Category Archives: Uncategorized

An institutional failure I’ve been pondering

This is a fairly long post that was driven by conversations with a wide variety of colleagues. All errors are my own. Cognitive science has discovered a great deal about how learning works, and by extension, what leads to effective … Continue reading

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“Why Society’s Biggest Freeloaders are on Top”: A Review

A friend, Carrie Mook Bridgman, reached out on Facebook and asked my opinion of Rutger Bregman, “Why Society’s Biggest Freeloaders are at the Top” Here’s what I think as a mainstream economist. This article is true in part, especially where … Continue reading

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Infrastructure is a Bipartisan, No-Brainer

President Biden recently announced an infrastructure bill of some $2 trillion. Infrastructure provides the underlying structure of a working economy.  Infrastructure consists of expenditures that have long returns benefiting a large number of citizens and businesses, but which tend to … Continue reading

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Can you get something for nothing?

There is no question that higher education in 2020 is facing serious problems.  The proximate cause is the current Pandemic recession, which will lead to significant cutbacks in state support for public colleges & universities, and also serious decreases in … Continue reading

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How Traditional Publishers Price Textbooks

Traditional publishers make their profits by exploiting monopoly power.  The traditional textbook industry is dominated by a small number of large firms, think Cengage, McGraw-Hill, Pearson.  Economists describe this type of industry as an oligopoly, in which the large firms … Continue reading

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Do Students Need an Ombudsman?

In recent years, most colleges and universities, at least in the U.S., have adopted explicit initiatives to promote student success, which they assess aggregate metrics in terms of retention and graduation rates.  Yet at the same time, I wonder if … Continue reading

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Course Redesign and Alignment of Learning Objectives, Assessments and Content

My intro students always seem to do less well than I expect on exams, especially on the final exam.  Part of the reason is that I ask at least a few questions which go beyond what we’ve explicitly done in … Continue reading

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Learning Science and Teaching Economics

Last month I attended the 2019 Conference on Teaching & Research in Economic Education (CTREE), sponsored by the American Economic Association, in St. Louis, Missouri.  The sessions were very high quality and I learned a great deal.  One thing that struck … Continue reading

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On the Higher Drop-Out Rates of Online Courses

I was looking at the gradebooks for my last several semesters of intro courses, both face-to-face and online, and was reminded that there appear to be significantly higher rates of students failing to complete my online sections, either when students … Continue reading

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Adventures in Ungrading

How do you reconcile your role as a teacher with your role as a grader. Giving expert feedback– formative assessment—is not the problem. That’s a part of what good teachers do. Feedback helps students improve their work and enhance their learning. … Continue reading

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