Costing a New Course or Programme

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Tutorial.png Unit 6 

Introduction | Projecting Student Numbers | What do we need to account for? | Treating the Capital Costs of Materials Development | Marginal Cost | Crossover Point


As discussed in Unit 2, the cost structure of open and distance learning differs from that of conventional education. ODL institutions incur considerable fixed costs for the development of study materials even before any students have enrolled for their courses. Careful planning for course/materials development is central to managing this aspect of institutional expenditure and ensuring the cost-effectiveness of the process.

This unit presents some tools for costing course/materials development and looks at ways of comparing the costs of different modes of course delivery.

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By the end of this unit, you will be able to:

  • project student numbers and attrition rates for a new course;
  • draw up a comprehensive list of the costs involved in course/materials development;
  • estimate income and expenditure for a new course;
  • review the options for treating the capital costs of course/materials development;
  • define the term marginal cost and demonstrate how it can be calculated;
  • explain how the relative costs of alternative modes of delivery can be compared and recommend when it would be best to switch from one to another.