The day after tomorrow: Continuing student use of old online courses

Ken Masters*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Citation (SciVal)


Background: For good technical and logistic reasons, online courses are closed, deleted or archived soon after the courses have officially ended. On the other hand, online education philosophy, emphasising the learning community and the value of student contribution, argues for a longer retention of courses. For universities to take the education theory seriously, however, they need evidence that students actually access old courses. In the light of this tension, we ask: given the choice, how many students still access the course long after it has officially ended? Methods: This study snapshots the access information from 13 undergraduate courses that allow student access long after the courses have officially ended. This paper examines the last date of access by each student in each course, and groups the data into 6-monthly intervals after the course ending date. Results: In the total period of 1-30 months after course's ending, an average of 69% of students accessed the courses; the lowest of any course was 29%, and the highest 86%. After 25-30 months, an average of 8% of students are still accessing the courses. Conclusion: Further research areas are the actual activities of those students returning to old courses, and the extent to which these findings can be generalised. Nevertheless, from this study, there is enough evidence to argue against automatically removing undergraduate online courses soon, or even a year, after officially ending. This information is of particular importance to Higher Education institutions that currently disallow access to online courses after a year or less.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationICEL 2006 - International Conference on e-Learning
EditorsDan Remenyi
PublisherAcademic Conferences Limited
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)1905305222
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes
Event1st International Conference on e-Learning, ICEL 2006 - Montreal, Canada
Duration: Jun 22 2006Jun 23 2006

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Conference on e-Learning, ICEL
ISSN (Print)2048-8882
ISSN (Electronic)2048-8890


Other1st International Conference on e-Learning, ICEL 2006


  • Learning management systems
  • Old courses
  • Online learning
  • Student access

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Information Systems
  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'The day after tomorrow: Continuing student use of old online courses'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this