Table of Contents

Behavioral Economics: A Maverick Guide

Hugh H. Schwartz, University of the Republic, Uruguay

Beyond Time-on-Task: The Relationship between Spaced Study and Certification in MOOCs

Yohsuke R. Miyamoto, Harvard University
Cody Austun Coleman, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Joseph Jay Williams, Harvard University
Jacob Whitehill, Harvard University
Sergiy O Nesterko, Harvard University - HarvardX
Justin Reich, Harvard University - HarvardX, Harvard University - Berkman Center for Internet & Society


"Behavioral Economics: A Maverick Guide" Free Download

HUGH H. SCHWARTZ, University of the Republic, Uruguay

These are the notes from the first half of the course in behavioral economics offered at the School of Social Sciences of the University of the Republic in Uruguay in November 2014. This part of the course, entirely verbal, was aimed at outlining the essentials of behavioral economics. The principal assignments were from the second edition of Edward Cartwright's text, Behavioral Economics. The second part of the course, taught by Dr. Martin Egozcue, is not included. It emphasized prospect theory, mental accounts and inter-temporal decision making, and featured substantial mathematical input.

"Beyond Time-on-Task: The Relationship between Spaced Study and Certification in MOOCs" Free Download

YOHSUKE R. MIYAMOTO, Harvard University
CODY AUSTUN COLEMAN, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
JOSEPH JAY WILLIAMS, Harvard University
JACOB WHITEHILL, Harvard University
SERGIY O NESTERKO, Harvard University - HarvardX
JUSTIN REICH, Harvard University - HarvardX, Harvard University - Berkman Center for Internet & Society

A long history of laboratory and field experiments has demonstrated that dividing study time into many sessions is often superior to massing study time into few sessions, a phenomenon widely known as the “spacing effect.� Massive open online courses (MOOCs) collect abundant data about student activity over time, but little of its early research has used learning theory to interrogate these data. Taking inspiration from this psychology literature, here we use data collected from MOOCs to identify observational evidence for the benefits of spaced practice in educational settings. We investigated tracking logs from 20 HarvardX courses to examine whether there was any relationship between how students allocated their participation and what performance they achieved. While controlling for the effect of total time on-site, we show that the number of sessions students initiate is an important predictor of certification rate, across students in all courses. Furthermore, we demonstrate that when students spend similar amounts of time in multiple courses, they perform better in courses where that time is distributed among more sessions, suggesting the benefit of spaced practice independently of student characteristics. We conclude by proposing interventions to guide students’ study schedules and for leveraging such an effect.


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Advisory Board

Economics Educator: Courses, Cases & Teaching eJournal

Associate Professor of Economics, University of Nebraska at Lincoln - Department of Economics

Associate Professor of Economics, SUNY Oswego - Department of Economics

Dean, Kelce College of Business, Pittsburg State University, Emeritus Professor of Economics, Mississippi State University - College of Business

Professor of Economics, University of Richmond - E. Claiborne Robins School of Business

Professor of Economics and Director of the Center for Economic Education, Purdue University - Department of Economics