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Friday, June 28, 2013

Econ Ed at the Westerns

I’m about to get on a plane for Seattle where my session on Saturday, 4:30pm, looks to be one of only two sessions related to teaching. If anyone is attending, please come by!

[101] Saturday, June 29, 4:30 – 6:15pmFlipping, Clicking and Other Contortions to Make Your Classes More Interactive (panel)
Jennifer Imazeki, San Diego State University
Mary Flannery, University of Notre Dame
Brandon Sheridan, North Central College
Steven Slezak, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

[169] Sunday, June 30, 4:30-6:15pm
Teaching Economics

Chair: Mark Holmgren, Eastern Washington University
Papers: Mark Holmgren, Eastern Washington University, Do Giffen Goods Exist in Academic Learning?Susan Jacobson, Regis College, Beyond Content: What Should We Be Doing in Our Classrooms?
Paul Johnson, University of Alaska, Anchorage, and Jonathan Alevy, University of Alaska, Anchorage, A Classroom Financial Market Experiment
Mark Leonard, American University in Bulgaria, The Use of a Random Element in an Upper-level Undergraduate Course

Friday, June 7, 2013

A possible new direction…

Some folks may have noticed that my posting is pretty sporadic. I was just looking at my stats and when I first started this blog (can’t believe it’s been five years!), I posted roughly every few days during the first year. Then it slowed down to about once a week. For the last several months, it’s been closer to once every few weeks, and some of those have been more public service announcements than me really writing about anything I’m personally doing with my teaching. This pattern is partly a reflection of what’s been happening with my classes – one reason I started this blog was as a place to ‘think aloud’ about what I was doing with some courses that were new to me and I was trying all kinds of random stuff, so it’s probably natural that over time, as I’ve honed what I’m doing, I haven’t felt the same need to write about them. It’s also a reflection of what’s been happening with me emotionally with regard to teaching – I’m definitely feeling burnt out. There is a reason that teachers need sabbaticals and I’m very excited about mine (I’ll be off this next academic year). The more drained I have felt about teaching in general, the less motivated I have felt to write anything for the blog.

One of the things I plan to do during my sabbatical is figure out what to do with this blog going forward. I’d like to say that I’ll commit to posting more regularly – and I’ll certainly be working on teaching stuff during my sabbatical that I could write about – but I also feel like maybe I need a bit of a sabbatical from blogging as well so I can get re-invigorated about it. At the same time, one of the things I really enjoy about blogging is that it makes me feel more connected to a community of people who really care about teaching. I know there are a lot of folks who ‘lurk’ and even if you never comment or otherwise let me know you’re out there, the fact that you have bothered to subscribe, ‘like’ or just drop by the blog once in a while means a lot to me and I don’t want to let that community down.

However, somewhat ironically, I think that feeling (of not wanting to let down this community) is actually contributing to my ambivalence about blogging. That is, this blog originally started out largely as a ‘personal’ blog – it was simply a place for me to get my thoughts out about a range of topics related to teaching. I had no idea who, if anyone, was going to read what I wrote and in a lot of ways, it didn’t matter: the process of writing itself often helps me think things through, whether I get feedback from others or not. But over time, I’ve found myself worrying more about what will be useful for readers than what is useful for me. I think twice (or three or four times) before just shooting off some random thought and while I know I’m over-thinking it (gee, me? over-think things?), the reality is that I simply end up not posting as often.

So, I have a proposition for you folks. Although I feel like I don’t have as much to say as I used to about what I’m doing in the classroom, I know plenty of YOU are doing cool and innovative things. If you would like to write a guest post about something you are doing, please let me know. It could be that you have a unique way to teach a particular concept, a different approach to grading, a particularly effective assignment, etc. It doesn’t have to be groundbreaking, just something other teachers might find useful. Send me an email, give me an idea of what you want to write about and we can discuss format and all that. I won’t promise that I’ll post anything and everything but if you read this blog regularly, chances are pretty good that you are doing something in your classroom that other readers will be interested in hearing about. I’m also going to reach out to some folks who presented at the AEA Conference on Teaching and Research on Economic Education last week (which sadly, I missed) and see if they would be willing to summarize their papers [NOTE: This is an invitation to individual teachers to share their personal experiences; I will not post anything from a business or organization that is trying to sell something or promote themselves].

Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere, and I still think of this as more of a personal blog. I’m just hoping that with these guest posts providing more of the tangible ‘hands-on’ type information that I think a lot of people will find useful, I will feel more freedom to muse and ramble about other random stuff. Would love to hear from you!