Is it Live or is it Internet? Experimental Estimates of the Effects of Online Instruction on Student Learning
This paper 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. Counter to the conclusions drawn by a recent U.S. Department of Education meta-analysis of non-experimental analyses of internet instruction in higher education, 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.
We appreciate the financial support of the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education (via the National Center for the Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research.) We are grateful to the introductory microeconomics professor and the large university that permitted us to randomly assign students to live and online versions of the same class. All errors are our own, and our results and conclusions do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Education, or the undisclosed university in question. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
"Is it Live or is it Internet? Experimental Es timates of the Effects of Online Instruction on Student Learning" (with Mark Rush and Lu Yin) Journal of Labor Economics , 2012. citation courtesy of