Virtual School Meanderings

January 31, 2010

The Impact Of Opencourseware On Paid Enrollment In Distance Learning Courses

Late last week, David Wiley posted an entry on his blog, iterating toward openness, entitled Johansen Dissertation on Sustainability of OCW Available.  That entry read:

Newly minted Dr. Justin Johansen’s dissertation study, The Impact Of Opencourseware On Paid Enrollment In Distance Learning Courses, is now available from BYU’s Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD) archive.

This dissertation is the first piece of empirical work I am aware of that demonstrates clearly that a distance learning program can simultaneously (1) provide a significant public good by publishing opencourseware and (2) be revenue positive while doing it. In other words, Justin’s study not only demonstrates that it is possible to publish opencourseware without requesting donations from users or foundations, it goes further and demonstrates that it is possible to make money publishing opencourseware. And if you can make money publishing opencourseware, you can continue publishing opencourseware for a very long time. This capacity is also known as sustainability.

Congratulations to Dr. Johansen!

P.S. John Hilton will be defending his dissertation, which applies a similar methodology to examine the impact of giving away free e-books on the sales of printed books, February 11!

I mention it here because when you go to newly minted Dr. Johansen’s dissertation, the first thing I noticed is that three of the six courses he examined were open high school courses.  David or Dr. Johansen can correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this is the first time this kind of analysis has been done on open K-12 courses.  Well worth the read…

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