Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel: The Educational Impact of Online Pedagogy

Friday, November 13, 2015: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Tuttle Center (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Ted Joyce, Baruch College - CUNY
Panel Chairs:  Dahlia Remler, Baruch College/CUNY
Discussants:  Colin Chellman, City University of New York and Lesley Turner, University of Maryland

Bias in Online Classes: Evidence from a Field Experiment
Thomas Dee1, June Park John1, Rachel Baker2 and Brent Evans3, (1)Stanford University, (2)University of California, Irvine, (3)Vanderbilt University

Do Students Know Best? Choice of Format and Performance in Economics
Ted Joyce1, Dahlia Remler2, Sean Crockett3, David Jaeger4, Onur Altindag4 and Stephen D. O'Connell4, (1)Baruch College - CUNY, (2)Baruch College/CUNY, (3)Baruch College, (4)City University of New York

Student Achievement in Online Courses
Cassandra Hart, University of California, Davis, Brian Jacobs, University of Michigan and Susanna Loeb, Stanford University

This panel analyzes the impact of online pedagogy on a range of educational outcomes from the demand for an online Masters Degree to state-wide performance of students in K-12. The four papers demonstrate how online technologies are changing the delivery of educational services and their effect on student outcomes and educational providers. The first paper (Goodman and Pallais) studies the first fully online version of a prestigious STEM degree. The authors look at Georgia Tech's new Online M.S. in Computer Science (OMSCS). GA Tech’s computer science department, one of the top 10 in the nation, announced in 2013 that it would offer a fully online version of its prestigious master’s degree for one-seventh of cost that out-of-state students pay for its on-campus degree ($7,000 vs. $45,000). Authors address two questions: First, where and from whom does demand for high quality online STEM education come from? And second, what are the educational impacts of admission to OMSCS are? The second paper (Hart et al.) explores how participation in online classes is associated with achievement in Florida, which has the largest virtual education sector in the country. The authors draw on student-course level data spanning 2005-06 through 2013-14 provided by the Florida Education Data Warehouse. Initial results suggest that among incoming cohorts of 9th graders, students who take virtual courses during their 9th and 10th grader years modestly out-perform their peers on 10th grade math and reading tests by roughly .04 to .08 standard deviations. The third paper (Joyce et al.) analyzes the effect of student preference for a class format on academic performance by comparing students who were randomized to a format with those who chose their format. The authors randomized 725 students in the fall of 2013 between a traditional undergraduate lecture class of introductory microeconomics that met twice a week (150 minutes) and a hybrid or compressed format that met only once a week (75 minutes). In the fall of 2014, they offered the same course taught at the same times, in the same classrooms, by the same professors using the same book, software and lecture slides. However, the 769 students enrolled in the course choose between a traditional and compressed format. They find remarkably little evidence that student preference for a format has an appreciable impact on academic performance. The fourth paper (Dee et al.) explores whether there is evidence of bias in the rates of views, replies or comment points in MOOC discussion forums based on gender or race? The authors conducted a randomized experiment by posting MOOC forum comments using randomly assigned names. The comments used come from a list of 32 generic discussion forum comments that are neither course- nor content-specific and were modified from actual forum comments. Results confirm the existence of instructor bias as they are more likely to respond to forum posts by ostensibly White Male students; however, we discover no evidence of racial or gender bias from MOOC participants as a whole.
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