Does Classroom Time Matter? a Randomized Field Experiment of Hybrid and Traditional Lecture Formats in Economics

67 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2014 Last revised: 2 Apr 2014

See all articles by Theodore Joyce

Theodore Joyce

CUNY Baruch College - Zicklin School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Sean Crockett

City University of New York, Baruch College - Zicklin School of Business - Department of Economics and Finance

David A. Jaeger

Ph.D. Program in Economics, City University of New York Graduate Center; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); University of Cologne - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); University College London - CReAM - Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration

Onur Altindag

City University of New York

Stephen D. O'Connell

Emory University

Date Written: March 2014

Abstract

We test whether students in a hybrid format of introductory microeconomics, which met once per week, performed as well as students in a traditional lecture format of the same class, which met twice per week. We randomized 725 students at a large, urban public university into the two formats, and unlike past studies, had a very high participation rate of 96 percent. Two experienced professors taught one section of each format, and students in both formats had access to the same online materials. We find that students in the traditional format scored 2.3 percentage points more on a 100-point scale on the combined midterm and final. There were no differences between formats in non-cognitive effort (attendance, time spent with online materials) nor in withdrawal from the class. Comparing our experimental estimates of the effect of attendance with non-experimental estimates using only students in the traditional format, we find that the non-experimental were 2.5 times larger, suggesting that the large effects of attending lectures found in the previous literature are likely due to selection bias. Overall our results suggest that hybrid classes may offer a cost effective alternative to traditional lectures while having a small impact on student performance.

Suggested Citation

Joyce, Theodore J. and Crockett, Sean and Jaeger, David A. and Altindag, Onur and O'Connell, Stephen D., Does Classroom Time Matter? a Randomized Field Experiment of Hybrid and Traditional Lecture Formats in Economics (March 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w20006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2413354

Theodore J. Joyce (Contact Author)

CUNY Baruch College - Zicklin School of Business ( email )

17 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10010
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

365 Fifth Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10016-4309
United States

Sean Crockett

City University of New York, Baruch College - Zicklin School of Business - Department of Economics and Finance ( email )

Zicklin School of Business
55 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10010
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.seanmcrockett.com

David A. Jaeger

Ph.D. Program in Economics, City University of New York Graduate Center ( email )

NBER
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New York, NY 10004
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.djaeger.org

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

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Cambridge, MA 02138
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University of Cologne - Department of Economics ( email )

Cologne, 50923
Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Schaumburg-Lippe 5/9
Bonn, 53113
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.iza.org

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

University College London - CReAM - Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration ( email )

Drayton House
30 Gordon Street
London, WC1H 0AX
United Kingdom

Onur Altindag

City University of New York ( email )

695 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10021
United States

Stephen D. O'Connell

Emory University ( email )

1602 Fishburne Drive
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States

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