Online ed grows up

Online education isn’t just a money-making add-on, writes Community College Dean. As more instruction goes online, his college is under pressure to “remake the ways we do all kinds of business, from registering students to providing advisement to administering financial aid to accommodating disabilities to providing counseling.”

Online education, done right, is labor-intensive, the dean writes.  If the goal is saving money, it’s hard to beat a poorly paid adjunct teaching a big lecture class.

The institutional savings from online education come mostly from infrastructure. Adding server space is dramatically (and increasingly) cheaper than adding classroom space. You don’t have to add parking, or heating costs, or seats in the library. When your physical campus is running full, this is no small consideration.

For years, his college adding online students without adding infrastructure or  support staff to meet their needs. It was profitable. But that era is over. Online students want services that will cost money to provide.

POSTED BY Joanne Jacobs ON September 30, 2010

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