Blogs in general was discussed in a previous post, therefore the use of blogging in economics education will be discussed here.
Using blogs in economic education
The sum of all blogs is known as a blogosphere, or in economics the econoblogosphere (Haab, Schiff, and Whitehead et al 2012:167). Blog posts can occur instantaneously with other current events (Haab et al 2012:167). A blogger can comment on a newspaper article within minutes after the newspaper’s publication (Haab et al 2012:167). Through blogging economic teachers, professors and students have easy access to the unfiltered opinions of some of the top thinkers in economics (DeLong 2006).
Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT) was developed by Novak, Patterson, Garvin, and Chrstian (1999) and adapted for use in economics by Simkins and Maier (2010). JiTT is an intentionally designed teaching and learning strategy that (Simkins 2012:107):
- helps to structure and focus student studuying
- encourage preparation for class
- suggest just-in-time modifications of in-class activities focussed on student learning challenges.
Evidence shows that we best learn in context (Bangs 2012:50). Context-rich problems can help students move past rote memorisation of economic vocabulary and concepts (bangs 2012:50). Learning in context is not a new idea (Bangs 2012:50). It relates to the process of apprenticeship where the master (Bangs 2012:50):
- models the process
- coaches the apprentice as he/she starts doing the work
- start with simple parts of the process before moving to more complex parts.
- fades over time to allow the apprentice to work independently.
Assessment is a meant to an end and not an end in itself (Miller, Linn and Gronlund 2009:3)
Young academics versus experienced academics
During first few years of teaching, assessment of student understanding is simply a chore with a purpose no more important than to produce a reasonable distribution of final grades (Rebeck and Asarta 2012:177). After a few semesters of experience, new instructors begin to look more deeply into test results. They start asking questions such as: Why does half of the class not understand the difference between demand and quantity demanded? Is it the presentation of the material? Is it student effort? Is it a problematic question I continue to use?