Thursday, 12 April 2007

The TCO of an Island for Education

Many dream of setting up an educational island. But what does it cost to start and run in SL. Total cost could mount to $1.203.653 for a four year period. This means $ 1.253.81 per student per year, including rent, accommodation, the costs for furnishing and the costs of staff to coach the students. Developing learning materials and methods is included in the costs of staff. The image will enlarge when clicked upon. If your interested in receiving the spreadsheet, leave a comment or send me a mail.

7 comments:

jeremy said...

This looks grossly inflated to me... coaching... that is nonsense. the cost is around 10k us over 4 years. the other costs are already accounted for in normal class operations.

Joop van Schie (Joop Zuhal, Swain 116/60/105 ) said...

Jeremy,

the numbers are based on the assumption that full time coaches will guide 240 students in SL environment. I am aware of the fact that most educational institutes do not calculate their labour in production costs, but I think for a SL startup these are realistic.

Joop

Pierre said...

Joop,

I don't understand the figures, but that might be because you don't explain what it is you're planning to do on the island.
You talk about cabins: what for, to live in? and coaches: what are they going to coach the students in? Are they going to be giving online lectures, coaching them in how to use Second Life?

Joop van Schie (Joop Zuhal, Swain 116/60/105 ) said...

Pierre,

I just posted it to see what reactions I would collect and to start a discussion. I did not choose any subject, matter, curriculum or educational sector, just the assumption that you would need room to work, some sort of accommodation and coaches for guidance of students.

I d look forward to you hear your ideas about this

Pierre said...

In the other post, where you post an example of a cabin you talk about "including places to rest". That gives the impression that you treat the cabins as if they were RL dorms. Instead I think you need more flexible areas depending on the sort of activities you're planning to cater for in SL, not these barracks.
If you take a look at
this document you'll see that it describes a great number of different assignments that you could have students do in SL. Most of them require their own setup, preparations, a combination of coaches during the assignment *and* builders that prepare the assignment in world etc.
I don't have the numbers for amount of time, room and thus money each one of them would require. That would be worthwhile research though.
You also should take into account the amount of money it would cost to do that in RL (if at all possible) so you can decide if this a cost effective way of doing it.

jeremy said...

I don't see the necessity of 'coaches' at all. To me, 'coaching' misses the point of the learning environment, which is precisely to get the students to learn, through exploration of the environment, and the interfaces, how to manipulate that environment. Most of our students are already masters of this technique. At best, I would be more inclined to assign students to work with a group of 2-4 other students, which would likely accomplish whatever 'training' the 'coach' would do in a far shorter period. the coach as such is an inflation, and really i can't see how your including it does not mislead people as to 'real' costs, but I'm interested in understanding the necessities of the coach, and perhaps it is necessary.killer

Joop van Schie (Joop Zuhal, Swain 116/60/105 ) said...

Jeremy,

I agree with you on the skills our students have these days in the use of environments like SL and/or more basic (web 1 to n) applications. I also see your point in assigning with a more or less free assignment to develop their ideas, skills and habits. I am a great admirer of the Wondertree initiative in Vancouver in that respect. But I do not belief in the complete isolation of this method as I feel, sometimes know by experience that development needs scaffolding by more maturely developed or already skilled partners. So I am not attached to the ratio of coaches, or whatever name we d like to label them with or the necessity of cabins. I am only interested in the best way to use SL and simili to improve our ideas and methods in learning. So far we two are doing all right here :-)

btw I can not mail you direct as the system refuses to acknowledge your email adress. I wouldn't mind knowing more of you otoh this way is OK to me