Does Technology Lower the Cost of Education without Diminishing Quality? A Financial Modeling Approach
Colleges and universities are rapidly expanding their use of technology to flip courses, where some of the material delivered live in a traditional class is converted to asynchronous material (e.g., recorded videos, voiceover slide decks) the students learn from in lieu of attending class. Flipped courses—also call online or technology-intensive courses—offer the potential to improve the quality of education and lower the cost of delivering it. However, the question of whether flipped courses are fulfilling this potential remains unanswered. I fill this important gap in the literature by developing a model that provides a commensurable comparison of the cost of a flipped course to its traditional version. With this model, a unique new pooled cross-section dataset, and the application of rigorous educational quality metrics, I can answer my primary research question: Does Technology Lower the Cost of Education without Diminishing Quality? I also show how the model can be a practical tool for administrators who must decide when it makes sense to invest in technology and how to do so. Note: This paper is virtually complete. I am submitting an appendix explaining the details of my model and another document showing the tables with my empirical results as evidence of the paper’s near completion. Additional Note: I only wish to present this paper at the conference. I do not wish this paper to be considered for publication in the journal.