What Are the Costs of Distance Education?
Trying to find out about the costs of distance education is of the most popular of the Frequently Asked Questions. Unfortunately, the answers to the question are neither simple, clear-cut, or even easily determined. Just as there is no "typical" distance education course, program or presentation, there is no single factor which determines distance education costs. Content, equipment, telecommunication charges, instructional costs, design factors, and a myriad of other elements must all be examined before "the" cost of distance education can be even attempted to be identified.
A brief listing of some articles and web references are supplied on a new section of the Distance Education Clearinghouse. This list of sources is just a beginning, and can be found at:
Whereas there is no shortage of journal articles and web references to other aspects of distance education, a search of the literature for relevant articles for costs produces less than anticipated. A brief search can easily produce 500 or 600 articles on distance education, but extensive search found only a handful on costs. Some articles touch upon the question of whether or not distance education is cost effective, others discuss costs to students, or what effect distance education courses will have on tuition and fees. However, cold hard facts about what it actually costs to design, develop, and deliver distance education are limited.
If you know of some relevant articles or references, or if you are involved in a cost study or research project, please let me know. The Clearinghouse's resources on this topic will continue to develop as more information about costs is identified and listed.
Distance Education Clearinghouse
Instructional Design at Instructional Communications Systems
Training for Videconferencing
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© Copyright 2006 Board of Regents, University of Wisconsin
Last Updated: January 2006