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Journal Entry 2
Laura Howard
University of Maryland University College
October 9, 2016

Module 2 has brought more of the financial aspect in relation to terminology and
equations on how costs are configured in distance education. According to the first objective in
module 2 (University of Maryland University College, 2016), Rumble in 1986 presented a
system with categories that are involved in distance education, such as materials, students,
logistical and regulatory areas (as cited in Du Vivier, 2008). Each of these sub-system categories
represents an essential part needed in a distance education system. The Materials category
includes the supplies and media that the student, instructor(s), etc. need in order to conduct the
class (Du Vivier, 2008). The Student sub-system focuses on the student activity and participation
in the course (Du Vivier, 2008). The Logistical system incorporates the other resources needed to
include with offering and maintaining the course such as financial, registration and support
services departments (Du Vivier, 2008). The last category is the regulatory area, which includes
the monitoring, reporting of criteria and directing the approach and methods used in the course(s)

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(Du Vivier, 2008). All of these sub-system areas help to establish and assign the appropriate
resources that are available or to purchase.
The remaining Module 2 objectives (University of Maryland University College, 2016)
further helped my understanding about the costs involved in distance education. The second
Module 2 (University of Maryland University College, 2016) objective examined how to
categorize and decipher the cost for other resources that apply to the overall costs of offering and
running courses. The cost of a department’s service and maintenance use for example should be
factored in as an overhead amount when determining the cost to conduct courses (Du Vivier,
2008). This is probably, to me, one of the more challenging costs to determine, but Du Vivier
(2008) specifically warns that overheads may not always be calculated in when determining the
total cost figures. The third Module 2 (University of Maryland University College, 2016)
objective refers to the main cost categories, which are still a bit challenging for me to understand.
I think I am able to distinguish the definitions between fixed costs, variable and semi-variable
cost fairly well, but when actually trying to determine where the expenses should be coded, that
is where I sometimes have difficulty. I find that what helps the most is when I have actual
situational examples that demonstrate how each type of cost is determined and utilized. The
fourth Module 2 (University of Maryland University College, 2016) objective also brought some
challenges for me in completely understanding how each cost factor directly was affecting the
average costs. However, once I saw the amounts change on the activity spreadsheet, that helped
me to see how the different variables such as the number of students and costs determined the
average cost per student. I like the reality that the more students that are enrolled the lower the
course price can be for the students because that appears to be one of the main benefits in
promoting distance education. The fifth Module 2 (University of Maryland University College,

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2016) objective describes how capital costs can be used to benefit education financially.
Calculating and determining ways to analyze capital costs such as the social discount approach
and annualization have been some of the more difficult concepts for me to fully understand, but I
can see the benefits in how analyzing these figures can reveal if purchases will be financially
worthy. I can see how the social discount approach (if I understand the main idea of it), can be
used in deciding whether or not to make a purchase based on Greville Rumble’s 1997 (p. 44)
explanation “value judgement concerning the cost to society” (as cited in Du Vivier, 2008, p. 34).
The return of value, such as establishing an educational institution, can provide education to the
surrounding society, resulting in financial, educational and job opportunities, which I think is a
thought I was influenced by after reading the previously explained Rumble’s 1997 (p. 44) quote
(as cited in Du Vivier, 2008, p. 34) and Rumble’s 1997, p. 47 quote “ just as the purchase of
land, buildings and equipment is an investment for the future, so is the development of course
materials is an investment that pays off over the life of the course” (as cited in Du Vivier, 2008,
p. 33).
Module 2 was a very informative section that presented the basics to determining and
examining cost information associated with offering and delivering distance education. Although
I already have some previous knowledge and experience with accounting in an educational
environment, this information gives me more thought to what I would need to determine before
offering a course. I feel that I have a general understanding of the concepts presented in this
module and I hope I will be able to apply them well, when needed in the future.

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References

Du Vivier, E. (2008). Costs and financing in open schools. Retrieved from
https://learn.umuc.edu/d2l/le/content/173062/viewContent/7806494/View
University of Maryland University College. (2016). OMDE 606 9040 Costs and economics of
distance education and e-learning (2168) OMDE-606 [Course syllabus]. OMDE 6069040, Fall 2016, [Costs and economics of distance education and e-learning (2168)
OMDE-606]. Master of Distance Education and E-learning, University of Maryland
University College, Retrieved from
https://learn.umuc.edu/d2l/le/content/173062/viewContent/7553270/View