Does Technology Lower the Cost of Education without Reducing Quality? A Financial Modeling Approach to Flipping the Classroom

73 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2020

Date Written: September 17, 2020

Abstract

Colleges and universities are rapidly expanding their use of technology to flip courses, where at least some of the content delivered synchronously in a traditional class is converted to asynchronous materials (e.g., recorded videos) the students learn from online in lieu of attending class. Flipped courses offer the potential to improve the quality of education and lower the cost of delivering it. However, the question of whether flipped courses are fulfilling this potential remains unanswered. I address this gap in the literature by developing a model that compares the cost of a flipped course to its traditional version. The model solves the problem of comparing the uneven cost structure of a flipped course, with its large upfront investment in asynchronous materials followed by lower subsequent costs because of the reduction in synchronous sessions, to its traditional version, with its relatively constant cost per offering. With this model, a new pooled cross-section database consisting of 2,060 students enrolled in seven cohorts over a six-year period, and the application of rigorous educational-quality metrics, I test the hypothesis of whether technology lowers the cost of education without diminishing quality. I report consistent evidence of a significant decrease (36% on average) in the cost of developing and delivering a flipped course relative to its traditional version without a reduction in quality. I also show the circumstances under which a flipped course can be more expensive than its traditional version, and demonstrate how the model can be a practical tool for deciding when it makes sense to invest in technology and how to do so.

Link to appendix:
https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3695111

Keywords: EdTech, Flipped Classroom, Financial Modeling

JEL Classification: G00, G31,

Suggested Citation

Eberhart, Allan, Does Technology Lower the Cost of Education without Reducing Quality? A Financial Modeling Approach to Flipping the Classroom (September 17, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3694205 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3694205

Allan Eberhart (Contact Author)

Georgetown University ( email )

McDonough School of Business
Washington, DC 20057
United States
202-687-4584 (Phone)

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
65
Abstract Views
317
rank
389,231
PlumX Metrics