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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...

1 comment:

  1. Another inspiring CTREE conference! Thank you, Jennifer, and everyone else who did so much work to make it happen. Of all the great papers I heard presented, the highlight for me was Austin Boyle and Bill Goffe's paper on bringing evidence-based teaching to the principles of macroeconomics classroom. Great thinking that will guide this summer's changes to next year's courses!
    -Phil Ruder

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