Much of the growth of the open education movement has been driven by one time grants that provide special purpose funds. These grants are in addition to regular operational funds, are for a fixed duration of time, and specify a set of expected deliverables. When the grant period and special funding ends, open education activities frequently diminish or end completely and there is a return to business as usual without full realization of the benefits open education can provide.
To realize the full potential of open education and transition it from an innovation into an ongoing mainstream activity discussion requires a focus on sustainability. Often discussion of sustainability becomes conflated with economic models and business models. This open space will unpack the economics of open in ways that provide a more nuanced way of talking about and creating sustainable open education.
This 60 minute open space hands-on session engages participants in using economic and business models to construct a sustainable future for their open education initiative.
Open education initiatives will be characterized as hybrids of market, state, and commons and participants will be invited to define the extent to which their own open education initiatives are hybrids. They will also define which aspects of their open education initiatives are operating on the basis of being market, state or commons based and assess the extent to which these different modes of operating are currently being implemented and optimized. Participants will be invited to self-assess the commons aspects of their initiatives against a set of behaviours that provide guidance on the norms associated with commoning. Sustainable open education involves not just funding but changes in social processes. The differences between giving, lending, sharing, and communing will be used to better illustrate these changes.
The economics of open and digital abundance will be contrasted with the economics of closed and physical scarcity. Participants will be invited to define the digital and physical parts of their open education initiative and assess the extent to which they are leveraging the potential of abundance.
Open business models from education and other sectors, derived from case studies in the presenters book, Made With Creative Commons, will be used as the basis for showing how going open can still involve generating revenue. Participants will be invited to use these existing successful open business models to evaluate their own approaches to financing their open education efforts. Open approaches often generate value without involving money. Participants will be asked to consider how they are creating and benefiting from non-financial value generation.
Sustainability involves adapting education funding and operational processes based on these open economic and business models. Participants in this open space will gain an understanding of open practices, policies, and funding approaches for open education and will evaluate their own efforts towards sustainability against these approaches.
Participants will receive a tool that progressively allows them to self-assess their own open education initiative against economic models, business models and sustainability models.
Participants will self assess using three different methods:
1. The first assessment uses a simple formula that emerged out of the review of open business models in the book I co-wrote called Made With Creative Commons. The formula looks like this:
High value open licensed resources + social good + community = $ & sustainability
High value proposition openly licensed resource(s) + social good + community = revenue potential
This formula emerged out of the Made With Creative Commons book. It essentially makes the point that revenue potential is based on openly sharing (via a license) high value proposition resources. The higher the value proposition of the resource the greater the revenue potential. The second part of the formula assesses their initiative based on the extent of social good it potentially provides. The greater the social good the more likely others are to use the resource and be willing to contribute to enhancing and improving it over time. The last part of the formula assesses an initiative against the size of the community built up around it. The larger the community of users and contributors the greater the revenue potential and the greater the likelihood of sustainability (a lesson learned from open source software.)
2. The second method of self assessment also draws on work done in Made With Creative Commons. Historically there have been three main means by which resources are managed – 1. State (Government), 2. Market, 3. Commons. Each of these means of managing resources uses a different set of norms, rules and processes. Most open education initiatives are a hybrid of these three. Participants will self assess their own open education initiative to determine the extent to which their initiative is State, Market or Commons based. They will then review and consider the extent to which the initiative is being implemented using the appropriate norms, rules and processes.
3. The third method of self assessment uses a rubric I developed called Commons Strategy for Successful and Sustainable Open Education (https://docs.google.com/document/d/12IQNJsO-7kgJIJyNJ_wfKNlHNhkXI42WFC8VicrPO-s/edit?usp=sharing). It defines a set of behaviours associated with being a good actor in the commons. For each behaviour a continuum of norms is provided progressing from detrimental to optimal. Participants will use this Commons Strategy for Successful and Sustainable Open Education to self-assess their own initiative and the extent to which the Commons based aspects of it are operating in an optimal way
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