[caption id="attachment_48090" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Experts say students don't get the same learning experience in online courses."][/caption]

How does someone succeed in college? It's the $64,000 question—or, these days, more like the $150,000 question—whose answer has been sought by countless policy makers, researchers, and universities over the years.

In a new attempt to provide insight into the discussion, sociologists Dan Chambliss of Hamilton College and Christopher Takacs of the University of Chicago took the long road to an answer.

In 2001, they started conducting what would turn into a 10-year study of...

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