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Feb 20, 2017 08:21 AM EST

Myth that Online Education Courses Cost Less Debunked

Student taking an online class.
Here is the reason why the myth that online education costs less isn't true.
(Photo : Getty Images/Adam Berry)

One of the biggest concerns of many students is the cost that it associated with going to college and earning a degree. And that is why many students are looking for ways to reduce these costs.

According to Best Value Schools, college and universities which offer online courses are usually cheaper than attending traditional institutions. However, this myth has been found to be untrue, a survey of distance education found.

The survey, conducted by the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) has found that most colleges and universities still charge the same and some charge even more, especially when half of the additional fees are included, Inside Higher Ed reported.

The research has found that the higher prices are because of higher production costs. The survey involved respondents who are administrators in charge of 197 colleges who were asked about 21 components of an online course including faculty development, students assessment, instructional design and their comparison to a similar face-to-face course or class. According to the respondents, nine of the components actually cost more when taken online than in the traditional classroom setting, while the rest of the components cost just about the same.

This only goes to show that online courses are more expensive to produce but according to Russell Poulin and Terri Taylor Straut, authors of the study, this should no longer be surprising. They pointed that producing an online course entails a lot of expenses including licensing software, engaging instructional designers, training the faculty members and offering 24/7 student support and assistance. The report says these things cannot be expected to cost less.

Straut, senior research analyst at WCET said in an interview that the myth about the lower cost of online education and distance learning is because people do not have enough knowledge and awareness about the work that it takes to be able to create the online courses. It is like taking the pieces of lessons being taught in the classroom and adding technology to it, so those things cannot be cheaper, said Straut.

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