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Does Inducing Students to Schedule Lecture Watching in Online Classes Improve Their Academic Performance? An Experimental Analysis of a Time Management Intervention

  • Rachel Baker
  • Brent Evans
  • Qiujie Li
  • Bianca Cung
Article

Abstract

Time management skills are an essential component of college student success, especially in online classes. Through a randomized control trial of students in a for-credit online course at a public 4-year university, we test the efficacy of a scheduling intervention aimed at improving students’ time management. Results indicate the intervention had positive effects on initial achievement scores; students who were given the opportunity to schedule their lecture watching in advance scored about a third of a standard deviation better on the first quiz than students who were not given that opportunity. These effects are concentrated in students with the lowest self-reported time management skills. However, these effects diminish over time such that we see a marginally significant negative effect of treatment on the last week’s quiz grade and no difference in overall course scores. We examine the effect of the intervention on plausible mechanisms to explain the observed achievement effects. We find no evidence that the intervention affected cramming, procrastination, or the time at which students did work.

Keywords

Scheduling Procrastination Online courses Persistence Performance Achievement 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful for feedback and advice from the Investigating Virtual Learning Environments and Digital Learning Lab groups at UCI’s School of Education, particularly Di Xu, Fernando Rodriguez, and Mark Warschauer; seminar participants at AEFP; and the instructor with whom we partnered to implement this intervention. This work was supported by grant number 1535300 from the National Science Foundation.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of California, Irvine – School of EducationIrvineUSA
  2. 2.Peabody CollegeVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA

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