Questions for Consideration

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Tutorial.png Unit 2 

Introduction | Review of Fixed, Variable and Semi-Variable Costs | Total Costs | Average Costs | Economies of Sale | Costs of ODL versus Conventional Education | Questions for Consideration

Questions for Consideration

From an economist’s point of view, ODL institutions must do the following in order to ensure that they remain cost-competitive in relation to conventional methods of delivering education:

1. Increase the scale or number of students enrolled for their courses (beyond the crossover point).
2. Keep their fixed costs to a minimum, by:
  • Reducing the scope or range of courses offered (especially by eliminating courses with low enrolments),
  • Utilising less sophisticated media in delivering their courses,
  • Extending the life of courses to spread the fixed costs of materials development over a larger number of students.
3. Keep variable costs to a minimum, by:
  • Limiting interaction between students and tutors,
  • Minimising other student services.

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Why might it be counter-productive to follow the economist’s advice?
What reasons can you think of for:

  • NOT reducing the range of courses offered?
  • Using more varied and sophisticated media to deliver a course?
  • NOT extending the life of a course?
  • NOT limiting interaction between students and tutors?
  • NOT minimising other student services?

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Other Resources

Rumble, G. 1997. The Costs and Economics of Open and Distance Learning. Chapter 4, pages 24-30 & Chapter 5, pages 32-41.

Hülsmann, T. 2004. Costing Open and Distance Learning. Section 3.2: ‘Elements of Cost Analysis, fixed and variable costs’, pages 13-21.