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