Introductory economics courses usually include a lot of handwaving. Students learn the basic concepts (e.g., supply and demand), but the math involved is pretty simplistic. That all changes in Intermediate Micro where students build and analyze serious mathematical models using calculus. I’m teaching this course right now, and I’m using MobLab to mix in some fun experiential learning.
Jon McKenzie is a visiting professor in Cornell University’s English Department and a Dean’s Fellow for Media and Design. He is a teacher, an artist, and a teacher of artists. Jon and his students refuse to be constrained by the traditional academic media of articles and books, and instead work together to communicate ideas using alternative media such as audio, video, zines, and virtual reality environments. Jon has also developed his own pedagogical method which he calls StudioLab. During our conversation, we talk about how he combines elements of seminar classes, lecture classes, studio classes, and computer labs into single action-packed three hour class periods.
I love podcasts. I listen on long car trips, short errands, and while doing chores around the house. Podcasts fill similar niches in many peope’s lives, but far more people either don’t have or don’t want to fill those niches. Wouldn’t it be great if all the content currently locked away in podcasts were available to them too? And even for podcast fans, the content of podcasts is difficult to browse and nearly impossible to search.
Last semester I worked with several (ed)tech products for the first time including iClicker polling software, the Panopto video platform, Clickshare, and Astropad. It’s tough to choose my favorite, but I think it’s LatexIt: an amazing free tool that lets me easily incorporate Latex equations into my Powerpoint slides.
In this episode Professor Steven Strogatz joins us from the Cornell Math Department. He is a world-renowned mathematician, known primarily for his work in non-linear dynamics and chaos theory, and he is the award-winning author of Sync, The Calculus of Friendship, and The Joy of x. He also happens to be one of the best teachers at Cornell. During our a wide-ranging conversation, Steve talks with us about helping students discover for themselves the joys and frustrations of mathematical thinking.
In Spring of 2015, Sam Doernberg and Joe DiPietro taught Introduction to Neuroscience to 10 students in the Auburn Correctional Facility in upstate New York as part of the Cornell Prison Education Program. In this episode Sam and Joe tell us the ways in which the class was the same and different from the large lecture version of the class they taught to undergraduates at Cornell. They also share just how rewarding the experience was for all involved.
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.
Our guest in this episode is Professor David Easley from the Cornell Economics and Information Science Departments. David is a world-renowned researcher and he’s long been a champion of interdisciplinary work. Several years ago he created a brand new cross-field class with computer scientist Jon Kleinberg called Networks, Crowds and Markets. It’s been a huge success and more than 600 Cornell students are currently enrolled. It’s been taught by multiple instructors (currently David is teaching with computer scientist Eva Tardos), it’s been picked up by other schools, and David and Jon even turned it into a book. During our conversation David tells us how the course came about, how it was built, how it’s changed over the years.
Bill Goffe teaches economics at Penn State where he is both a consumer and a producer of evidence-based teaching. He is also an Associate Editor at the Journal of Economic Education. In this episode we talk about how to get the most out of the research-based teaching literature, how to use evidence to persuade your colleagues to change how they teach, and how to get started doing your own teaching-related research.