How Much It Cost To Film An Online Learning Course

The team at LearnVest breaks down the cost of creating an online course.

It costs a pretty penny to produce an online course, if you want it to be better than your usual paid course. After all, with ebooks and free services like Udemy, viewers can learn for little to no price.

Still, learning online can be a whole lot of fun for your grade-schooler or a cash-strapped new mom. You and your campus are free to look at online courses, such as the popular free Coursera program. And depending on the source, you can even connect your own device or classroom to the system to offer all-inclusive tutoring. But there’s still a price for quality.

Here are a few typical prices you can expect to pay:

Coursera? You pay a membership fee of $120 per year for about 60 online courses that typically offer 90 minutes of instruction per week. If you’re teaching a few times a month, the cost will be about $200 for about half a semester, or $3.50 per course.

Online Goodbyes? In addition to the membership fee, Coursera’s price point generally runs around $300 per year, which includes the courses listed above, plus others in its “colleges & workplaces” section, according to learning tracker website Course Report.

Subscribe to Online Settings? Another subscription price is included with courses in Coursera. The company says, “In addition to the courses that include your instructor’s courses, Coursera will send you an email after each meeting with a link to an additional course, providing the option to watch the course or take the course you missed.”

Stanford’s massive open online course, or MOOC, Startup School, started by computer science professor and avid entrepreneur Andrew Ng, was aimed at an undergraduate audience (starting at $59 a session). Then, in 2014, it was scaled to a larger audience: Its price was down from $95 per session to just $6 a session. You can get current courses now at the wide-ranging, university-level online service Udemy.

Spendless? It’s never been cheaper to teach online, though if you’re teaching as part of a university course, your school is usually required to pay for the bandwidth, which can run between $5 and $25 per hour, especially for streaming, according to Coursera. Online class data monitors are sparse. Ed-Ouze charges for paid subscriptions, which usually offer a self-paced track with a viewing schedule. There’s also Found School, which is free to use in any format. And Babbel offers some videos with narration without an extra charge.

Interactivity? If your course is an ebook, you can turn the content into a podcast, if you so choose. In fact, Coursera recently announced the creation of podcasts with the online courses. Most textbooks are available as digital books, so you can convert them to audio format and listen to them if you want.

Reproduction and Copyright? In the college setting, most courses are subject to copyright law, which limits what can be uploaded for free, and even more so if your course is online. Also, many schools have video rights as well as contract with video producers, which means you may not be able to distribute lectures.

On Campus? Instead of spending $150 to $300 per semester to teach online at the university level, small community colleges can usually offer the same level of education for half or less. That often means online education is part of the bundle of an entire course, and you can have a much more streamlined delivery. Some community colleges have affordable subscription prices: The Southern State Community College website says the school’s cheapest online course costs just $4.49 per course.

Coming Soon? Pay for books, print materials and other materials in the physical classroom, with help from credit transfer or advanced placement classes, and start saving on that education bill! If you’re a professional with a contract, you can expect to make that investment in dollars now. For the rest of us, you can still turn to the online community to learn and teach, with the option to teach or tutor in your own time.

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