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Is It Live or Is It Internet? Experimental Estimates of the Effects of Online Instruction on Student Learning

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  • David Figlio
  • Mark Rush
  • Lu Yin

Abstract

This article presents the first experimental evidence on the effects of live versus Internet media of instruction. Students in a large introductory microeconomics course at a major research university were randomly assigned to live lectures versus watching these same lectures in an Internet setting where all other factors (e.g., instruction, supplemental materials) were the same. We find modest evidence that live-only instruction dominates Internet instruction. These results are particularly strong for Hispanic students, male students, and lower-achieving students. We also provide suggestions for future experimentation in other settings.

Suggested Citation

  • David Figlio & Mark Rush & Lu Yin, 2013. "Is It Live or Is It Internet? Experimental Estimates of the Effects of Online Instruction on Student Learning," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(4), pages 763-784.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/669930
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alan B. Krueger, 1999. "Experimental Estimates of Education Production Functions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(2), pages 497-532.
    2. Colleen Donovan & David N. Figlio & Mark Rush, 2006. "Cramming: The Effects of School Accountability on College-Bound Students," NBER Working Papers 12628, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Joshua Angrist & Eric Bettinger & Michael Kremer, 2006. "Long-Term Educational Consequences of Secondary School Vouchers: Evidence from Administrative Records in Colombia," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 847-862, June.
    4. 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.
    5. Figlio, David & Loeb, Susanna, 2011. "School Accountability," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
    6. P. Navarro & J. Shoemaker, 2000. "Policy issues in the teaching of economics in cyberspace: research design, course design, and research results," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 18(3), pages 359-366, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Paul Belleflamme & Julien Jacqmin, 2016. "An Economic Appraisal of MOOC Platforms: Business Models and Impacts on Higher Education," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 62(1), pages 148-169.
    2. Fairlie Robert W., 2016. "Do Boys and Girls Use Computers Differently, and Does It Contribute to Why Boys do Worse in School Than Girls?," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 16(1), pages 59-96, January.
    3. Olitsky, Neal H. & Cosgrove, Sarah B., 2016. "The better blend? Flipping the principles of microeconomics classroom," International Review of Economics Education, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 1-11.
    4. Jose Vazquez & Eric Chiang, 2015. "Flipping Out! A Case Study on How to Flip the Principles of Economics Classroom," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 21(4), pages 379-390, November.
    5. Oskar Harmon & William Alpert & Joseph Histen, 2014. "Online Discussion and Learning Outcomes," International Advances in Economic Research, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 20(1), pages 33-44, February.
    6. repec:kap:iaecre:v:21:y:2015:i:4:p:379-390 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Perri, Timothy, 2016. "Online education, signaling, and human capital," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 69-74.
    8. Xu, Di & Jaggars, Shanna Smith, 2013. "The impact of online learning on students’ course outcomes: Evidence from a large community and technical college system," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 46-57.
    9. Heissel, Jennifer, 2016. "The relative benefits of live versus online delivery: Evidence from virtual algebra I in North Carolina," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 99-115.
    10. Nick Huntington-Klein & James Cowan & Dan Goldhaber, 2017. "Selection into Online Community College Courses and Their Effects on Persistence," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 58(3), pages 244-269, May.
    11. repec:kap:iaecre:v:20:y:2014:i:1:p:33-44 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Joyce, Ted & Crockett, Sean & Jaeger, David A. & Altindag, Onur & O'Connell, Stephen D., 2015. "Does classroom time matter?," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 64-77.
    13. John M. Krieg & Steven E. Henson, 2016. "The Educational Impact of Online Learning: How Do University Students Perform in Subsequent Courses?," Education Finance and Policy, MIT Press, vol. 11(4), pages 426-448, Fall.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions

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