Five at 8 – 3/3/10: Why does online cost more?

1) MPR reporter Tim Post’s story documenting the difference in costs for students who take classes online has prompted a fair amount of feedback overnight. Post reported that online classes at MnSCU schools cost an average of 19 percent more than those taught in the classroom. MnSCU schools can decide individually how much to charge per credit.

From Rochester, a person who teaches both in person and online at the community college writes:

You highlight Anoka Technical as a college without a cost differential between their in-person and their online courses but you failed to mention that this comes at a cost to Anoka online students: Anoka also has parity between in-person and online class sizes. Many of the other MNSCU schools have cost offsets built into online tuition to account for the reduction in online class sizes. Online faculty at RCTC have fought for smaller online class sizes for the sake of student learning. The reply we receive is often financial and, just as often, nonspecific.

You also mention that an online course “often requires as much interaction with students as in a classroom” as their in-person counterparts. Often? Try MORE often than not. As a MNSCU instructor who teaches both online and in-person courses and speaking as one who strives to give the same education to all of his students, I can tell you that online teaching frequently requires much more contact time per student. In-person teaching lends itself to efficiencies that are not available in an asynchronous, online learning environment.

Recent research supports my anecdotal account. It is highly unlikely that Anoka Technical online instructors are paid more per credit hour than their in-person counterparts. So, if Anoka Tech students are receiving a quality online education, which I assume they are, it is only through the dedication of seriously exploited online faculty.

Why does online cost more? Minnesota charges $1.75 “tech charge” to renew tabs online, rather than walking in and having a person — making more than $1.75 an hour — help me. The Twins — and Major League Baseball — charge me to print out tickets on my computer using my ink and my paper, so they don’t have to spend money on ticket printing, envelopes, handling, and postage. Why does that cost more?

2) Duluth. From a bicycle. In winter.

(h/t: Perfect Duluth Day)

3) An air traffic controller brought his kid to work at JFK airport and let him tell a few pilots they were cleared for takeoff. Clearly, the kid wasn’t making the decisions, he was just given the chance to say the same words Dad would’ve said. Is this a big deal? Apparently so.

Calm down, America.

Meanwhile, up at the National Guard air base in North Dakota, the “Happy Hooligans” are back. Pilots volunteering time to give sick kids a few chuckles.

4) I’m not sure how I missed this. The charming Iowa couple that played a piano duet in the atrium of the Mayo Clinic some time ago, returned for an encore on Saturday.

They’re still charming.

Keep a song in your heart and keep singing.

5) Did someone say “Internet sensation”? A rock band, OK Go, wanted to make a memorable music video for its new song. It worked. Meet your latest Internet sensation. Don’t turn the sound down, however, because the contraption plays part of the song.

And here’s how they did it:


Facebook was born six years ago. It now has more than 400 million active users, a population that would make it the third largest country on Earth. Today’s Question: How has social networking changed your life?


I’m on Morning Edition this morning at 8:25 to talk about the appliance recycling program in Minnesota and whether it made any difference toward stimulating the economy or saving energy.

Midmorning (9-11 a.m.) – First hour: Six years since its inception, Facebook is the dominant force in social media. And with 400 million users, it is changing the way we communicate. But controversies over privacy, challenges from Google, and some backlash from users could make its next six years more difficult.

Second hour: A migraine sufferer on the history of headache. Historian and migraine sufferer Andrew Levy explores the best (and worst) treatments for migraine through time and different cultures. He also explores the causes for a poorly respected disorder that afflicted great minds like Emily Dickinson, Lewis Carroll, and Thomas Jefferson.

Midday (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) – First hour: DFL House Speaker Margaret Anderson Kelliher and DFL Senate Majority Leader Larry Pogemiller join Midday in the studio to discuss the state budget and other issues at the Capitol.

Second hour:Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz looks at what we’ve learned from the economic downturn and how to prevent another crisis.

Talk of the Nation (1-3 p.m.) – First hour: Mitt Romney talks about

his book, No Apologies.

Second hour: Teachers have moved to the center of the debate over how to improve American schools. But many teachers say their views are often ignored. That’s one

result of a new survey of 40,000 U.S. teachers. What teachers have to say about fixing America’s schools,

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) – Singer Nina Simone believed in confronting the racial divide. And she made that clear in all her performances, even if it made some in her audience uncomfortable. A new biography explores the music and the life of Nina Simone.

It’s Harlem. And it’s 1969…