WFS on Online Education

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by JimLane, Aug 7, 2002.

  1. JimLane

    JimLane New Member

    From the World Future Society:


    Test scores for students taking an economics course exclusively online were "significantly worse" than those of students in the live classroom version of the course, according to a study by economics professors Carl Liedholm and Byron Brown at Michigan State University.

    The study compared student test performance in a microeconomics course offered in a classroom format, a virtual format, and a format that combined live classroom instruction with online materials. Liedholm and Brown report that the classroom-only students "performed significantly better than the online students on the most complex material."

    The professors suggest that online courses are better at teaching basic concepts than they are at developing complex analytical skills. Also, students in live classrooms may benefit from the face-to-face contact with their teachers, who can motivate students to exert more effort.


  2. JimLane

    JimLane New Member

  3. dlkereluk

    dlkereluk New Member

    Re: MSU Today Article on the above

    The article does not explain how Professors Liedholm and Brown chose their study subjects, nor does the article give much information if the study was conducted in a way that was conducive to empirical validity. As such, while the MSU article makes for interesting reading, I'm not going to bet the farm on Liedholm and Brown's conclusions until such time as I've read the complete study.
    Keep in mind too, that Annual Reports can't be taken at face value today even if they are conducted according to GAAP. :D
    I've learned to be skeptical about the vague announcements made by researchers.

  4. 9Chris

    9Chris New Member

    Very interesting article... But

    How many classes were these students taking?

    Were they all business majors?

    And more importantly, what text were they using?

    These are important issues regarding how well a student does in any class. I also believe it depends on the individual student.

    I am currently enrolled in a DL economics class and I have done very well, but I am only taking two classes this semester. In addition, I have a Professor who is in constant contact with the class.
  5. menger

    menger New Member

    Either the facts were not reported correctly or the professors did a poor job on this experiment. It is true that by and large males are better at economics than women. The vast majority of econ majors are males and the further along in the major the fewer women in the classes. It is somewhat typical in a class of 30 for there to be 5 females at the beginning of the semester but at the end there may be 1 remaining. Answering an economic question in class quickly usually does nothing but get one into a humiliating situation because if you do not consider the secondary and tertiary consequences before you give the answer your answer is usually incorrect. Also, almost no one does well in their first 2 courses in economics (micro and macro). That is if the class is worth taking. So the testing population are no where near consistent or homogeneous.

    I will be interested in reading the full text in the econ journal to compare the experiment and its journalistic reporting.
  6. Howard

    Howard New Member

    another problem may be the prerequisites....most brick and mortar colleges require algebra, and possibly some statistics, before taking econ. as a former econ professor I can attest to the difficulty students without a math background had in the courses, micro and macro. so, it is possible that the DL students may not have had the same foundation courses and, thus, did more poorly than those in the B&M courses.

    I agree, an econ class that is properly present will either have highly motivated students or a lot and C's. Easy it ain't.

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