As an open source project, we invite contribution and collaboration from many angles. New job openings are announced through our mailing list and added to Current Opportunities, below.
Open Source Business Development Research Fellowship
September - December 2017; apply by mid-September
Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) is seeking an individual to conduct business development research from September - December 2017. As our learning circle program continues to grow to libraries around the world, we are in the process of identifying reliable revenue streams that complement the open source and openly-licensed nature of our work. We hope to work with someone to audit existing services, refine opportunities, develop marketing and promotional materials, and help pitch the idea to potential partners. Background P2PU was started 8 years ago with the aim to improve access to education through collaborative online learning. We felt that by leveraging the connectivity of the internet, the availability of open educational resources (OER), and virtual social structures, we could provide empowering learning experiences. We have run many online courses, created an online course platform to help other create their own online courses, created a badging platform based on feedback, and ran several other experiments.
While this work was going well, most of our projects were primarily reaching adults who already had college degrees. In order to reach a wider audience of learners, we decided to connect people in physical places that they are familiar with. Therefore, in 2015 we switched direction and started learning circles, a program where adults work through online courses together, in libraries, with the support of a librarian facilitator. The work has gone very well, and we’ve quickly expanded from Chicago to a number of other cities and library systems around the world.
Learning circles have quickly become central to P2PU delivering on the organization’s mission: since the project began 2015, P2PU has received grant funding from the Knight Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Institute of Museum and Library Services, the City of Paris, and Dollar General Literacy Foundation. We’ve also engaged in consulting projects with an additional dozen or so libraries, running facilitator training workshops, hosting pilot programs, and occasionally working with organizations to design open online courses that will be run as learning circles.
In this fellowship, we are hoping to enlist the support of an individual to help us identify, investigate, and pursue pathways towards financial sustainability, ensuring that we can continue to support inclusive, formative, and empowering learning experiences for people around the world.
- Get to know P2PU. Familiarize yourself with P2PU financials, strategy, and revenue structure. In consultation with P2PU team and community, audit our stakeholder mapping and current strategies for revenue generation, identifying the most compelling components of P2PU’s current offerings, strategic areas we could grow into, and dead ends that we should stop pursuing.
- Get to know libraries. Explore how U.S. public library finances are changing to reflect library’s role as community pillars, rather than just repositories of information. Is there potential alignment between P2PU services and changing patterns in libraries?
- Construct growth models. Dig deep into 3-5 potential pathways for revenue generation, model potential growth with realistic revenue targets, and determine indicators for P2PU to be checking in against in next 5 years.
- Pilot promising growth models. Develop marketing and promotional materials, identify a few possible clients and make pitch with P2PU team.
- Document and share your work with the P2PU team along the way.
- We are open to candidates from many fields – academia, research, business, non-profit management, open source operations, education – what is important is that you think that the challenge that we are addressing is interesting and important.
- P2PU is a 3.5 person team, and there are pros and cons here that you should be aware of. On the one side, you must be self-guided and comfortable driving your own work and maintaining a largely virtual relationship with the P2PU team. On the other hand, you will have an incredible degree of freedom and flexibility to follow your interests, and your work will be fundamental to growing P2PU in the future.
- As an organization, we are very intentional about not branding ourselves as a “vendor” or “service provider”. All of our work is open source and our “clients” are our community; therefore, a traditional consultancy growth model is likely not going to suit this project. Candidates should be interested in open source communities and non-traditional business models.
- We’re looking to document this work publicly; everything generated will be openly licensed.
- Compensation and project budget will be discussed individually with qualified candidates.
Send a resume and short cover letter to email@example.com, outlining why you’re excited about this project. Check out our work with us page for an understanding of how learning circles are currently generating non-grant revenue.