Promises and Pitfalls of Online Education

Reducing poverty and improving equity
Posted Jun 13, 2017 | Brookings Institution, Eric Bettinger, Susanna Loeb

Online courses offer the promise of access regardless of where students live or what time they can participate, potentially redefining educational opportunities for those least well-served in traditional classrooms. However, in their current design, online courses are difficult, especially for the students who are least prepared. In this report for the Brookings Institution, Eric Bettinger and Susanna Loeb find that taking a course online, instead of in person, increases the probability that a student will drop out of school.  The large scale and consistently negative effects of current offerings call for urgent improvements of these courses, particularly for students most at risk of course failure and college dropout.



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