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Getting students to prepare well for class is a common challenge faced by instructors all over the world. This study investigates the effects that two frequently used techniques to increase student preparation -- web postings and cold calling -- have on student outcomes. The study is based on two experiments and a qualitative study conducted in a statistics course that Masters in Public Policy (MPP) students take in their second semester at the Harvard Kennedy School. When used together, web postings and cold calling seem to increase the amount of time that students devote to reading before class by about an hour. This effect is both statistically and practically significant. However this increase in pre-class reading did not translate into increased learning (measured by average test scores on the midterm exam). Neither of the two techniques seems to be better than the other one at increasing reading time, test scores, and other student outcomes.


Levy, Dan, and Josh Bookin. "Cold Calling and Web Postings: Do They Improve Students’ Preparation and Learning in Statistics?" Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning 14.5 (December 2014): 92-109.