Welcome to the online home of CTaLE, University College London’s new Centre for Teaching and Learning Economics. Our work at the Centre focuses on how best to prepare our students for the challenges of being an economist in the 21st century. To this end, we use and study teaching techniques and technologies that facilitate active learning in the large cohorts that are typical of economics undergraduate programmes around the world. We also look at how best to optimise small group teaching such as in tutorials or sections. Over the past several years, we have been using methods that encourage active participation in large lectures, facilitate collaboration and peer learning, and take undergraduates beyond textbooks to the world of professional economists.
One of the things that we think every economist has to do, no matter what sector they work in, is research. So we’ve developed ways to introduce students to independent research from the start of their university lives. The First Year Challenge is a multimedia group research assignment which students start on in their first week of university, while ExploreEcon is our annual student research conference, where our students present papers and posters showcasing their independent research. Doing research is quite hard of course, and so, we have developed a set of in-person and online workshops called the Skills Lab, which provides support and advice. Here students get a chance to hone their reading, analysing, writing and presenting skills. Finally, we are about to launch the Yale-UCL Economics Teaching and Learning Collaboration (jointly with Doug McKee from Yale), where for example students in the two institutions will get a chance to interact with each other and with experts about their thesis or term paper research.
Collaboration is important to us and our students and we will soon blog more about our initiatives on encouraging collaboration and peer learning – so watch this space! In the spirit of collaboration, we would also like to invite you to get in touch with us if you find something interesting in these pages. Tell us about something interesting you are doing in your classes and get in touch if you would like to participate in one of our events.
Parama, Cloda, Christian and Frank