20 October 2014 Register to receive our free newsletter by email each week
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UNITED STATES
Findings give boost to online classes
The burgeoning movement to put more college classes online, which attracted the support of Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology earlier this month, is getting another endorsement, which may have an even greater impact: rigorous evidence that the computer can be as effective as the classroom, writes Mary Carmichael for the Boston Globe.

A new study compared two versions of an introductory statistics course, one taught face-to-face by professors and one mostly taught online with only an hour a week of 'face time'. Researchers found students fared equally well in both formats on every measure of learning. The only difference was that the online group appeared to learn faster.

The report – released last Tuesday by Ithaka S+R, a non-profit think-tank focused on technology and education – is the first large, randomised study to support online learning. Ithaka also published another report, in early May, laying out the current landscape of online higher education. Taken together, the reports “don’t suggest that interactive online learning is far better than traditional forms of instruction – but even in its infancy, it does well”, according to Lawrence Bacow, the former Tufts University president, who co-authored the first paper.
Full report on the http://Boston.com site
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