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The impact of online learning on students’ course outcomes: Evidence from a large community and technical college system

  • Xu, Di
  • Jaggars, Shanna Smith
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    Using a large administrative dataset from a statewide system including 34 community and technical colleges, the authors employed an instrumental variable technique to estimate the impact of online versus face-to-face course delivery on student course performance. The travel distance between each student's home and college campus served as an instrument for the likelihood of enrolling in an online section of a given course. In addition, college-by-course fixed effects controlled for within- and between-course selection bias. Analyses yield robust negative estimates for online learning in terms of both course persistence and course grade, contradicting the notion that there is no significant difference between online and face-to-face student outcomes—at least within the community college setting. Accordingly, both two-year and four-year colleges may wish to focus on evaluating and improving the quality of online coursework before engaging in further expansions of online learning.

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    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272775713001039
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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Economics of Education Review.

    Volume (Year): 37 (2013)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 46-57

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecoedu:v:37:y:2013:i:c:p:46-57
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/econedurev

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    1. David N. Figlio & Mark Rush & Lu Yin, 2010. "Is it Live or is it Internet? Experimental Estimates of the Effects of Online Instruction on Student Learning," NBER Working Papers 16089, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. M. Ruth & K. Donaghy & P. Kirshen, 2006. "Introduction," Chapters, in: Regional Climate Change and Variability, chapter 1 Edward Elgar.
    3. Stock, James H & Wright, Jonathan H & Yogo, Motohiro, 2002. "A Survey of Weak Instruments and Weak Identification in Generalized Method of Moments," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(4), pages 518-29, October.
    4. Rouse, Cecilia Elena, 1995. "Democratization or Diversion? The Effect of Community Colleges on Educational Attainment," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(2), pages 217-24, April.
    5. Jeffrey M. Wooldridge, 2003. "Cluster-Sample Methods in Applied Econometrics," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(2), pages 133-138, May.
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