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Online Format vs. Live Mode of Instruction: Do Human Capital Differences or Differences in Returns to Human Capital Explain the Differences in Outcomes?

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Author Info

  • Oskar R. Harmon

    (University of Connecticut)

  • James Lambrinos

    (Union University)

Abstract

Our paper asks the question: Does mode of instruction format (live or online format) effect test scores in the principles of macroeconomics classes? Our data are from several sections of principles of macroeconomics, some in live format, some in online format, and all taught by the same instructor. We find that test scores for the online format, when corrected for sample selection bias, are four points higher than for the live format, and the difference is statistically significant. One possible explanation for this is that there was slightly higher human capital in the classes that had the online format. A Oaxaca decomposition of this difference in grades was conducted to see how much was due to human capital and how much was due to the differences in the rates of return to human capital. This analysis reveals that 25% of the difference was due to the higher human capital with the remaining 75% due to differences in the returns to human capital. It is possible that for the relatively older student with the appropriate online learning skill set, and with schedule constrains created by family and job, the online format provides them with a more productive learning environment than does the alternative traditional live class format. Also, because our data are limited to the student s academic transcript, we recommend future research include data on learning style characteristics, and the constraints formed by family and job choices.

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File URL: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/working/2006-07.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Connecticut, Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 2006-07.

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Length: 14 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2006-07

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Postal: University of Connecticut 341 Mansfield Road, Unit 1063 Storrs, CT 06269-1063
Phone: (860) 486-4889
Fax: (860) 486-4463
Web page: http://www.econ.uconn.edu/
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Related research

Keywords: economic education; distance education; online instruction; pedagogy;

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References

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  1. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  2. William L. Goffe & Kim Sosin, 2005. "Teaching with Technology: May You Live in Interesting Times," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(3), pages 278-291, July.
  3. Coates, Dennis & Humphreys, Brad R. & Kane, John & Vachris, Michelle A., 2004. ""No significant distance" between face-to-face and online instruction: evidence from principles of economics," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 533-546, October.
  4. Oskar R. Harmon & James Lambrinos, 2006. "Are Online Exams an Invitation to Cheat?," Working papers 2006-08, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2007.
  5. Rajshree Agarwal & A. Edward Day, 1998. "The Impact of the Internet on Economic Education," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 29(2), pages 99-110, January.
  6. Peter Navarro, 2000. "Economics in the Cyberclassroom," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(2), pages 119-132, Spring.
  7. Byron W. Brown & Carl E. Liedholm, 2002. "Can Web Courses Replace the Classroom in Principles of Microeconomics?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 444-448, May.
  8. Oaxaca, Ronald, 1973. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 14(3), pages 693-709, October.
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