OERu/Open business model canvases/OER Foundation

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Open Business Model Canvas

Open business model canvas of the OERu from the perspective of the OER Foundation (OERF).

Overall Open Environment Business Fits In?

The OER Foundation is a non-profit organisation that provides networking, leadership and support to education institutions to achieve their strategic objectives through the adoption of open education approaches. The OERu is a flagship initiative of the OERF and its partner institutions.

Key Partners

  • OERu partner institutions
  • Free and open source software development community
  • Global OER community
  • International agencies
  • WikiEducator community
  • Creative Commons

Key Activities

The OERF is distinctively open with all planning activities conducted openly and transparently.

Open planning

  • "Evergreen" strategic planning
  • Open operational planning

Open organisation and communication

  • Convening activities of the OERu Management Committee and supporting working groups
  • Hosting of open communication technologies

Open software development and administration

  • Administration of the central open source technology infrastructure of the OERF
  • Open source software development to support assembly and delivery of OERu courses and incremental innovation
  • Sharing open frameworks for replicating open technologies at partner institutions.

Open support and capacity development

  • Supporting partners in the assembly, design and development of OERu courses
  • Engendering capacity development for open design models
  • Creating opportunities for capacity development in OER for educators worldwide.

Value Proposition

  • Widening access to more affordable education for learners excluded from the formal education sector
  • Facilitating international networking of "like-minded" institutions in open education
  • Nurturing the sustainable integration of open education approaches to assist partner institutions in achieving their strategic objectives
  • Establishing a global collaboration platform for reducing cost, improving efficiency, and diversifying curriculum - especially for low enrolment courses, which are too expensive to develop locally and independently
  • Modelling open governance and open management practices
  • Providing opportunities for participation in a low risk innovation partnership focused on emerging open technologies and associated flexible pedagogies
  • Building local capacity in open design methodologies
  • Generating opportunities for new revenue streams for partner institutions arising from dis-aggregated services enabled through OER.

Customer Relationships

Partner engagement

Supporting the active engagement of partners in all aspects of the implementation of the OERu via working groups and maintaining a public record of all planning activities. Active working groups:

  • OERu Management Committee
  • Strategic planning
  • Curriculum and programme of study
  • Partner engagement
  • Course approval and quality
  • Standing committee for credit transfer
  • Technology
  • Marketing and communications

Open communication

The OERF administers a number of open communication platforms enabling the network to connect and collaborate thereby facilitating implementation

Open support

  • Resources to support capacity development in OER and open design
  • Annual international OERu partner's meeting
  • Regional OERu partner meetings
  • OERu Council of Chief Executive Officers

Customer Segments

OERu partner institutions

  • Executive leaders and senior administrators
  • Academic staff
  • Professional staff (learning design, librarians, media, credit transfer / PLAR etc.)
  • Technical support staff

OERu learners
Learners studying OERu courses hosted on OERF technology who may request assessment services from OERu partners.
(See OERu partners canvas for detailed description of learners.)

  • Adult independent learners
  • "Try before you buy" learners
  • Professional development learners
  • Informal learners

Educators and trainers
(Educators wanting to learn more about OER, OEP and how to engage in the OERu open design model)

  • Staff at OERu partner institutions
  • OERu volunteers
  • Any educators interested in OER and OEP.

Key Resources

Core resources

  • OER and open access materials used to assemble OERu courses
  • Open source software technology infrastructure to support the OERu
  • Open source software developers
  • Project leadership and administration

Volunteer resources
The following resources are largely sourced through the FTE contributions of gold-tier partner institutions:

  • Subject matter experts
  • Learning design and multimedia professionals
  • Library professionals
  • Graphic artists
  • Technologists and developers
  • Administrators


Cost Structure

  • Provision and maintenance of the central technology infrastructure to support open design, assembly and delivery of OERu courses at no-cost to learners
  • Software development to support sustainable innovation for OER reuse and remix
  • Leadership, management and operational support for the OERu network

CC Licenses

The OERF subscribes to Free Cultural Works approved licenses

OERu Categories
Public Domain Mark

Social Good

  • Promoting the sustainability of education systems via open education practice (OEP)
  • Widening access to more affordable education leading to credible credentials.

Revenue Streams

Initiatives of the OERF are restricted to charitable education activities. The OERF does not rely on revenue sharing models with its partners thereby endorsing partner autonomy.

Partner membership fees
This is the core revenue stream for sustainable OERF operations. Recurrent costs of partners for assessment services are recouped on a fee-for-service basis.


  • Donor funding to support strategic projects
  • Contributions to shared positions donated by the partner network (eg Platinum tier partners)

Corporate citizenship

  • Sponsorship from the corporate sector to commission and outsource the assembly, design and development of OER courses for the benefit of the network.
Open Business Model Canvas by Paul Stacey, Creative Commons based on Business Model Canvas Poster designed by Business Model Foundry AG CC BY-SA 3.0

The OERF Canvas was derived from an earlier Google docs version of the OERF business model.