A funding and sustainability model for OER

Claude Laflamme and Nathan Friess

University of Calgary / Lyryx Learning, Lyryx Learning

Open Educational Resources (OER) are “free”. However the additional tasks of adapting and editing the content for specific courses, creating supplementary material including quality online assessment, updating the content itself, and in addition supporting instructors and the students all along a course is a daunting enterprise particularly for large service courses. These tasks may have to be performed by highly educated personnel at each institution, which may in some cases increase the overall costs of offering these resources.

Lyryx Learning was created in 2000 as a spinoff from the University of Calgary, initially focusing on developing online formative assessment based on content from exiting publishers. More recently, it has partnered with Athabasca University (and other authors) to independently develop open content as part of its new Lyryx Service Course Solutions.

In this model, the open etext is distributed at no cost under a creative commons license and is thus available to anyone interested to use it and willing to do any desired adaptations of their own. For those in need of additional products and assistance, Lyryx licenses its online formative assessment at fair cost and uses the proceeds to fund all editorial and support services.

Hence the traditional value of the physical textbook sold at bookstores has been entirely replaced with a freely distributed and open etext, together with optional products and services offered at fair price.

In this presentation, we will outline how the model works in practice, and discuss sustainability and scalability of the model, in particular the editorial process.


A funding and sustainability model for OER from Open Education Consortium