CTaLE Working Papers and projects related to Active Learning. If interested, please get in touch with the respective academics of each project.
Case Based Learning
In a third year Competition Economics course we want to help students develop an understanding of technical industrial economics models and provide them with the opportunity to find out how the models are used to analyse competition in real world markets.
For further details please see the Case Based Learning project page.
Come on Guys, Get Active – the Relationship between Lecture Attendance, Lecture Recording and Academic Performance
In the context of modern higher education, many universities have implemented lecture recoding. There is wide discussion on lecture recoding used by students as a substitute as a complement to live lectures. This paper investigates the following questions: 1) What is the impact of lecture recoding on attendance? 2) How does lecture attendance affect academic performance? 3) What is the role of in-class participation? This paper uses data from 368 undergraduate students who took a first-year economics course from a UK university. Our preliminary results suggest that: first, lecture recording has a negative effect on attendance; second, passive attendance does not help to improve academic performance and in-class participation, conditional on attendance, is essential. These findings are robust to alternative model specifications. This paper contributes to the existing literature by explicitly taking into account the role of in-class participation to investigate the relationship between lecture attendance, lecture recoding and academic performance. The implication for the online synchronous teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic is that online interaction in class, conditional on attendance, is the key to academic performance.
Economics Walk: a place-based method of teaching economics
Economics Walk is a walking tour of Bloomsbury London, where the tour leader takes the audience (students or members of public) through different locations (statues, buildings and shops) that have an economic story to tell. The project’s aim is to explain complex economic ideas in an accessible way to students and/or members of the public and encourage critical discussion on those ideas. This tour has been offered in person and virtually sixteen times so far, with more than 200 attendees in total. In terms of pedagogy, this tour follows a dialogical approach in a sense that the tour leader starts a conversation about each location with, and among, the audience rather than monotonically transfer facts to the participants. By using certain locations as case studies of economics, this tour offers a contextually rich understanding of the link between economic theories and real-world examples. Also, by going outside the conventional classroom and into the streets (face-to-face version), the tour automatically creates a more equal footing between the guide/speaker and the participants, hence opening the room for peer conversation and debate. Most importantly, this tour takes a place-based approach to teaching economics that can be easily adapted to different campuses, towns or cities. Professor Gregory Burge, University of Oklahoma, reviews this walk.
To find out more about the aims and innovations of this project read Ramin’s working paper: “UCL Economics Walk: A place-based method of teaching economics”.
Group Work in Economics
At CTaLE we value working together on projects and understand that students can learn a lot from each other by working in groups. In our paper, Better Together, we discuss the effectiveness of different approaches to collaborative learning used in the UCL Economics Department. This work was presented at the 2015 AEA Conference on Teaching and Research in Economics Education. Cloda has also worked with the UCL IPAC consortium to develop an approach to assessing individual contributions to group work through peer assessment. Her work was presented at the UCL Education Conference in April 2018 and our May 2018 Economics Education Seminar.
Learning-by-doing in Quantitative Subjects
I experiment with teaching and assessment methods that emphasize learning-by-doing and encourage student creativity. This focuses on teaching in the subject fields of Computational methods in Economics, Environmental Economics and Economics of Science & Technology but also addresses quantitative critical-thinking skills.
Connecting critical thinking skill & Fermi problems
Modifying Teaching and Learning Approaches to Enhance Student Engagement and Empowerment
This work illustrates a number of module modifications Silvia has designed following an open dialogue with students. It focuses on the learner-centred paradigm of education, as well as student-staff partnerships. With respect to the latter aspect, it is worth noting that Silvia has benefited from two layers of partnership: first, her partnership with students enrolled in the module, and second, her partnership with student observers.
Reference: Dal Bianco, S. (2020) “Modifying teaching and learning approaches to enhance student engagement and empowerment”, in Mawani, S. ed. Student Empowerment in Higher Education, Berlin: Logos Verlag, in press.
Teaching with Audience Response Systems
In classes with relatively high enrolment, student participation can be a challenge. This is even more so in a diverse setting like ours, with people from around the world and different parts of society. At the same time, active learning has been shown to significantly improve retention of course material. Armed with this context, we set about looking for an effective way to increase participation in large classes.
For further details please see the Teaching with Audience Response Systems project page.