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As the number of students enrolling in Internet-based or online instruction grows, so do questions from educational leaders, policymakers, college and university presidents, members of governing boards, and legislators regarding cost (Johnstone, 2001). This situation is not unique to the United States.

Decision-makers considered the primary benefit of online distance education to be that costs could be spread over a large number of students, taking advantage of economy of scale, assuming that large numbers of students would increase revenue and lower cost-per-student and operating expenses. In addition, increased access and quality learning experiences remained important (Inglis, 1999).


This condensed version of the doctoral dissertation was originally published in the March 2005 issue of e-Journal of Instructional Science and Technology.