A recently released study by Columbia looked at an extremely large sample of online courses and their associated success rates. The study found that demographic groups that tend to struggle in class do worse in online classes and have a lower success rate (I guess that means course completion) than students who do well in traditional classes. These groups include black and male students, younger students, and students with lower GPAs tend to do less well in online classes than they do in traditional f2f classes. Other groups, including females and older students also do more poorly in online classes but the tradeoff for easier access to education is apparently worth the slightly lower success rates. This study begs the question of just how the impact of MOOCs might be negative for the poorly performing groups. If MOOCs begin to replace many traditional courses, the achievement gap might widen. It will be interesting to see how this all shakes out. Read more here: http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/online-courses-could-widen-achievement-gaps-among-students/42521.
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