Online Course Development from the Economics Viewpoint

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Session Description
Economists argue that there is a scarcity in world’s resources. If in fact the argument stands, then the scarcity affects every human being on Earth, including those who teach at higher education. The demand for online courses, whether it is due to market needs or management’s decision to expand the service territory has increased rapidly in the United States. While those professors are adding that one more work order to their backlog, they are striving to figure out a way to continue to perform effectively and efficiently as before. At the end of the day, it is their performance that is to be evaluated by their respective university administration. Teaching, either online or not, is just one aspect of the performance evaluation. How well the professors perform other assignments, say in scholarship and service is also deemed critical. Since the end (or the holy grail) is that overall high performance, the means to that end depends on to what degree the professors manage the scarce resources given.

In the context of the development of online courses, professors are often concerned about when a given online course in its current form (e.g., maturity) is good enough for delivery. As the professors get more conscientious or, in some cases, more anxious about the quality of the course, they tend to devote more of their limited resources (e.g., time) to the course development. To what degree is this increase in the consumed time justified? That is, how does the marginal benefit in this effort play out? This short presentation (dialogue) is intended to unfold around marginal analysis issues and inform practitioners of optimum use of scarce resources.

Cheng Chang PAN, The University of Texas at Brownsville, Brownsville, Texas, USA
Cheng-Chang (Sam) Pan is associate professor of Educational Technology and coordinator of E-Learning Certificate program at the University of Texas at Brownsville. His research interests include rational design thinking that leads to efficient social outcomes and optimizing instructional systems development in the context of project management. He enjoys teaching courses in instructional systems design project management, multimedia development drawn from cognitive learning theories, and e-learning design theory and practice. He can be reached at
Francisco Garcia, The University of Texas at Brownsville, Brownsville, Texas, USA
Francisco GarciaBio coming soon!

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