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Class Attendance, PowerPoint Slides and Learning Outcomes


  • William T. Alpert

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Archita Banik

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Oskar R. Harmon

    (University of Connecticut)

  • James Lambrinos

    (Union Graduate College)

  • Richard N. Langlois

    (University of Connecticut)


At many large universities it is conventional to deliver undergraduate introductory economics courses in a large lecture hall with a live lecturer. However, not surprisingly, casual empiricism suggests that rates of student absenteeism are significantly greater in a large lecture format than in a smaller classroom setting. A compounding factor is that numerous empirical studies have established a significant negative relation between absenteeism and student performance. Though many instructors employ the technology of PowerPoint presentation in the traditional lecture, there is reluctance among some instructors to distribute the PowerPoint lecture notes to students. Their concern is that if absenteeism is greater in large lecture classes and greater absenteeism leads to poorer performance, then won’t distributing lecture presentations online will contribute to an increase in absenteeism and therefore lower educational outcomes? This study investigates the relation between student performance and the use of online lecture notes. The findings confirm the usual finding that absence from the lecture reduces the probability of a correct response to questions covered in the lecture. For students absent from class, however, studying from instructor provided lecture notes increases the probability of a correct response. For students with a multi-modal learning style the positive effect of lecture notes offsets the negative effect of absence, not so for students with mono-modal learning styles. JEL Classification: A2, A22 Key words: Learning Preference, Absenteeism, Lecture Notes

Suggested Citation

  • William T. Alpert & Archita Banik & Oskar R. Harmon & James Lambrinos & Richard N. Langlois, 2012. "Class Attendance, PowerPoint Slides and Learning Outcomes," Working papers 2012-42, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2012-42

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    JEL classification:

    • A2 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics
    • A22 - General Economics and Teaching - - Economic Education and Teaching of Economics - - - Undergraduate

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