Have Poster Session, Will Travel

- - posted in lectures, teaching

It’s been a long busy semester, but I finished my last day of teaching yesterday with an old friend: the poster session. My 60 students in Applied Econometrics have been working hard all term on group projects, and we took some time last night to share what we’ve learned in a pretty fun evening of music, snacks, and statistics.

Fundamentally, the event was very much like the poster sessions I organized at Yale, but with two new twists. First, these students were all taking their second econometrics class. At Yale, my students had just learned basic probability and statistics at the start of the term and only been working with multiple regression models (the staple of undergraduate econometrics) for a few weeks. This fall, my Cornellians had solid experience with these models by the mid-term, and since then they’ve been adding more advanced methods to their toolbox. This extra experience really showed in the quality and depth of the projects.

The second difference this year was the presentation technology. At Yale, we held the session in the TEAL classroom, a big room with large displays all around the edge which were perfect for posters. The problem was that by the end of a term of heavy use, many of those displays were broken and we often had to frantically run around the room finding the working ones.

The room we used last night, had several rolling ClickShare stations. These are whiteboards with projectors strapped on and neat wireless dongles that allow any laptop to quickly and easily share its screen. The resolution isn’t that great, but it’s good enough and every single one of the stations worked like a charm. The ability to annotate the presentations with a marker was useful too. Big thank you to the Cornell College of Human Ecology for investing in these and letting me use them!

At the end of the night I had multiple students report that they got great feedback on their projects and that the whole experience was a lot more fun than they expected. Next semester I’m teaching a class that’s not as obviously amenable to group projects and posters: Intermediate Microeconomic Theory. That said, I’ll be wracking my brain over winter break to figure out a way to do this again in the spring.