NC State’s WolfWare Outreach, an enterprise-level learning management system used for online, fee-based, non-credit offerings, has a new tool to help program providers make the best decisions on pricing strategies— a calculator spreadsheet to estimate program or course pricing and revenue.
Inspiration for the idea came from DELTA’s Senior Vice Provost for Academic Outreach and Entrepreneurship (AOE) Tom Miller when he created NExS, a network-extensible spreadsheet software. DELTA’s Associate Vice Provost for Marketing and Partnership Development Kay Zimmerman, Multimedia Specialist Jennafer Pettit and Assistant Vice Provost of AOE Business Operations Jessie Sova saw NExS as an opportunity to provide more information for effective business decisions using WolfWare Outreach.
Using NExS, the calculator can help users estimate the number of participants needed, and the event/course price, to charge to cover their costs or generate the desired revenue. Both the quick estimating tool, as well as the detailed calculator spreadsheet, can be found on the DELTA website.
“A lot of faculty members are interested in using WolfWare Outreach, but they don’t exactly understand how to determine the pricing of the program and create a business model to ensure costs are recovered. We’re hoping the calculator will help simplify that process,” said Zimmerman.
It is still recommended that people interested in the WolfWare Outreach service sign up for a consultation to receive a more personal and detailed analysis, but using the calculator beforehand makes the process much easier.
“I think it’s important to have faculty come into a consultation with as much knowledge and information as possible. The calculator can help them prepare,” said Pettit.
The calculator spreadsheet allows users to go as in-depth as they want in order to get a general idea of costs and pricing. Once the numbers are plugged in, program providers are able to better understand the costs and options they have with their potential course or program. It ultimately helps answer the question of if it is viable for someone to create a course with the desired revenue in mind.
“The calculator really does take everything into account. Now entrepreneurial faculty members and WolfWare Outreach users can build a cost-effective business model from simply plugging in the numbers. It even provides instructions and definitions for those who may not be familiar with this type of stuff,” said Sova. “You don’t need to be a pro to use it. That’s the whole point.”
The tool’s general goal is to get program providers to understand the real cost of developing their course or program via WolfWare Outreach with a focus on cost recovery. It serves as a basic mechanism to get started and become aware of pricing in order to produce sustainable financial outcomes.
“It really was a team effort from start to finish. We couldn’t have done this without working together,” added Zimmerman. The team plans to explore more opportunities to enhance and improve the calculation tools in the future.
The tool was launched on October 29, 2018, and is available to both faculty and non-faculty users.