Sustain a Working Group

19 Sustain

Sustainability in relation to OER is closely linked to the business model or approach that an individual, group or institution adopts to release, manage and support OER. It is not just about sustaining existing OER but about embedding processes and transforming practices to support ongoing OER production and release.[1]

The sustainability of your open working group is very much related to the sustainability of open education and the open educational resources (OER) that are used, created, and adapted at your institution. Sustaining OER is often done at the open working group level, and the practice of sustaining OER can strengthen the open working group. Koohang and Harman argue that because communities of practice (CoPs) are “characteristically decentralized,” they can improve the scalability of open projects.[2] This is because the decentralized nature of CoPs allows for “members [with] different skills and experiences” to work together towards the “common goal” of sustaining OER.[3] Schaffert and Geser also note that the “collaborative creation and sharing” of OER is important to its sustainability.[4] In many ways, an open working group plays an important role in ensuring the sustainability of open education at your institution.

Many of the supports and strategies outlined in previous chapters will help sustain open education and open working groups at your institution, including providing professional development to improve institutional capacity, sharing information about OER adoption, using open approaches to teaching, and providing grants.

  1. Lou McGill, "Open Educational Resources: Sustainability," Jisc, (accessed January 25, 2019).
  2. Alex Koohang and Keith Harman, “Advancing sustainability of open educational resources,” Issues in Informing Science & Information Technology 4 (2007): 540.
  3. Koohang and Harman, "Advancing sustainability of open educational resources," 541.
  4. Sandra Schaffert and Guntram Geser, “Open educational resources and practices,” eLearning Papers 7 (2008).


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