Economics 2.0

Supporting the DEE 09 conference

That’s just the way I teach

leave a comment »

Following on from the last post looking at the potential for Sherlock Holmes to change economics teaching at the DEE09 conference, this post looks at how technology, economic research and the financial crisis be successfully combined into a new way of teaching.

Delegates at the DEE09 conference

Delegates at the DEE09 conference

When someone talks positively of their use of technology, I sense a fellow spirit – so when Steve Greenlaw started his session by saying that “I use IT tools, that’s just the way I teach” he got my attention.

The session on Teaching as Modeling Disciplinary Practice told the tale of how Greenlaw used the opportunity of the international financial crisis, as a way of turning a course into a research based collaborative learning experience, using technology.

With the crisis unfolding as the course was being taught, the normal part of the teaching programme was delivered in an accelerated manner with assigned note takers covering each session and circulating their work for group approval, akin to agreed minutes of meetings.

The class quickly moved on to researching the financial crisis as it unfolded. They did so as a group, with content being shared and written up using wikis. Book reviews and notes were shared with the group, so the tutor guides a research process – enabling them to react to events as they emerge.

Sessions became brainstorming exercises that explored what was known and unknown about specific topics, assigned research tasks and fed back in a loop to produce informal, then formal write-ups of topics.

The final project sought to write-up everything that had been researched and disseminate it for the benefit of a wider audience. The resulting website on the 2008 Financial Crisis & Global Recession provides a summary, subject based articles and a timeline of key events relating to the crisis.

The course was assessed on just two criteria – engagement and insights provided to the group – “not what you learn but how you teach us” – with students reflecting on their individual contribution to the group research process and making a pitch for their final grade.

Other papers from the parallel sessions at the DEE09 conference included:

TRUE (Teaching Resources for Undergraduate Economics) an Economics Network project to bring together Open Educational Resources in a number of key areas for level 2 and level 3 teaching.

Connections in Political Economy a collection of key resources for the study political economy including key readings, audiovisual resources, sample chapters and reviews.

Enabling Students to Compare Theories in Media Stories about the Economy by getting students beyond memorising and recalling economic models by looking for the feedback loops and dependencies that are often assumed within media coverage of economic issues.

Coverage of the DEE09 conference will conclude with the keynote speeches, including Robert Chote of the Institute for Fiscal Studies.


Written by Paul Ayres

September 15, 2009 at 1:06 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: