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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Selling Online Course Content?

A while ago, I looked at an entry at Teaching and Developing Online called "Selling Online Education" (see http://careo.elearning.ubc.ca/weblogs/vschools/archives/2005_03.html#011115).

In looking at the landscape of courses being delivered by virtual high schools one of the things that I could never understand was the duplicate of course development. For example, if you have public school institutions (regardless if it is an individual school, school district or Department of Education) with limited funds to develop content for their virtual school, why do they year after year purchase content from third party vendors.

I can understand that in the initial years of operation that there may be a need for the use of some courses developed by others, however, the continued use of these third party products year after year simply creates a cycle of dependency upn others for their content development. How much money must be spent on borrowing courses with no real ownership, before it becomes too much?

I have seen a couple of models where the virtual high school was created with a core set of courses that were determined to be in high need in the particular jurisdiction and then adding to that core set each year based upon a priority system of which courses were most needed within the state or province.

I've always wondered why this was the model used by the minority. I am hoping that there are some out there involved at the organizational level of different virtual high schools that can shed some more light on this issue from both sides of the model (e.g., those buying third party vendor products and the model described in the paragraph above).

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