Teaching Economics to Undergraduates: Alternatives to Chalk and Talk

Teaching Economics to Undergraduates: Alternatives to Chalk and Talk

Teaching Economics to Undergraduates: Alternatives to Chalk and Talk

Teaching Economics to Undergraduates: Alternatives to Chalk and Talk

Synopsis

This book demonstrates alternatives to the lecture and chalkboard approach that dominates the teaching of economics, providing a range of innovative teaching techniques and examples aimed at engaging undergraduates in the learning of economics.

Excerpt

We dismal scientists may well seem conspicuously unqualified to lay claim to any special insights into the educational process. Practitioners of our discipline have been charged with incoherence, excessive abstraction and employment of language and analytic tools that are best calculated to prevent effective communication. But whatever truth there may be to these charges, there is a very different side to the matter. For there are economists who have, at the same time, been in the vanguard in thinking about educational methods and, more particularly, in subjecting these methods to systematic empirical testing -- in finding whether the pudding does indeed possess proof. I am confident this contribution will, in time, be recognized as the major advance in educational analysis that it surely is. There are, of course, others besides economists who have sought to base their educational practice on empirical evidence. But it is arguable that the concerned economic researchers have gone further along this path than has any other group.

One result has been that the profession has come up with a rich body of ideas for improvement in the educational procedures that is well worth learning about. This book undertakes to provide at least a broad sampling of the requisite information. The eleven essays that are contained in the volume have been edited and assembled by two specialists outstandingly qualified for the task. Moreover, the authors of the individual essays include some of the most experienced and accomplished contributors to the field. The qualifications of these authors alone are enough to ensure the merits of the book and the wide attention it deserves.

The subjects dealt with cover a considerable range. They encompass particular teaching devices: cooperative learning, market experiments, the Internet, Monte Carlo techniques, and use of case methods, sports and literature as a framework for course design. In addition, the book deals with broader topics . . .

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