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Darla Moore School of Business

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Crowdfunded classroom resources can improve student learning

Moore School faculty research examines if, and how, crowdfunding resources improve student achievement

Marketing assistant professors Chen Zhou and Manpreet Gill, along with their Purdue University colleague Qiang Liu, examined how education crowdfunding can impact student academic achievement. Education Crowdfunding is the practice in which K-12 public school teachers can obtain classroom resources (for example books, technology, classroom supplies, etc.) for their students through education crowdfunding platforms like These platforms allow diverse and numerous potential donors to carefully evaluate and donate towards teachers’ classroom needs as advertised by the teachers.

Published research: “EXPRESS: Empowering Education with Crowdfunding: The Role of Crowdfunded Resources and Crowd Screening” — Journal of Marketing Research, July 2021

Why it matters:

  • Instructional resources that teachers receive from the school district are limited, so they often turn to education crowdfunding platforms to fill these gaps.
  • Through crowdfunding campaigns, teachers can advertise their classroom needs on education crowdfunding platforms. Such campaigns or project proposals clearly lay out how various classroom resources that teachers require can satisfy the diverse and evolving intellectual needs of students.
  • Diverse and geographically scattered donors evaluate teachers’ campaigns for their potential in improving their classroom environment and student learning. Such screening of the project proposals by the donors, known as crowd screening, plays a critical role in improving students’ academic achievement.
  • Further, more crowdfunded classroom resources can allow teachers to cater to the diverse and evolving intellectual needs of students, which in turn improves students’ academic achievement.

Research design:

  • Zhou and Gill performed econometric analyses of the standardized testing panel data from 2004-2013 for all the California public schools along with the crowdfunded resources that the teachers in these schools obtained from 

Learn more about their research.

About Chen Zhou:

  • Zhou joined the Moore School’s marketing department in August 2014 as an assistant professor.
  • Her research encompasses service and nonprofit marketing, service competition and salesforce management.
  • Zhou teaches global marketing, marketing strategy, marketing analytics, marketing research, data management and sales management.
  • Zhou earned her bachelor’s in English language and literature from Tsinghua University in Beijing, master’s in marketing from City University of Hong Kong and a doctorate in marketing from Penn State University.

About Manpreet Gill:

  • Gill joined the Moore School’s marketing department in August 2017 as an assistant professor.
  • His research includes assessing and improving returns on firms’ strategic marketing actions using econometrics and potential outcomes framework.
  • Gill teaches principles of marketing research at the undergraduate level.
  • Gill earned his bachelor’s in engineering from Punjab Technical University in India and MBA from Punjab Agricultural University in India. He earned a doctorate in marketing from Penn State University.

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