OER Toolkit- Sustainability

How can educators impact the longevity and success of OER in their districts? This module provides tools and tips that will help you influence key sustainability levers—from policy, to funding, to training on OER.

Funding Opportunities

In the very early days of OER, a handful of foundations, such as the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, led the way in funding OER projects across the globe. Today, funding for OER remains limited, although more diversified. Individuals and districts may explore a range of sources to support their OER work, including those listed below.


Local Funds – Check with your Educational Service Unit to see if funds are available for OER projects and events. For example, sprint events can be used to create new OER content. Additionally,  Nebraska Department of Education is funding training and work time for educators to come together to design, organize, and share resources that meet their common education goals.

  • Nebraska is committed to provide equitable access to open educational resources and services with the launch of the Nebraska OER Hub, a collaboration between the Educational Service Unit Coordinating Council and the Nebraska Department of Education. See the Nebraska Department of Nebraska press release.


International Funds – On a larger scale, funding may be available for those working on OER and open initiatives, for example, the Shuttleworth Foundation Fellowship Program is a global organization that has programs.


Attribution:  Introductory text a derivative of content within Starting an OER Initiative, by Open Education Consortium, licensed under CC BY 4.0


To ensure sustainability of OER use and implementation, appropriate training needs to be provided.  Below is a resource that can be used to assist in the development of training modules and/or agendas.

Mountain Heights Academy OER Passport Course  This self-paced, online course takes educators through the process of understanding, finding, creating and sharing Open Educational Resources.

COMING SOON – Training for Nebraska’s OER Commons Hub

Why Policy Matters

  • Having an OER policy in place signifies support from leadership, and creates a safe environment for educators to explore the potential of OER.
  • OER policies that incorporate financial and non-financial incentives can help educational institutions nurture the creation and use of OER, toward OER sustainability.


Engage Decision Makers

To be equipped with knowledge of existing policies and policy gaps, consult with administration in exploring opportunities for developing policies and resources that would allow OER to address your stakeholders’ needs. For example, teachers may experience a lack of policy or guidelines for incorporating OER into their curation workflows and may need policy-level support in the form of training, time and funding for OER adoption and use.


Understand Stakeholder Needs

Initiate conversations with administrators, teachers, students and other key stakeholders. Get to know their needs, and build shared understanding around the problem that OER can solve for them. For teachers, it might be lack of accessible, relevant content.


Review Local Policy

As a starting point to your policy-related work, get to know whether there are existing district policies and guidelines in the areas below. When appropriate, consult with relevant stakeholders on these issues.

  • Intellectual property policies and employment contracts:  These address how creative works generated by staff within the scope of employment may be shared with or used by others. Check your district’s policies on copyright and intellectual property. Collective agreements or employment contracts can also affect copyright ownership. Contact your district office if you need more information. They may be able to direct you to relevant policies and contacts. See OER Sample Policy for Nebraska schools.
  • Human resource policy guidelines:  These outline whether or not the creation of certain kinds of work (e.g., learning resources) constitutes part of the job description for staff, and what the implications are for remuneration and promotion purposes.
  • ICT policy guidelines:  These address access to and use of appropriate technology and technical support, as well as provision for version control and the storage systems for the institution’s educational resources.
  • Materials development and quality assurance policy guidelines:  These address guidelines on the selection, quality assurance, and copyright clearance of works that may be shared. This category also encompasses library collection development policies, and whether those policies explicitly support OER as part of collection building.


Attribution:  Text is a derivative of content within OER Policy Development Tool, by Lumen Learning, licensed under CC BY 4.0

Attribution:  Text is a derivative of content within A Basic Guide to Open Educational Resources, by Commonwealth of Learning, licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Updated February 26, 2023 9:36pm