Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Hidden Cost of Online Education

Advocates believe online education opens the door for students who may not have the time or financial wherewithal needed to succeed in a traditional university or college classroom. While the potential remains, a small pilot offered by San Jose State University, San Jose, CA, showed there are also hidden costs.

The program, started last January, offered three remedial and entry-level math courses through online startup Udacity, available for $150 per student. The classes were open to anyone with a high-speed Internet connection, but each class was capped at 100 students.

The prep school Oakland Military Institute (OMI) had nearly 45 students participating in the program, but school officials had to devote computer lab space, time, and equipment to students who didn’t have the necessary Internet access at home. Laptops were provided, along with two staff members to answer questions and keep students on task.

“Without having a class period to do it, I wouldn’t have done as well,” said OMI student Ciara Lowry.

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