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Cost of Developing Blended Courses"Literature Review" Chapter

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¶ … Blended Courses in Remedial Programs

Blended learning can be defined as the mixture of online learning together with face to-face methods in education and schooling. A number of universities employ the instructional method of blended learning as a substitution for online learning in order to provide for a share of the old-fashioned face-to-face instructional period (Taplin, Kerr and Brown, 2013). Lothridge et al. (2013) asserts that blended learning consists of leveraging numerous platforms to make available training content to learners and students. The authors outline that blending online academic content together with hands-on practical execution or instruction that is mentor-based is a well-organized and cost effective delivery approach for workforce training. Taplin et al. (2013) offer an institutional cost -- benefit analysis of blended learning. In particular, the article takes into consideration the effects of policies and practices in the enactment of the instructional method of blended learning. The authors undertake an analysis of the monetary value that the students place on gaining accessibility to recorded lessons and lectures, through the internet in a blended learning setting. The results of the study indicated that on average, the students are willing and prepared to pay about $30 to download iLectures, for every scholar that studies full time. These outcomes offer higher education organizations a point of reference of the monetary benefits of iLectures with regards to the perspective of the students (Taplin et al., 2013).

In his article, Darrow (2010) offers an unbiased and unprejudiced evaluation of the benefits and shortcomings of carrying out an online education program. Despite the fact that the funding models have numerous costs which are similar, every model also has its own distinct set of costs to take into consideration, though there is some suggestion that online programs might offer long-standing savings to schools. The author discusses the manner in which the administration had the capability to provide comprehensive professional growth and development to teachers prepared to teach and tutor an online course. Darrow (2010) showed the manner in which a high school in the state of California started to offer a number of courses online to minimize costs and expenses and therefore permitted more students to sign up in different classes. In order to start these online classes or programs, the administrators of this California high school had to work together with different stakeholders to come up with a strategy and campaign at the home-grown level to achieve capital and funding for the program.

The initial intent of blended learning was that it would enable schools as well as districts to save money together with the assurance that it would cultivate pupils' technology skills and nurture tailored instruction. Davis (2014) shows that the cost of developing blended courses in state schools and districts is reliant on a number of factors. For instance, the potential savings that come about from blended learning for school districts is fundamentally reliant on the size of the district school systems. School districts which are larger have the ability to repurpose prevailing money and funds, restructure staff members as well as other resources, and utilize high-capacity purchasing power to make blended learning programs function economically (Davis, 2014). Smaller districts, such as the Danville district, find it much harder to develop blended learning programs as they time and again do not have sufficient resources to instigate some of the technology enactment.

Angelo (2002) outlines the high costs of developing blended learning as the pricing models of courseware providers were being altered. The main company providers which are WebCT and Blackboard made the decision to price its models on the basis of the number of users or also the number of users who are full time scholars. This has come to be costly as previously, schools could easily license the software for a small fee of several thousand dollars on the basis of the number of servers being used irrespective of the number of students in the school. The author provides an example of the University of South Dakota which as a result might eventually have to pay about over $250,000 for facilitating twenty five thousand students. This is an amount that has gone up from a mere $60,000. Rival companies such as e-college have taken the opportunity to gain more clients and consumers. In its package, the schools that agree and pledge to use the distance learning software of the company will be given a free package for classes that are done within the campus. However, the main requirements are that the schools are expected to have a minimum of 600 students enrolled for distance learning and the cost will be $100 for each of these students (Angelo, 2002).

In accordance with a report undertaken by the Program Evaluation Division of the North Carolina General Assembly, comparisons of the costs of starting up and prevailing costs of distance education against the costs for on-campus instruction were made. The research outcomes indicated that blended learning, which is similar to distance learning, cost more in general to develop compared to on-campus courses. However, the results also showed that delivery of blended learning costs were about the same with the delivery of on-campus courses. This higher cost is predominantly due to staff support that is required to generate distance courses and lessons, and also for the conversion of the course content taught on-campus for distance delivery (North Carolina General Assembly, 2010). The advancements in technology have also made it much more costly to develop blended courses in any school or district.

Sissine et al. (2014) piloted a cost comparison model between traditional training or learning and blended eLearning. The authors generated a potential model to estimate and match the costs of the blended approach and the traditional approach. The results of the research study revealed that a considerable and significant difference is existent in terms of the total costs between the two different modes of learning and training. Outcomes of the study indicated that making use of a blended eLearning approach for teaching could make available a total cost savings of about 42%. These savings in the blended eLearning program were as a result of diminished and reduced classroom time and in that way decreasing the costs that are linked with transportation, tutors or trainers and also classroom costs. The cost analysis of the two approaches indicated considerable savings by using the blended approach as compared to the traditional didactic approach (Sissine et al., 2014).

As defined by Taplin et al. (2013), blended learning is face-to-face mode of learning together with online learning. Kaushik et al. (2012) assert that it is software cost estimation that forecasts the level of effort and development time that is necessitated to generate a software system. The effort forecast characteristic of software cost approximation is concerned with the calculation of the person period essential to achieve the assignment. The development of effectual software effort forecast models has been a research objective for fairly a lengthy period (Kaushik et al., 2012). It is possible and conceivable to attain considerable cost savings when online learning is employed to substitute face-to-face learning or instruction. This is as a result of the elimination of non-instructional services, increased rate of completion of content and also the increase in the ratio of student and teachers. A research study undertaken by Bates (2005) made an estimation of the cost of an online course to be just about 660 U.S. dollars for every student, or about 6600 U.S. dollars for a degree.

Walliker (2005) assert that with regards to the several factors that come into consideration when determining the right training delivery method, the main one is basically the cost of the program. In this aspect, the cost of developing blended courses encompasses the cost of initial development, the time of the instructor or trainer, the material employed, the travel and also the opportunity cost of the learner. The main results of the research study indicated that even when parallel programs are taken into comparison, the e-learning approach is less costly to deliver virtually irrespective of the population that is learning (Walliker, 2005). For instance, where the learning population consists of more than one hundred individuals then blended learning and e-learning have a better cost advantage. The increase in the population renders this approach to be much cheaper.

References

Angelo, J.M. (2002, May). Courseware costs soar: blackboard and WebCT rethink pricing models; competition seizes opportunity to price-cut. (In the News). University Business, 5(4), 13.

Bates, A.W. (2005). Technology, E-learning and Distance Education (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.

Darrow, R. (2010). THE BOTTOM LINE: Funding online courses. School Administrator, 67(4), 26-30.

Davis, M.R. (2014, January 29). Districts Weigh Blended Costs, Savings. Education Week, 33(19), s20.

Kaushik, A., Soni, A.K., & Soni, R. (2012, November). An adaptive learning approach to software cost estimation. In Computing and Communication Systems (NCCCS), 2012 National Conference on (pp. 1-6). IEEE.

Lothridge, K., Fox, J., & Fynan, E. (2013). Blended learning: efficient, timely and cost effective. Australian Journal of Forensic Sciences, 45(4), 407-416.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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