Track 5: Experiential Learning

Premiere: Friday 24 June 2022, starting from 3pm BST//10am EDT


Student Research Projects: Bridging the Gap Between Academic Learning and the Wider Student Experience

Matthew Aldrich, University of East Anglia

Premieres, 3pm BST//10am EDT

Abstract

The economics dissertation is a final year optional year-long module in the School of Economics at UEA that allows students to bring together knowledge, skills and attributes developed through their course and wider experiences. Debates within the economics discipline have promoted the need for pluralism in teaching approaches and content, with student-centred discovery-based learning at its heart. A significant amount of student learning takes place outside of the classroom, contributing towards the development of their motivations, ambitions, social agency and personal and professional development, and this module is designed to give students the opportunity to synthesize that learning, develop independent study and research skills and strengthen employability within the curriculum. Using the SOAR model (Kumar, 2015) students are encouraged to consider their personal interests, ambitions and motivations in the selection of their topic and are challenged to research a ‘wicked problem’ for the benefit of society. The work can be an academic-style piece of research or a work-based project on behalf of an external organisation. Work-based learning can enhance the employability gains associated with project work through the development of entrepreneurial competencies and are highly valued by students, particularly when integrated into the course. Using a task-based approach, the two key elements of the module that help students recognise their development are self-reflection and peer learning/feedback. This encourages deeper learning and self-awareness, connecting student learning with their wider experience and aspirations.

This presentation will discuss the pedagogical approach and design of the module, and will review student learning and outcomes. The module demonstrates that a student-centred, pluralistic approach can encourage learners to challenge orthodox thinking and bridge the gap between academic learning and their wider student experience.


Student-Driven Modules for Macroeconomics Classes: Lessons from the Fed Challenge

Cynthia Bansak, St Lawrence University, Julie Smith, Lafayette College, and Christine Storrie, SUNY Oneonta

Premieres, 3.15pm BST//10.15am EDT

Abstract

We describe three student-led learning modules that we have developed from our respective College Fed Challenge courses. To promote easy adoption, we modified these activities for application into a wide range of macroeconomics courses. Through these exercises, we have seen students develop a deeper understanding of data sources, economic theory and monetary policy while honing presentation, data analytic, and teamwork skills. In the first module, Pick a Policy Maker, students choose a policy maker to track. In the Fed Challenge course, each student follows the speeches of their selected policy maker and reports on them to the entire class. In our modified module, students select a policy maker from an instructor-provided list but report to a smaller group of students; through this module students are able to understand the wide range of views that different policy makers have. In the Major Debates in Monetary Policy Module, students start by completing a think-pair-share exercise to list key macroeconomic issues to track and present in small groups to the entire class. The groups select their top choice, pick a team name, and schedule meeting times to work together for several weeks before their final presentation. The last module is Fun with FRED; students are able to find and present real-time data analysis on past and current macroeconomic data. Students work with the interactive graphing tools provided by the Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) toolkit. Students are given the flexibility to select a topic from a list provided by the instructor. With FRED’s interactive tools, students can display multiple series on a single graph, combine data series, select the type of graph and modify the dates. All three modules incorporate monetary policy in action – extending beyond the textbook – and provide students insights into real-world applications that can be used after graduation.


Role of Team Presentations in Enhancing Students’ Employability Skills

Subhadra Ganguli, Bloomsburg University

Premieres, 3.30pm BST//10.30am EDT

Abstract

The role of a “community” (Darby; Lang, 2019) in a classroom can go a long way in fostering learning as well as developing employability skills among students. According to World Economic Forum (2020), digitization is progressing at a fast rate and graduating students are expected to handle the ever-changing workplace technology with ease. This calls for the need to enhance technology- embedded learning in college courses. Additionally, since AI is expected to make a lot of the mundane, routine work obsolete by absorbing them, most graduates will need to apply human skills to the jobs they will be tasked with. Resilience and adaptability are some of the important skills that have been identified as important by businesses in employees and new hires (Forbes, Jan 2021). Other important human skills are negotiation, business communication and leadership (Coursera, 2021). My presentation: Students in my Principles of Microeconomics and Macroeconomics courses gather in teams by self-selecting themselves and then create presentations at the end of the course to incorporate the BIG ideas they learnt throughout the course to a real life situation in the context of a country or a firm as in Macro or in Micro respectively. They work on their leadership skills, communication skills, technology skills among others to work in teams remotely most of the time (due to COVID-19 restrictions) even in a F2F class and build their resiliency and adaptability, to new ways of working and learning, in the process. Peer reviews of each other’s presentation using a rubric or set criteria enable them to appreciate the importance of stakeholder opinions in generating business solutions. Team leaders build their leadership skills by bringing their team members together and coordinate team work. Communication skills is built while working on the presentation skills verbally.


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