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Is “free” more expensive than commercial? Open educational resources as part of a sustainable business model for postsecondary institutions
Singer, Marc P.

Published13 January 2020
Type of workDoctoral dissertation
InstitutionAthabasca University
CountryCanada, North America

ABSTRACT
As the cost of post-secondary education rapidly increases in the United States and Canada, it threatens to make education less accessible to students even as the need for university credentials grows. The use of Open Educational Resources (OER), which can lower costs for students and allow institutions to share and collaborate on content development, could help to address some aspects of this problem. The question of whether OER can be part of a sustainable business model for institutions of higher education, making it easier for them to achieve their missions, is crucial, whether in monetary terms or some equivalent measure. The problem needs to be addressed systematically and have appropriate metrics established. This study compares institutions in Canada and the United States that have developed OER programs, analyzing their business models for OER through the case study method. The study explores whether OER can be part of a sustainable business model for institutions of higher education, not only in financial terms but also in terms of other measures of institutional goals and “value.” These institutions’ practices, policies, and expenditures, and their efforts to incorporate the use of OER into their programs and business models, are examined. This project will also examine the practices of OERu, an international consortium of institutions that are collaborating on the creation of courses and academic credentials that use OER. While more research is needed, results indicate that the use of OER can be part of a sustainable business model for postsecondary institutions.

Keywords open educational resources · higher education business models · sustainability

Published atAthabasca
LanguageEnglish
RefereedYes
RightsCC BY-SA
URLhttps://dt.athabascau.ca/jspui/bitstream/10791/306/5/SingerIsFreeMoreExpensiveThanCommercialJan2020.pdf
Export optionsBibTex · EndNote · Tagged XML · Google Scholar



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