Costs to Instructors in Delivering Equated Online and On-campus Courses

Dale Shaw
University of Northern Colorado

Suzanne Young
University of Wyoming


An online version of a graduate-level research methods course was developed in 1998 to be equivalent to an existing lecture-based version of the course that had been delivered on-campus in a live format for many years. The purpose of this study was to (a) document the amount of instructor time and resources required to develop the equated lecture-based online version of the course, (b) determine the degree to which test data from 18 sections of the online course compared to test data from 18 matched on-campus sections of the course, and (c) compare the amounts of time devoted by instructors to the delivery of these matched on-campus and online sections. The online course required in excess of 700 hours of instructor and staff time to develop. Of these hours, 166 were devoted to producing lecture-like slideshows with voiceover to simulate live classroom lectures. As expected the two venues produced almost identical test scores, however, the online sections required 30% more instructor time to deliver than their matched on-campus sections. Our conclusion is that the similarity in levels of student learning within the two venues has been achieved at a considerable cost to instructors in amounts of extra time required to develop and deliver the online coursework.

About the Author(s)...

Dale Shaw is Professor of Applied Statistics and Research Methods at the University of Northern Colorado. His research interests are statistics and research methodology, teacher effectiveness, measurement theory, and distance education. Dr. Shaw’s specializations are in applied statistics and research methods and measurement theory. He can be contacted at dale.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Suzanne Young is Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Wyoming. Her research interests are teacher effectiveness, research methodology, and distance education. Her specializations are measurement and statistics and research methodology. Dr. Young can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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