators in their communities. Often releasing content as open educational resources and free to access content, does not fit with traditional funding models, and closes some distribution avenues for the content. Why then do the creators of open educational content persist and decide to move forward with their projects with the goal of making their content free to use?
This Case Study of the internationally award winning 4K documentary web series Naturally Ours (Hargreave & Yearwood, 2018) and the accompanying educational resources explores why the creators of this series made the decision to release the series for free on YouTube and are creating open educational resources for classroom teachers around the series. This was not a small decision for the team behind Naturally Ours to make, as a broadcast quality 4K series such as Naturally Ours cost tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars to create. The culture of broadcast television is also very control oriented, making it difficult for many in the traditional broadcast community to understand why anyone would create content of that quality and not only release it for free, but create open educational resources around it. To release the video content for free, effectively prevents the series from utilizing many traditional funding models for television shows, as well as traditional distribution channels. The creators took this risk, as it was an idea they believed in, a story they felt needed to be told to connect us as people and spread messages of love throughout the world, and in order to do that effectively, the project needed to be released in a way that people could access and utilize it for free. This risk was successful, as the first Season of Naturally Ours is now an internationally award winning documentary and web series (Hargreave, Yearwood, & Conlin, 2017), and ranked in the top 50 web series in the world for 2018 (Bassaget, 2018) and the top 7 web series in Canada for 2018. This risk has also helped the Naturally Ours team to create a funding model that will allow them to offer subsequent seasons of the series free to view and share, with accompanying open educational resources.
In this session, the series creators (and educators) share what they learned from the experience, how they strategically released Season 1 of the series to attract funding interest for both future seasons of the series and for the development of open educational resources around the series, and the funding model that is emerging for the series. In addition, they will share why they made the decision to make aspects of the project free to access, share and view, but not to alter (for protection of their documentary subjects) and other aspects of the project as free to alter and reproduce open educational resources.
Bassaget, J. (2018). 2018 Web Series World Cup Final Ranking. [online] Facebook. Available at: https://www.facebook.com/WebSeriesWorldCup/posts/2081109581950074 [Accessed 30
Hargreave, E., Yearwood, L., & Conlin, K. (2017). Naturally Ours : Rediscovering Canada’s Parks Web Series – Awards. [online] IMDB – Internet Movie Database. Available at: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7473434/awards?ref_=tt_awd [Accessed 30 Nov. 2018].
Hargreave, E., Yearwood, L., & Conlin, K. (2017). Naturally Ours: Salt Spring Island Documentary – Awards. [online] IMDB – Internet Movie Database. Available at: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt6462906/awards?ref_=tt_awd [Accessed 30 Nov. 2018].
Hargreave, E., & Yearwood, L. (2018). Naturally Ours, the Web Series. [online] Roamancing. Available at: https://roamancing.com/naturally-ours/ [Accessed 30 Nov. 2018].