BYU Independent Study (BYU IS) has launched its opencourseware pilot – http://ocw.byu.edu!
High School Courses
- United States Government and Citizenship (GOVT 45)
- World Geography: The Forces That Shape Our World (GEOG 41)
- Earth Science, Part 1 (EARTH 41)
The pilot includes three university-level courses and three high school-level courses (BYU IS offers 250 university-level courses online for credit and another 250 high school-level courses online for credit). The courses in BYU IS OCW are content-complete – that is, they are the full courses as delivered online without the need of additional textbooks or other materials (only graded assessments have been removed).
This pilot is part of a dissertation study to measure the impact of OCW courses on paying enrollments. In other words, the study will answer questions like “Does providing access to OCW versions of courses undercut the market for the for-credit versions of the courses?” and “Can OCW versions of courses that can be taken for credit at a distance generate enough revenue (as a lead generation mechanism) to financially sustain an ongoing OCW effort?”
The study has been running about a month now, and so far the results are very positive – 85 of the 3500 people who visited the OCW site last month registered for for-credit courses. In other words, 2.4% of people who visited the OCW site during its first month became paying customers of BYU IS. Much more detailed analysis to come later this fall, but a quick back of the envelope calculation says that if this pattern remains stable, then BYU IS OCW will be financially self-sustainable with the ability to add and update a number of new courses to the collection each year, indefinitely, should they so choose. Exciting!!!