Costs of asynchronous distance ventures
Economics of Education Review Volume 22, Number 4, ISSN 0272-7757 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
A simple mathematical model is described which provides estimation procedures for comparing college-level, distance teaching costs with on-campus operations. It distinguishes content distribution from interaction costs, where cost equals work time required of teachers. In ordinary classroom teaching, content distribution costs rise with student throughput in quantal units that depend on class size. Interaction costs rise only moderately with the number of students. In asynchronous distance courses with asynchronous interactions with students, content distribution expenses are independent of throughput, but the costs of instructive interactions rise sharply with the number of students. As a consequence, distance teaching costs can become high when interactive procedures are very time-demanding. High-quality institutions, that rely heavily on tuition income, will be more likely to survive in the competitive world of distance education, if scientific research and technological developments succeed in making the interactive components of instruction less effortful for teachers and in making content development more efficient.
Rothkopf, E.Z. (2003). Costs of asynchronous distance ventures. Economics of Education Review, 22(4), 439-443. Elsevier Ltd.