I should be spending this time “getting ready for classes to start” next week, but perhaps this can be considered an investment of my time.
It is almost time for my Spring seminar—that’s the course where I try out most of my crazy new teaching ideas, such as the Global Financial Crisis project from two years ago. This semester the seminar will explore the question “Does the occurrence of the Great Recession signal a failure of macroeconomics as a discipline?” The seminar will explore the history of macroeconomic thought since 1930 as a way to develop our understanding of macroeconomics so that we can construct an answer to the question as a collaborative final project. You can see the course website at http://econ488.umwblogs.org . It is very much a work in progress. As a seminar, the course will involve reading, writing and discussion, both in-class and on student blogs, using the quasi-collaborative design I’ve employed in past seminars where we structure the course as a research team to explore “The Question.”
What I’m trying to do differently this year is invite interested outsiders to participate in some meaningful way. Credit for this idea probably goes to two people: Gardner Campbell through his New Media Studies Seminar, and Bryan Alexander who expressed interest in the topic of the seminar since its inception in my head a year or so ago. I have invited a few economist friends and a few non-economist friends to participate as I think both might bring something to the table. But what exactly? My vague idea is that they could help by asking interesting questions, questions which prompt my students to look more deeply at what we’re exploring.
So here is my question for you: In what ways could interested outsiders participate meaningfully to the seminar? I’m looking for specific ideas, such as comments on student blogs or course discussion pages (as we finish each segment of the course outline, we will post a summary of class discussion—see the right side bar of the course site). Can you imagine other ways outsiders could contribute?
No rush; I’ve got seven days to get this figured out.