Welcome new readers!

The "New to the blog? Start here" page will give you an overview of the blog and point you to some posts you might be interested in. You can also subscribe to receive future posts via RSS, Facebook or Twitter using the links on the right-hand side of the page, or via email by entering your address in the box. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Random post-CTREE thoughts...

Just got back from CTREE – many thanks to everyone who helped make it such a success! I had some great conversations, heard some super-interesting papers, and generally got re-invigorated, not just about teaching but about economics. Some random thoughts, just to get them out of my brain:

  • In the first plenary, Susan Laury mentioned an ‘experiment’ she learned from Dirk Mateer to show gains from trade. She brings a bunch of random items to class and distributes them to a group of students and asks them to rate their happiness with the item. They then have the option to trade; once trading is complete, they again rate their happiness. Generally, total happiness should increase, showing the gains from trade alone. I just wanted to add that I do a similar activity that I got from Gail Hoyt but in that version, you make ‘tickets’ for a range of events (like concerts or sports events) and give those to the students, and I ask them to state their willingness to pay for the ticket they get. I particularly like that version since you can get a laugh from having tickets for events like Muppets on Ice or Monster Truck Mania.
  • Next year there really needs to be a hand-on workshop on how to DO Team-Based Learning (if anyone is curious, I’ve written all about my TBL experience in a series of posts back in 2012).
  • Rush hour traffic in Atlanta really sucks! But the MARTA train is great.
  • In the Thursday plenary, Thomas Nechyba talked about re-organizing the curriculum to make it easier to encourage and support undergraduate research. While I thought it must be great to be in the department at Duke, I also thought, “I can’t imagine my department ever buying that.” Maybe someday I’ll be department chair and find out…
  • I need to find out more about mindfulness in the classroom.
  • It’s super-cool that the set-up at military academies allows folks there to do truly randomized experiments. On the flip side, their students are so not my students.
  • Sam Allgood, Gail Hoyt and KimMarie McGoldrick have done a set of surveys on graduate student training that are fascinating. There is a not-really-surprising disconnect between what programs believe about the preparation of their students and what the students themselves think after they’ve been on the job a while. The depressing part is that given the departments don’t think their students need any additional training, it’s hard to see how to convince them that they’re wrong. 
  • We all really need to spend some time with the materials from the Measuring College Learning project. Wish the Econ stuff had been available last year when I was trying to get my department to rewrite our program Learning Outcomes.
The conference really gave me the shot in the arm that I've been needing. Hopefully I can keep that motivation going...