BRCOE Financial Modeling Primer

Page 9

Modeling Costs Their four broad categories of costs in an online offering are:

Content development and production


Student supports


Designing the course, developing/producing learning materials, designing online grading mechanisms, teaching the course, etc.

Conducting market research, Identifying potential learners, conducting outreach as n ecessary to attract interested, qualified students Create mechanisms for supporting online students academically, administratively, and with technical questions

Customize and integrate the tools necessary to manage and deliver content, enable interaction and collaboration, and host student work

Content Development and Production Costs Content development and production costs can be broadly grouped in three categories. The first category is the “up front” costs required to design courses and develop/produce learning materials. Typically these costs include compensating the faculty member(s) developing the course as well as an instructional designer (such as the ones employed by BRCOE) who can work closely with the faculty member(s) on the production of the content. The second category is the costs required to teach the course, including faculty time and various improvements and “tweaks” to the materials that may take place during the course. The third category includes the costs to periodically refresh the course. Based on our experience so far, significant new production and development costs will be incurred every three years or so. The instructional designer can play a key role in determining the costs required to develop online courses. The role of the instructional designer is to help the faculty member understand the unique pedagogical issues associated with online learning, to be knowledgeable about the tools and techniques that could be potentially be applied to the online learning experience, and to be able to implement those tools and techniques to create the appropriate online educational materials. Content development can vary from simple video production of existing lectures, to a wholesale redesign of the learning experience for the online offering, involving simulations, virtual student projects, and online grading technologies which may represent the state-­‐of-­‐the-­‐art in online learning. In the first consultation with an instructional designer, key issues to be discussed would include: