Changing Distributions: How Online College Classes Alter Student and Professor Performance

Year of Publication: 
2015

Online college courses are a rapidly expanding feature of higher education, yet little research identifies their effects. Using an instrumental variables approach and data from DeVry University, this study finds that, on average, online course-taking reduces student learning by one-third to one-quarter of a standard deviation compared to conventional in-person classes. Taking a course online also reduces student learning in future courses and persistence in college. Additionally, we find that student performance is more variable online than in traditional classrooms but that individual professors explain less of the variation in student performance in online settings than in traditional classrooms.

Education Level:

APA Citation

Bettinger, E., Fox, L., Loeb, S., & Taylor, E. (2015). Changing Distributions: How Online College Classes Alter Student and Professor Performance.