Change Magazine: The Economics of Distance Education: Boxing Match or Productive Dialogue

By Russell Poulin and Terri Taylor Straut
June 2018

Terri Taylor Straut and Russ Poulin were asked to make several presentations about their Price and Cost of Distance Education report. What became clear was the polar opposite distribution of responses when we asked this simple question of the audience: “When compared to face-to-face courses, does it cost the institution more, the same, or less to create, offer, and support a distance education course?” Legislators and other policy makers were almost unanimous in their belief, actually certainty, that it costs less. While not as unanimous, the great majority of distance education professional said it cost more with at few leaning toward it costing the same.

Change Magazine asked us to write up our findings and to make recommendation on how to bridge this chasm. Without coming to a greater mutual understanding of what drives the reasons for these responses, life will become more and more uncomfortable for all of us.