Friday Before Fall Break

We had a good class today. I anticipated that attendance would be less than perfect so I wanted to do something that would reward those attending, but not cause a big problem for those who left for vacation early. I decided to use the class time to draft the Meta activity for Topic 5, which we completed Wednesday. I have noted in earlier postings that they haven’t mastered metacognition yet (but who has?).

What I had in mind for class would take advantage of technology, but at the lowest possible level that would achieve my non-lecture teaching goal. I think that’s a good philosophy in general with IT. I explained that the topic focussed on four questions: What is money? How does money improve the workings of markets? What is finance? How do financial markets and institutions improve the working of the economy? I next asked students to work as a group to identify the major items covered in the topic. For ten or fifteen minutes we brainstormed, very productively. I suggested that students not take notes, that I would do so for the group using MS-Word projected to the screen.

Several students observed that it was a novel and useful experience to just listen, or to rather, to devote all of their attention to listening, instead of listening just enough to get the notes down. There’s probably a lesson here. If the “lecture” was podcast, then students could listen live, then take notes using the recording.

Once we had all the raw material down, we categorized the items as theories, institutional facts or findings, and concepts. We didn’t have any theories on original list, decided to add supply & demand and the production function as implicit in the discussions of the role of money and finance, respectively. Most of the items ended up as concepts, while the rest were facts (The New York Stock Exchange) and findings (The use of money improves the efficiency of markets).

Next, we talked about which items were important enough to be considered major and why. As we did that, I x’ed out the minor items.

We ended up with a nice draft, that I pointed out still needed to be fleshed out with more detailed explanation. Immediately after class I emailed the document to the students who signed an attendance sheet I passed around.

This was certainly different from and I think better than ‘chalk & talk’.

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