Models for Sustainable Open Educational Resources

Stephen Downes


This paper depicts the sustainability of Open Educational Resources (OERs) in terms of the three models: funding, technical, and content. Discussion and recommendations are focused on the sustainability of OERs and the requirement that we think of OERs as only part of a larger picture– one that includes volunteers and incentives, community and partnerships, co-production and sharing, distributed management and control.


Learning, Educational resources, Open access, OER


This paper cover the three different models that are necessary for the sustainability of Open Educational Resources (OER’s). These three models include: funding, technical and content. The recommendations described in this article are focused on the sustainability of the OER’s and based on the fact that OER’s are only part of the larger picture. This larger picture includes volunteers and incentives, community and partnerships, co-production and sharing, distributed management, and control. problems about the fostering of OER’s are noted in the article. The article digs deeper into the sustainability of OER’s by describing what they are, who creates them, how they will pay for this, how they will distribute them and how they will work with them. The answers to these contribute to how OER’s can be sustained. The article includes multiple funding, technical, content, and staffing models. One of the primary arguments on the improvement of sustainability is based on value and usability. For example, the article stated that UNESCO discussion of OERs participants suggested to establish a global index system that will help potential users to find courseware and then make it easily accessible. They also stated “Open content + community = Open course”

APA Citation

Downes, S. (2007). Models for sustainable open educational resources. Interdisciplinary Journal of E-Learning and Learning Objects, 3(1), 29-44.

About the Study

Links to Article
Mode Technology-enhanced, Blended or Hybrid, Online
Publication Type Journal Article
In Publication Interdisciplinary Journal of Knowledge and Learning Objects
Type of Research Theoretical
Research Design Design-based research
Intervention/Areas of Study Digital lecture, Multimedia, Open education resources, Personalized learning, Technical support
Level of Analysis Course-level, Program-level, Institutional-level
Specific Populations Examined Age groups, Graduates, Undergraduates
Peer-Reviewed Yes
Specific Institutional Characteristics of Interest 2-year institution, 4-year Institution, Private, Public
Specific Course or Program Characteristics Arts and humanities, Formal sciences, Natural sciences, Social sciences, Professions, STEM, MOOCs
Outcome Variables of Interest Academic achievement or performance, including assessment scores and course grades, Instructional effectiveness, Learning effectiveness, Program effectiveness
Student Sample Size
Citing Articles,50&sciodt=0,50&hl=en