A Business Model approach for OER in Open Universities
Ben Janssen, Robert Schuwer & Fred Mulder, Open Universiteit, Netherlands
Conference Theme: Impact
Summary: Three possible scenarios for a business model for a sustainable OER approach are explained and surveyed.
Abstract: For some time the Open University in the Netherlands (OUNL) has been positioning itself as the university for lifelong learners. This includes amongst others a policy of developing and using Open Educational Resources (OER). One of the aims of this OER policy is to give lifelong learners free and open access to learning materials, publications and tools of OUNL. This free and open access to the resources of OUNL has (direct and indirect) consequences for the business model of OUNL. With 'business model' we mean the (conceptual) model showing what a company or organization does for whom at what price, and how the business is equipped for that. In this article we will discuss implications for the business model of OUNL which also may apply to other open universities embracing an OER approach. We will do this by considering three development scenarios. The first and most radical scenario is a model in which all learning materials will be made available as OER. In this scenario the business model is entirely based on additional learning services to be paid for. The second scenario is a continuation of the current model, in which OER plays a minor role, in the form of short courses in a marketing driven approach. In the third scenario OER plays a more significant but still modest role, the business model being based on a substantial share of learning materials still to be paid for plus additional paid learning services. We will present the results of two surveys of preferences of (potential) lifelong learners for these three scenarios. The first survey was conducted among a representative sample of the Dutch population. The second survey took place under OUNL students. The results are supportive of scenario 1 and thus relevant for the open universities who are generally in a deep search for a sustainable OER approach.