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An Online Worksheet Helps Colleges
Anticipate the Costs of Distance Education

Brian M. Morgan, director of the center for instructional technology at Marshall University. He's developed an interactive worksheet to help administrators calculate the price tag for creating an online program. This interactive worksheet to help administrators calculate the price of creating a distance education program. The site asks users a dozen questions about their institutional environments and strategies for distance ed, then generates a spreadsheet with cost and revenue projections for the first seven years of their online program. Users can alter variables and get new estimates to test different scenarios. While the site does warn that its calculations provide only rough estimates and users should verify figures independently, some point up its weaknesses. For example, says one critic, the worksheet doesn't take enough factors into account, such as the fact that the computing infrastructure for online courses can also be used to enhance traditional courses. Nevertheless, it's a starting point for first-timers.