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Thursday, May 26, 2005

Two Posted Papers: Distance Masters Program Cost Benefit Analysis and E-commerce Adolescence

It is tough to believe that it has been four years since the burst of the dot-com bubble (the "dot-bomb"). It seems only yesterday that everyone was scrambling to be online. Everyone was doing whatever they could to add "online" or "e-" or "distance" to whatever it was they were already doing, frequently, whether it made sense to do so or not.

Back then, I was in my own smaller bubble, the protective shell of Graduate School. Though not directly involved in the online shake-out, I had my fair share of study time devoted to the burst of the bigger bubble. I bring this up simply because lately I have been caused to review some papers I wrote during that era and it has been enlightening. I have decided to post two of them below, in rtf format. Here is a brief description of both.

The first is titled:

Cost-Benefit Analysis: Case study of the Distance Master of Science Program in the Department of Instructional Systems Technology, Indiana University

This was a group paper that began as a class project but turned into much more than that. Our main goal was to discover whether or not the Distance Masters program was making money or not. Our hypothesis was that it was not making money (which actually went against popular belief at the time, but we were a somewhat cynical bunch). Our findings suggested that it was, indeed, losing money, but we also found that there were many benefits that were discussed yet, monetarily, went unaccounted. If the pecuniary value of these benefits was factored in, we explained, the program might actually be making a profit.

After we made the initial class presentation with our paper, we decided to present it at the 2001 AECT Annual Conference. Geoff Kapke and I reworked the paper and presented it, where it was included in the conference proceedings. I was proud of the work we put into it and the final product. I have wanted to go back and gather current data and compare those with our findings.

The second is titled:

E-commerce Adolescence

I felt passionate enough about the subject (the fact that e-commerce was like any other "new" economy in business, i.e. it would have its rush of gold diggers, undergo a big shake-out, and then stabilize) at that time--comparable to my current passion for Open Content--to just write this paper for no real reason. I had thought about the topic for a long time and it seemed so obvious to me--again, like Open Content is for me now--but no one seemed to be saying it...so I did. It is not pretty, nor eloquent, nor research-based...though it was predictive in nature. And, now, four years later, it is interesting to see how some of these predictions have come to pass.

Consequently, I have reworked this paper, added four more years of knowledge, tied it more closely to education, and retitled it to: Education In E-commerce Adolescence. I will be presenting this paper at the 2005 AECT Annual Conference.

Alas, four years have never gone by so quickly, and with so much change.