Studying Undergraduate Course Consideration at Scale

46 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2019 Last revised: 8 Oct 2020

See all articles by Sorathan Chaturapruek

Sorathan Chaturapruek

Stanford University

Tobias Dalberg

affiliation not provided to SSRN

René Kizilcec

Cornell University

Marissa E. Thompson

Stanford University

Sonia Giebel

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Monique Harrison

Stanford University

Ramesh Johari

Stanford University

Mitchell Stevens

Stanford University - School of Education

Date Written: August 4, 2019

Abstract

Elective curriculums require undergraduates to choose from a large roster of courses for enrollment each term. It has proven difficult to characterize this fateful choice process as it remains largely unobserved. Using digital trace data to observe this process at scale at a private research university, together with qualitative student interviews, we provide a novel empirical study of course consideration as part of the course selection process. Clickstream logs from a course exploration platform used by most undergraduates at the case university reveal that students consider on average nine courses for enrollment for their first fall term (<2% of available courses) and these courses predict which academic major students declare two years later. Twenty-nine interviews confirm that students experience consideration as complex and reveal variation in consideration strategy that may influence how consideration unfolds. Consideration presents a promising site for intervention in problems of equity, career funneling and college completion.

Keywords: higher education; course consideration; decision-making; mixed methods

JEL Classification: I23

Suggested Citation

Chaturapruek, Sorathan and Dalberg, Tobias and Kizilcec, René and Thompson, Marissa and Giebel, Sonia and Harrison, Monique and Johari, Ramesh and Stevens, Mitchell, Studying Undergraduate Course Consideration at Scale (August 4, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3432748 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3432748

Sorathan Chaturapruek (Contact Author)

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Tobias Dalberg

affiliation not provided to SSRN

René Kizilcec

Cornell University ( email )

208 Gates Hall
107 Hoy Rd
Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

Marissa Thompson

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Sonia Giebel

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Monique Harrison

Stanford University ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Ramesh Johari

Stanford University ( email )

473 Via Ortega
Stanford, CA 94305-9025
United States

Mitchell Stevens

Stanford University - School of Education ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305-3096
United States

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