Do online courses provide an equal educational value compared to in-person classroom teaching? Evidence from U.S. survey data using quantile regression
Keywords:Binary outcomes, COVID-19, online education, Gibbs sampling, public opinion, Pew Research Center
Education has traditionally been classroom-oriented with a gradual growth of online courses in recent times. However, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically accelerated the shift to online classes. Associated with this learning format is the question: what do people think about the educational value of an online course compared to a course taken in-person in a classroom? We address this question and present a Bayesian quantile analysis of public opinion using a nationally representative survey data from the United States. We find that previous participation in online courses and full-time employment status favor the educational value of online courses. We also find that the older demographic and females have a greater propensity for online education. In contrast, highly educated individuals have a lower willingness towards online education vis-à-vis traditional classes. Regional variations in the propensity to value online classes also exist. Besides, covariate effects show heterogeneity across quantiles which cannot be captured using probit or logit models.