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Online Course-Taking and Student Outcomes in California Community Colleges

Sat, April 18, 8:15 to 10:15am, Swissotel, Floor: Event Centre Second Level, St. Gallen 3

Abstract

This paper explores the associations between online course-taking and student outcomes in the California Community College system. We use a variety of quasi-experimental, fixed effects analyses to provide rich descriptive estimates of difference in student performance under online versus face-to-face course delivery formats. We find evidence that students, on average, have poorer outcomes in online courses, in terms of the likelihood of course completion; the likelihood of course failure conditional on completion; and course grade conditional on completion. These estimates are robust across estimation techniques, for different groups of students, and for different types of classes. The conference iteration of this paper will use new techniques to explore whether these negative associations are strictly causal in nature.

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