Competing Against Non-Consumption

September 28, 2016

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

HT to good Kevin Carey (the entertaining higher ed version) for drawing attention to this Harvard regression discontinuity analysis of the Georgia Tech $7,000 Masters Degree in Computer Science. Making use of a natural experiment the researchers found that the inexpensive Georgia Tech program was competing against…nothing. In other words, those that applied and did not get admitted did not enroll in a different, more traditional program.

It remains to be seen whether a Georgia Tech online students learn as much as their in person peers or how the market views these sort of degrees. On the learning side, it is not terribly hard to teach students more than what they would have learned in their other program (i.e. nothing) and the amount of knowledge gained per tuition dollar will run laps around the in-person program. The in-person program btw only can accomodate 300 students at a time, while the online program has 4,000.

Much more research to be done. Just as the vast legions of the University of Texas at Austin film school eventually lapped the accomplishments of back east finishing schools for global technocrat film schools (albeit some get to claim scoreboard due to a black swan) just maybe…

It's about numbers boys and girls and they have more!

It’s about numbers boys and girls and they have more!

HBx and the Death of Distance

August 26, 2015

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

Harvard Business school class, more from Fortune magazine here.

On the move with our man McShane

September 25, 2014

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

See Mike go…see Mike dodge infographics!


Online Education Fares Well in First Rigorous Analysis

September 12, 2014

Matt Chingos and Guido Schwerdt have posted a Harvard Program on Education Policy and Governance working paper with the first rigorous analysis of the effects of virtual education in K-12.  You can read it online as well as look at this excellent summary by Marty West on the Ed Next blog.

The bottom line is that Florida students taking Algebra and English I online tended to do at least as well as those who took those courses in traditional classrooms, controlling for prior achievement and demographic characteristics.  To strengthen the causal identification the authors focus on comparing students who took at least one online course so they would be more alike in the unobserved characteristics that might motivate a student to take courses online.

Faring equally well is a positive outcome for online education because delivering education virtually has the extra benefits of expanding access to students at schools that do not offer those classes.  Delivering courses online is also considerably cheaper.

Of course, this is one study and we are in the early days of developing virtual education, so these findings may not apply to future circumstances.  But they are certainly encouraging enough to continue expanding virtual education and collecting information on the results.

The Way of the Future: Attorney General Abbott to Call for Texas Universities to grant course credit for MOOCs

September 3, 2014

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

Read all about it here.  After reading the article, let me know if you find it as amusing as I do that the same people that complain about a 13% MOOC completion rate are the same crowd that would like to deny granting credit to the 13% who made it through the course and demonstrated their mastery of the material in a third-party administered end of course exam. Let’s see what happens with completion rates once we give people an incentive to complete courses eh? Those who have demonstrated mastery deserve credit regardless of the percentage of people who choose to watch some coursework rather than Baywatch.

The case for denying credit died with the third party administration of exams. The day is soon coming if it has not already arrived where students in other states and other countries can receive college credit for courses provided online by Texas universities, but Texas students students taking these same courses cannot receive credit in Texas universities for course developed using Texas tax dollars. Good luck trying to justify that higher-ed reactionary guy.

Don’t worry admin bloated and underperforming higher ed establishment- I’ll save you!

Attorney General (and soon to be Governor if the polls are to be believed) Abbott is wise to put this on his to-do list, and while he is at it, someone should certify successfully completed MOOCs for high-school credit, as it does not make the least bit of sense for a 16 year old who successfully navigates a Stanford calculus class for college credit to have to sit through a similar high-school course.



Paul Peterson created Education Policy MOOC

August 5, 2014

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

MOOC there it is!  How long until Paul’s stodgy students get hip with MOOCs?

When I left you I was but a learner, now I am the master

April 24, 2014

(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)

Fascinating story about how a high school student in Mongolia aced an MIT EdX MOOC, and then became a student at MIT at age 17 with a research assistant job to help improve MOOCs.