What’s the definition of insanity?

Last summer I attended the second annual UMW Game Camp, at which interested faculty 10241646_c42aeb5d71_mwere introduced to the variety of ways that gaming culture and practices could be incorporated into one’s teaching.  Game Camp was jointly led by Mary Kayler, Director of our Center for Teaching Excellence & Innovation (@saptiva), and Andi Smith, Associate Professor of Historic Preservation (@smithpres).  The main takeaway for me was a way of letting students choose between alternative assignments to earn points towards their final grade in my online principles of economics course.  This was a positive change in that it allowed students to choose assessments which showcased their particular learning styles.  But that’s not what this post is about.

Rather, last fall I tried something else that was inspired by Game Camp.  For a number of years, I have urged my introductory students during the first week of class to read the course website/syllabus carefully.  Then I have given them a quiz about it on the first Friday.  Year in and year out, the vast majority of students failed the one question quiz, even though I tried to make the questions easy for anyone who read carefully.

After game camp, I had a different idea:  I replaced the stick with a carrot.  Instead of a one question quiz, I created a scavenger hunt with half a dozen questions.  The result last semester was near 100% success.  The students loved it and seemed to think I was giving them free points.  Perhaps more importantly,  they learned what was on the syllabus, which after all was the point.  Thanks Mary & Andi!

 

Image courtesy of Abby Chicken via flickr

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Teaching as Modelling Disciplinary Practice

I believe that one of the highest forms of teaching occurs through modelling disciplinary practice, ideally when students forget that you are teaching.  This is the first week for our Spring semester and I am teaching my senior seminar in international finance.  The seminar began life as a more traditional seminar covering the traditional topics in the field, but over the last decade (I only get to teach this every three years), it has morphed into something more interesting, both for the students and me.

The something is a collaborative research project in which I model doing research in economics.  The project isn’t part of the course—it is the course.  We start with a question:  This year it will be “Is the European Monetary System (e.g. the Euro) sustainable in its current configuration?”  Then I ask: “What do we need to know to answer that question?”  The result is a list of questions.  E.g. What is the Euro?  What do we mean by sustainable?  What is the Eurozone?  What are the pros and cons of membership? What are the political dimensions involved?

We work recursively backwards developing a nested set of questions, which will form the syllabus for the course.   For each set of questions, we divide up the work, go out and research each part, reporting back online before discussing what we’ve found in class.  Through the process, we develop an understanding of the issues which hopefully leads us to an answer to the initial research question.

We will spend this first week, developing an initial plan for the research.  I don’t intend to mention grades until the students bring them up.  We will collaboratively determine how grades will be determined, though I have some ideas in mind for part of what I would like to see.  For example, I want each student to write their own answer to the research question at least several weeks before the end of term; then we will collaboratively develop a group response to publish.

This is pretty much the most “unschooled” course I teach.  The success or failure of a course like this depends on several things:  The question needs to be one for which there is no established answer.  Students need to believe that I don’t have the answer, and that it’s up to all of us to develop one.  For a project like this to work, the group of students and their commitment to the process is critical.  Ideally, every student needs to buy in to the premise.  In practice I’ve found that it only takes a few students who take it as a regular course for credit and a grade, to ruin the seminar.  More than any other course I teach, I actively recruit for this one, ideally one third economics majors, one third international affairs majors and one third business administration majors.  For the first day, I asked students to introduce themselves and discuss what they bring to the group that could help us in our research.

The most successful incarnation of the seminar was Spring 2009 when we analyzed the Global Financial Crisis as it was occurring.  The course outcome was this website.  I think I may have as good a group this year.  Wish me luck!

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Bryan Alexander, Economist

Last semester I co-taught an Honors First Year seminar with my colleague Bob Rycroft.  Our FSEMs are designed to give FY students the kind of intimate academic experience that is more commonly associated with upper level seminars.  The FSEMS are specifically supposed to introduce our students to college-level writing, research and oral communication.  Honors FSEMs are supposed to provide a more rigorous experience.

I could probably write a book on what I learned from the FSEM, but suffice it to say that teaching FY students is different from teaching upper class students.  When you haven’t taught a class full of FYs in a while it’s easy to forget that.

In this post I want to discuss just one episode that occurred in the course.  The subject of 15513506426_ef0ab5d13f_mthe seminar was Economic Inequality.  As you may know, Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century was one of the most publicized books of 2014.  But at 600+ pages, it wasn’t going to work to assign this to FY students to read, especially since Piketty’s work was only one part of the course.  Instead, we assigned one of the many good summaries available.  Anyway, I had a crazy idea that I was able to persuade my co-teacher to let us try.

The idea involved bringing my good friend Bryan Alexander into the seminar via Google Hangout.  We told the class that 4587900301_c9c17d2917_qBryan was a colleague of Thomas Piketty, and that Bryan would present Piketty’s argument to us.  For those who don’t know, Bryan is not an economist, though economics is an interest of his and he did read Piketty’s book.  Rather, Bryan holds a Ph.D. in English, and is currently self-employed as a futurist and consultant.  I wrote a script for Bryan summarizing Piketty’s argument.  After presenting the argument, Bob and I would each give our perspective on Piketty’s argument, and then we would open the floor to questions.  I told Bryan that if he were asked any questions he couldn’t handle, he should refer them to me.  On the day in question, we set up the Google Hangout with Bryan and his performance exceeded our expectations.  The students took notes and asked appropriate questions.

At the beginning of the next class period, I asked the students, “What did you think of Dr. Alexander?”  They replied effusively saying how much they enjoyed and appreciated the presentation.  As one student put it, “It was really great to hear from an expert!”  I responded by asking what about Bob & I, and she said, “well you know, a real expert!”  We thanked the students for their feedback and went on with the scheduled lesson.  The following class period was Friday.  I waited until the last five minutes of class, and then announced, “Remember Dr. Alexander?  Everything he said was a fraud.”  The students were stunned.  I continued, “The information he presented was accurate.  I know because I wrote his script.”  The students showed confusion, denial and in some cases, anger.  Then as the clock ticked down, I announced “For the weekend, I’d like you to think about why we did this. … See you Monday!”

On Monday, we began class by repeating the question:  Why did we go through this charade with you students?   Several students immediately proposed the answer—That we wanted them to think critically about the information they received in our class, even when they received it from the instructors.  The lesson was learned.

For the rest of the semester, at various times students asked, “How do we know you’re telling us the truth?”  “You don’t,” we replied.

Images courtesy of:

  • Tony Roberts via flickr
  • David Porter via flickr
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On “The Limits to Open”

Ryan Brazell recently blogged on his experience at OpenEd 2014 in which he said,

While I can see the potential short-term gains, I’m deeply concerned about the questions we’re not asking surrounding OERs and open education more generally. I agree that people are more important than assets … but which people are left out of the above narrative? “Value” is not a neutral concept. When we create it for students, who gets to decide what that looks like? “Value” doesn’t come out of thin air. When we create value for students, from whom are we extracting it? “Open” sounds, on the surface, like a noble goal. When we makes things open — whether classrooms or party invites or educational resources — who are we unintentionally excluding? In the long term, are we actually fixing higher education, or further entrenching existing inequity?

I want to respond to Ryan’s post from an economist’s perspective.  I recognize that I may be answering a different question from the one he is asking.  But I hope some of what I say helps people’s understanding.

From an economist’s perspective, value is not a zero sum game.  Successful businesses are those that create goods or services that people value, that is, successful businesses create value that wasn’t there before.

My son went to school recently with a small bag of Lay’s Potato Chips, which he likes okay.  At lunch, one of his classmates produced a bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos, which are my son’s favorite and which the classmate didn’t care for.  They traded and each party was better off as a result.  Value was created, and no one lost out.

Of course, not all value creation is painless for everyone.  When Apple created the iPod, Apple created a great deal of value on balance for consumers, but producers of substitute products (e.g. Sony Walkman) lost out.   That’s pretty characteristic of how market economies work; Joseph Schumpeter described this as “creative destruction”.  But the thing is, more value gets created than destroyed so on balance consumers are better off.

When we create value for students, we aren’t extracting it from anyone (on net).   My first book (with a traditional publisher) was written for a course on a subject (introductory research methodology in economics) for which no textbook existed.  The book was of great value to the students who used it.  I know this because many students, both my own and from other institutions, have told me so over the years.  In this case since there was no previous text, the value I created, at a list price of $44, was a clear win.

With open source materials, we are privileging students with access to the internet, and clearly some students—those without internet access–are left out.  But the real question (again speaking as an economist) is, are we reaching students who were left out before?  The answer is clearly yes.  We know that between 1/3 and ½ of undergraduates don’t buy the texts for their classes.  Open source materials are either free (online) or inexpensive, allowing more students to be able to afford them.  For example, my OpenStax Principles of Economics book is available free at http://openstax.com in a variety of formats.  If one wants to buy the affiliated aftermarket product from Sapling Learning, the price for text & software is $40.

So for class resources like textbooks, the value to the student is in what the resource helps them learn.  The author writes the book, and the instructor decides to adopt it, so both have a role in defining the value.   Can you learn without a text?  Sure.  Can you learn more with the text?  Every author hopes so.

As long as the resource is free (or modestly priced), the value is almost certainly worth the price.

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How Good is a Free, Open Source Text: Part 2?

This post is where I go off the reservation.  It is the third in a series of posts about the process of creating a free, open source textbook.  I ended the previous post with a question:  Is the book I helped create for OpenStaxCollege the best principles of economics book on the market? I would like to suggest that this is a more complicated question than it seems.

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Beauty Contest

If you asked a Ph.D. economist whether Greg Mankiw’s Principles text is better than the OpenStax principles text, most economists would probably say yes.  Mankiw’s book is a good one.  I’m singling it out only because it is the market leader, the prototype for the current crop of commercial text books.  [On the other hand, I know of no assessment evidence that evaluates Mankiw’s book vis a vis other intro texts, but that’s another issue.]

But the real question is not how good Ph.D.s think a textbook is, but rather how much students learn from it.  In a way, this is a variation on John Maynard Keynes’ beauty contest metaphor for the stock market. Keynes observed that the way to make money in the stock market is not to invest in the best companies, but rather to invest in what the majority of other people think are the best companies.

If students neither buy nor read the text because it is expensive, they aren’t learning anything from it.  Thus, a “great” book that isn’t read by students is not better than a good book that students actually read!

So where does that leave us?  I believe that introductory textbooks these days are 3084239579_f1813df8cf_zcommodities.  They may not be identical, but they are close enough substitutes that any experienced faculty member can teach their intro course with pretty much any textbook on the subject.  Publishers don’t want you to believe this, but I think it’s true.  Think about how little time instructors devote to textbook selection.  They certainly act as if the choice doesn’t matter.

Half of undergraduates do not buy the text.  They make this decision for one of two related reasons: either they don’t see the value given the price, or they don’t think they can afford it.

What is the value-added in an intro textbook?  Students often see textbooks as substitutes for class lectures.  If they go to class, why do they need the book?  I don’t agree with this logic, but many students think his way.  To defeat this logic, we need to raise the value/price calculation in students’ eyes.  If you accept that intro texts are commodities, it’s going to be very difficult to raise the value.  The much more promising approach is to lower the price.  And free is a very attractive price.

In my view, while textbooks have value, the real value-added is in the ancilliary products, specifically online problems, quizzes and other activities that allow students to work with the course content until they master it.  This is not just my idea.  The latest issue of Campus Technology has an article subtitled, “Technology is moving the digital textbook from print look-alike to next-generation learning platform.”  Subjects like economics really benefit from students regularly working with the content in thoughtful, interactive, adaptive and low-stakes ways.  At present, the quality of these exercises lags behind the technology with which students can work them, but that’s an issue for another post. Suffice it to say we need to get beyond “drill & kill.”  Before digital, such practice was limited by the instructor’s (or teaching assistants’) ability to grade and return student work quickly (tasks which are ideally suited to computers).   Which is to say, such practice was very limited.  Note that the real benefit in this ancilliary software is self-directed learning along with self-assessment of mastery.  It is not primarily course management and grades.

Think about how commercial textbooks are priced.   Commercial publishers put a high price on the textbooks, but then a relatively low price on the ancilliary products, which have been perceived, after all, as ancilliary.  In my view, this is exactly backwards since the value to students is no longer in the course content, but in the digital learning environment around the content.  This is the reason why OpenStaxCollege has teamed up with commercial aftermarket producers, including Sapling Learning, and WebAssign which have at least some of the features I’m describing, at really modest prices, currently between $30 and $40, including the text. Disclaimer: I have no financial interest in these companies, but I think they offer some really interesting products.   If you genuinely care about your students learning, I urge you to take a look at these products. Faculty at nearly 100 schools to date have adopted OpenStax’ Principles of Economics.  While commercial publishers are also moving in these directions, they can’t give away the content for free, like OpenStaxCollege does.

Photo credits:

  • JanWillemsen via flickr
  • Ben.Gallagher via flickr

 

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How Good Can a Free, Open Source Book Really Be?

This post is a continuation of the story of how I helped create a free, open source text book. The first post is here.

When one hears the words “free text book,” it is natural to question the quality of the freeproduct.  I get that; I even wondered myself.  So let me explain the process we went through in developing the OpenStax Principles of Economics book.

The process was unlike any other writing project I’ve done before.  First, it was fast.  My first book took three years to write and then was two more years in production.  Admittedly, this project was more like a revision, but by incorporating a team approach, the project took less than one year from start to finish.  A large part of this was due to the excellent people I worked with, especially freelance development editor, Audrey Regan Solarino, who basically kept me sane during the process.  We started with an initial manuscript—Tim Tayler’s Principles of Economics (2nd Edition).  Using an existing manuscript has both pros and cons.  First, it saved a significant amount of time.  We had a structure and basic core content to work from.   On the other hand, there were many changes necessary to make it a better book, one that fit into the vision of OpenStaxCollege.

The initial manuscript had few real features, so we had to change that.   We framed each medium_Economics_700x906chapter with a case study.  The case was presented at the beginning of each chapter, and the solution, if you will, was explained at the end of each chapter based on the content in the chapter.  This may not have been an original idea, but it made for a better book.

We attempted to make the book a more immersive experience for students by dividing each chapter into modules.  Each module includes interactive features in the body and at the end.   The idea was to embed student active learning rather than relegate it to the end of the chapter, where it can be ignored.  We wanted to make students think about what they were reading as they were reading it.  Taylor’s manuscript included “Clear it Up” features, which explain a concept that students typically misunderstand, in the text.    We added “Work it Out” features, heavily scaffolded examples or problems for the student to work through to understand a complex concept.  Mostly, these were analytical things that require practice to perfect.  Imagine the kind of conversation during office hours you would have to help a student work through a problem.  That’s what the “Work it Outs” were designed to mimic.

We then added several additional types of end-of-module questions. The original text had included standard review questions that required students to look up the answer in the text.  Think definitions.  We augmented these with “Self-Check” and “Critical Thinking” questions and “Numerical Problems”.   Unlike the “Review Questions” which were factual, the “Self-Check” questions were applications of concepts explained in the text, but in different contexts.  The Self-Check questions have “Click-to-Reveal” answers in the electronic formats of the book.  The “Critical Thinking” questions are open-ended questions, requiring out-of-the-box thinking: Taking a concept and applying it to a very different context or asking students to apply it in an extreme case.  The purpose is of the “Critical Thinking” questions is less about the answers and more about getting students to think more deeply about the content.   The “Numerical Problems” were just that:  numerical applications of the concepts in the module.   These features were the result of feedback derived from an initial survey conducted with approximately 40 economics faculty from around the country, which is a great segue to the next point about how the book was developed:  The process was driven by peer review.

Now every publisher says their books are peer-reviewed.  But what exactly does that 3157621454_902378aa2f_mmean?  For my first book, I wrote a couple of sample chapters which I shopped around with my book proposal to publishers.   When I finally found a publisher willing to take a risk on the book, the chapters were sent to three reviewers, I think, who read them and gave the thumbs up to the publisher.  That was the extent of the peer-review.

The OpenStax process was quite different.  Every chapter was peer-reviewed at multiple stages.  As mentioned above, the original Taylor manuscript was sent out to about 40 faculty for a high level review.  For each chapter, reviewers were asked: What did you like?  What did you dislike?  What improvements can you suggest?  The review comments were compiled by chapter and became the basis for my work.

I read each Taylor chapter, considered the review comments and made revisions.  In some cases, I essentially rewrote the chapter.  In others, the revisions were less dramatic, updating data, changing wording in some cases, and of course, adding the new features.  In parallel, Audrey, my development editor, read each chapter, giving it the same attention it would have received from an in-house development editor at a major publishing house.  Once we were each satisfied, the revised chapter went out for review by a half dozen faculty experts from a variety of different types of institutions around the country.  The reviews were collated and then I made revisions based on the consensus of the reviewers and editors (Audrey and others) I was working with.

After the first few months, it became clear that I would not be able to complete the book on the timeline required by OpenStax.  As a result, we brought in several other economists to revise chapters.  I ended up doing about two thirds of the book (generally the introductory chapters and the macro portion), while the other economists did the remaining third.   I reviewed each of their chapters and decided when it was complete, so in some ways my role was like the editor of a volume of published papers.

The last stage in the OpenStax process was “accuracy review” in which each chapter was sent to a separate group of faculty experts to insure that everything written was accurate.  I responded to their comments with one final set of revisions.  Many of the reviewers really took ownership of their task, and the result was a much better book than what I initially drafted.

One of the advantages of a digital text is the ability to revise after publication.  With a traditional print text, revisions must await new “editions,” but something close to continuous revision is built into the OpenStax process.   Users are encouraged to report errors and suggestions for improvement.   Every month or two, I receive the list of suggestions and determine what corrections to make.  I just finished my first iteration of this and I must say that many of the suggestions were quite good, leading to a better, more usable text.

Is this the best principles of economics book on the market?  For my answer to that question, you’ll have to wait for my next post.

Image Credits:

  1. Daiji Hirata via Flickr.com
  2. OpenStaxCollege
  3. Gideon Burton via Flickr.com
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Writing Principles of Economics: an open source textbook

Last spring, I received an invitation to become the lead content expert for OpenStax logoOpenStaxCollege’s principles of economics book . OpenStaxCollege is the new name for Connexions, a project I first heard about when founder Rich Baraniuk spoke at the 2005 National Learning Infrastructure Initiative, an organization that became the Educause Learning Initiative. (Thanks again, @GardnerCampbell!) .

When I got the invitation, I was intrigued.   I had been somewhat aware of the concept of open educational resources.   Many people I follow online had either been involved in or had talked about OER.   Steven Ovadia describes OER as freely available course content, including syllabi, assignments, and even textbooks. As he explains:

Open education resources (OER) are an attempt to solve the textbook pricing problem by giving students and faculty great content at more reasonable prices — even free, which many consider to be the most reasonable price point of all.

Which brings us back to OpenStax. The goal of OpenStax is to make higher education more affordable by creating free, open source textbooks for many of the introductory courses undergraduates take.  OpenStax currently has texts in Statistics, Pre-Calculus, Physics, Biology, Sociology, Economics, and soon History, Chemistry and Psychology.   Take a look!

If you haven’t purchased a college textbook lately, you may be surprised to discover how much they cost. New books for my courses can cost more than $150 each, and I understand that at least one popular intro text for principles of economics has breached the $300 level. These costs are pretty typical in higher education today.   If a student takes five courses per semester that works out to $750.

OpenStax has a different business model than traditional publishers. OpenStax obtains grant funding from the Gates Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, 20 Million Minds, the Kazanjian Foundation, the Arnold Foundation and the Maxwell Foundation. They use the funding to create the books, paying for content experts, editors, programmers, all the production expenses. In contrast to the traditional publishing models, all the expenses are paid up front. What OpenStax doesn’t have is a large sales force, which is a major way they keep their costs down. The books are available free on the web, or as e-books, or as downloadable pdfs. There’s even a phone app for the principles of economics book, which is the way I use it most frequently. OpenStax books are also available in print at a modest price.  The Principles of Economics book is currently priced under $40.

These books are free and customizable. Instructors can add content, delete content, and because the texts follow a modular design, move content around.  For example, next semester when I teach principles of micro, I will be adding a chapter that wasn’t in the original version, but which fits the way I teach the course. My amended version of the book will be available from the OpenStax website in the same formats as the original. Students will get only what they need for a specific course. And since the books are free, they won’t object to not being able to resell them, which is a significant problem for customized books from traditional publishers.

The cost of traditional textbooks may explain why only about half of undergraduates purchase the texts.   And if only half your students are buying the book, how many do you think are reading it?  Don’t you think a free text might help?  If you care about your students learning, isn’t it worth considering OpenStax?

You’re probably thinking “how good can a free book actually be?”  In the next post, I will describe the quality assurance process for OpenStax texts.

 

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Thoughts about Student Success

Over the last year, I have fallen prey to a common ailment of bloggers—wanting to get 7510769972_7a212fcfe5_myour ideas just right before they are published.  Putting your ideas out there is, after all, risky.  Especially when those ideas may be half-baked.  Of course, that’s contrary to the way some view blogging.  Gardner Campbell recently wrote “Almost all the time, I write my posts in one sitting and publish them right away.”  Half-baked or not, it’s almost certainly better to post those ideas; otherwise, they may never get published at all.  So here goes!

In recent years, I’ve become interested in student success at a systematic level.  Last Saturday, I participated in our First Year Honors Common Reading Group.  Afterwards the faculty discussion leaders went out to debrief.  We were universally pleased with how well it went, with how easy it was to lead the discussion with students who had read the book and were clearly interested in discussing it.  The hardest part was reining in the dominant speakers (of whom we had three in a group of eight) to provide the space for the other students to talk.

You might retort, well of course the book discussions went well since you had bright students, but I think it was more than that.  Students are successful and earn good grades not merely because they are intelligent, but also because of behaviors, habits of the mind, that they practice.  So it’s not just who they are, but what they do that matters.  The honors students were prepared for the discussion and they also wanted to learn from it.  They were intellectuals in the sense that they wanted to discuss and debate the ideas in the book so they could learn from it.  The prospect of learning seemed to motivate them.

I had two takeaways from this about student success more generally:  First, I think it may be important that students find a sense of belonging, for example, by becoming part of a group with common interests, especially one where some sense of peer pressure motivates them.  On athletic teams, there can be a sense of wanting to do well academically so you don’t let the team down.  Academic majors probably are another example of students working together in parallel towards common goals.  Could this be one reason why students who fail to declare a major until very late find it difficult to complete the degree?

The second takeaway is the following.  I wonder if productive academic behaviors can be taught to students who aren’t honors students, especially in the context of their group.  What are good practices for economics majors?  What are the same for Historic Preservation?  I’m sure there is some overlap across departments, but I suspect there are also differences.

I also think that being part of a cohort (not just part of a group) can be important.  A sophomore economics major probably has less in common than a senior economics major.  Two sophomores are more likely to be taking the same courses.

Groups tend to have leaders or at least faculty responsible for the groups.  This could be a way to establish the “one faculty or staff member who cares about your academic success.”  The director of our Honors Program struck me as similar to the “house mother” in dormitories of old.  Who is offering the same caring and attention to our non-honors FY and older students?

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Is teaching more than content delivery?

Good teaching should be.

As I prep for classes this year, I feel meta—I feel like I may be seeing or understanding things more clearly than before.

Student and instructor enthusiasm is high at the beginning of the term.  As an instructor, I provide lots of scaffolding, e.g. motivation for the class, explanation how the course will work, suggestions for how students can be successful.  (I wrote myself a sticky note to remember:

  • NEED to Scaffold, Scaffold, Scaffold
  • NEED to Encourage, Encourage, Encourage
  • NEED to look for the struggling students )

And students make genuine efforts to follow through.

Then at some point (around mid time), the enthusiasm/thoughtfulness slips:  Students and faculty feel tired.  Faculty start to worry about “covering the content” – they focus their energies on “teaching” rather than on student learning.  Students start to worry about grades instead of learning. There doesn’t seem to be any time for thought anymore.  But can there any real learning without thought?  Have instructors forgotten that it’s not what they “cover” but what students learn that matters?  Some instructors seem to have the old school notion that their job is to push all the content out there, and then the students who get it (memorize it?) get rewarded, and those who don’t get it, well not everyone is cut out to be an [ insert discipline ] major.  Hey, not everyone is cut out to go to college.  I disagree.  Our job is to teach all our students, not simply filter out those who can’t learn  the material as fast as we deliver it.

Which brings me to my point:

Can we take a time out during the semester for thought?  Is there a way we can re- generate the scaffolding so that it lasts all term?  I’m looking for practical suggestions here.  I have one thought: to spend a class period after the midterm in my intermediate macro class reviewing some of the things we talked about the first week of the course.  In other words, not just going over the exam, but reminding students what the purpose of the course is?  What students really need to learn from the mass of content we study?  The best way to learn that.   How I am available for help, and how it’s not too late to get a decent grade in the course.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated!

 

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