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Does Classroom Time Matter? A Randomized Field Experiment of Hybrid and Traditional Lecture Formats in Economics

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Listed:
  • Theodore J. Joyce
  • Sean Crockett
  • David A. Jaeger
  • Onur Altindag
  • Stephen D. O'Connell

Abstract

We test whether students in a hybrid format of introductory microeconomics, which met once per week, performed as well as students in a traditional lecture format of the same class, which met twice per week. We randomized 725 students at a large, urban public university into the two formats, and unlike past studies, had a very high participation rate of 96 percent. Two experienced professors taught one section of each format, and students in both formats had access to the same online materials. We find that students in the traditional format scored 2.3 percentage points more on a 100-point scale on the combined midterm and final. There were no differences between formats in non-cognitive effort (attendance, time spent with online materials) nor in withdrawal from the class. Comparing our experimental estimates of the effect of attendance with non-experimental estimates using only students in the traditional format, we find that the non-experimental were 2.5 times larger, suggesting that the large effects of attending lectures found in the previous literature are likely due to selection bias. Overall our results suggest that hybrid classes may offer a cost effective alternative to traditional lectures while having a small impact on student performance.

Suggested Citation

  • Theodore J. Joyce & Sean Crockett & David A. Jaeger & Onur Altindag & Stephen D. O'Connell, 2014. "Does Classroom Time Matter? A Randomized Field Experiment of Hybrid and Traditional Lecture Formats in Economics," NBER Working Papers 20006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20006
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dobkin, Carlos & Gil, Ricard & Marion, Justin, 2010. "Skipping class in college and exam performance: Evidence from a regression discontinuity classroom experiment," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 566-575, August.
    2. Elchanan Cohn & Eric Johnson, 2006. "Class Attendance and Performance in Principles of Economics," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 14(2), pages 211-233.
    3. James W Pennebaker & Samuel D Gosling & Jason D Ferrell, 2013. "Daily Online Testing in Large Classes: Boosting College Performance while Reducing Achievement Gaps," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 8(11), pages 1-6, November.
    4. William G. Bowen & Matthew M. Chingos & Kelly A. Lack & Thomas I. Nygren, 2014. "Interactive Learning Online at Public Universities: Evidence from a Six‐Campus Randomized Trial," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 33(1), pages 94-111, January.
    5. William G. Bowen, 2013. "Higher Education in the Digital Age," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 10053, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Benjamin T. Skinner, 2019. "Making the Connection: Broadband Access and Online Course Enrollment at Public Open Admissions Institutions," Research in Higher Education, Springer;Association for Institutional Research, vol. 60(7), pages 960-999, November.
    2. Alcalde, Pilar & Nagel, Juan, 2015. "Does active learning improve student performance? A randomized experiment in a Chilean university," MPRA Paper 68994, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Bhavik K. Pathak, 2016. "Emerging online educational models and the transformation of traditional universities," Electronic Markets, Springer;IIM University of St. Gallen, vol. 26(4), pages 315-321, November.

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    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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