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ERIC Number: ED580370
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Oct
Pages: 33
Abstractor: As Provided
Changing Distributions: How Online College Classes Alter Student and Professor Performance. CEPA Working Paper No. 15-10
Bettinger, Eric; Fox, Lindsay; Loeb, Susanna; Taylor, Eric
Stanford Center for Education Policy Analysis
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.
Stanford Center for Education Policy Analysis. 520 Galvez Mall, CERAS Building, 5th Floor, Stanford, CA 94305. Tel: 650-736-1258; Fax: 650-723-9931; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Numerical/Quantitative Data
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Institute of Education Sciences (ED)
Authoring Institution: Stanford Center for Education Policy Analysis (CEPA)
Identifiers - Location: Virginia
IES Funded: Yes
Grant or Contract Numbers: R305B090016