The Product Life-Cycle of Online Courses and Student Engagement
American Journal of Distance Education Volume 32, Number 3, ISSN 0892-3647
With increased online course offerings at most higher education institutions, it is important to have a way to determine whether the courses continue to have value to students or outlived their usefulness. Courses are the central means of knowledge delivery for each institution and may be viewed through the lens of the product life-cycle, which is a common way for for-profit corporations to ensure they are aware of when it is time to make adjustments or completely overhaul what they provide to consumers. We leverage this concept to develop a conceptual mode of the life-span and cycle of curricular products; especially, those delivered online, which may have a shorter shelf life than in-classroom courses. To that end, we map a single course that has spanned nearly 20 years and shifted from face-to-face delivery, to a blended mode with learning technologies support, and then into a fully online format. This piece depicts the course life-cycle, which emerged from multi-strategy research analysis of that course. Understanding that online courses have a life-cycle can help department and university managers plan for the investment in the improvement of each as it comes to the end of its useful lifespan. This can ensure high-quality learning and a sustainable portfolio of programs and courses with which students are engaged.
Warren, S.J. & Robinson, H.A. (2018). The Product Life-Cycle of Online Courses and Student Engagement. American Journal of Distance Education, 32(3), 161-176.