How Online College Classes Alter Student and Professor Performance

Bettinger, Eric et al. | CEPA Working Paper No. 15-10, 2015. Stanford Center for Education Policy Analysis

In this study and its accompanying study summary (Promises and pitfalls of online education), the authors compare learning outcomes for students in online learning and face-to-face classes at a large, for-profit college. The results show that students who already struggle (as evidenced by low GPA prior to taking the course) fare much worse in the online format. Low performing students who took online courses had lower grades and were more likely to drop out than similar students who took the courses in the traditional setting.