Open courseware isn’t the end of higher education, as some have feared, but rather a recruiting tool that can lure people to enroll in credit-bearing classes, according to a Brigham Young University (BYU) study released last month.
The study, conducted by BYU’s Director of Independent Study Justin Johansen, examined the costs of making college course material available for free online, and how many enrollments resulted from having open courses available on a university’s web site.
The university has six open classes–three college-level and three high school courses–that drew almost 14,000 web page visits over a four-month span, generating 445 paid enrollments at BYU.
The price to make the classes available ranged from $284 to $1,172 per course, according to Johansen’s study, meaning BYU’s open courseware had a 3.1-percent profit margin.
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