DSU exploring alternate options for online course fees

Graphic by Jade Cash.

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While online classes offer convenience for students taking them, there are some drawbacks to choosing the online route. 

When you enroll in an online course there is an additional $30 per credit charge that is added to your school fees. While some may see $30 as not much, it can quickly add up. Taking a three-credit class has a charge of $90, so if you are a student who prefers online classes you may want to take into consideration just how much they will increase your fees.

Ryan Hobbs, director of digital and extended learning, explained why we have the extra charge to online courses. 

“We did an exhausted analysis across the state and across our peer institutions that we benchmark with, and we looked regionally as well and that $30 point was average,” Hobbs said. “We didn’t want to be on the high end, but we didn’t necessarily want to be on the low end.”

“We are trying to increase that access so that students have additional flexibility in their schedules.”

Ryan Hobbs

Hobbs said the extra $30 students spend per credit for an online course helps with many different things. One of those being the design and redesign of online courses so that students have more options available.

“DSU has a lot of individual online course offerings for students,” Hobbs said. “There are over 180 unique courses that students have to choose from. We are trying to increase that access so that students have additional flexibility in their schedules. We are also trying to go after full development of programs so that students can complete part or all of their degree or credential online.”

Hobbs said he thinks there are alternative options for the extra course charge. The school is working on finding a solution to reduce the fee, or possibly get rid of it altogether. Hobbs said if everything works out, the extra online course fee will be dropped as early as next year.

Hobbs said that he recently met with Dr. Michael Lacourse, vice president of academic affairs, to explore ways to potentially eliminate the fee, or at least make reductions to it, as they are trying to lower costs for students.

“I am hopeful by fall of 2020 we will start to see a reduction in the course fee,” Hobbs said.

Shay Potter, a senior exercise science major from Taylorsville, said she is currently taking two online courses; fundamentals of sports management and principals of fitness and lifestyle management. 

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Potter said she thinks it is ridiculous that we have to spend extra money for online classes. She said online classes should cost just as much as a normal class does. 

“We don’t have a class to go to, it’s not like their handing out papers and if we have to print anything, we are going to be printing it ourselves,” Potter said. “If there is going to be any difference, it shouldn’t be $30 per credit, make it $30 for the entire class.”

Potter said that she would like to see the extra course charges go to something like bringing in a guest speaker who works in that specific field to talk to students; whether it is a face to face meeting, or online. 

Charlie Sullivan, a sophomore psychology major from St. George, is currently taking accounting and sociology online. 

“My work hours can be sporadic so it is helpful to take the classes online and be able to do the homework whenever I need to,” Sullivan said.  

Sullivan said that he would like to see the extra money go towards helping the students and to better help with the operation of the online courses. 

Sullivan shared some of his concerns that he feels as though the extra course fees may help in regards to what online classes are missing. 

“I feel like the interactive elements, as far as the learning, there is not really a teacher there that you can ask questions,” Sullivan said. “You can still message your teacher, but that is not as convenient.”