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This paper presents the first experimental evidence on the effects of live versus internet media of instruction. Students in a large introductory microeconomics course at a major research university were randomly assigned to live lectures versus watching these same lectures in an internet setting, where all other factors were the same. Counter to the conclusions drawn by a recent U.S. Department of Education meta-analysis of non-experimental analyses of internet instruction in higher education, the authors find modest evidence that live-only instruction dominates internet instruction. These results are particularly strong for Hispanic students, male students, and lower-achieving students. They also provide suggestions for future experimentation in other settings.
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