The vision: Four 2-year teaching postdocs working with faculty over five years to radically transform an entire undergraduate economics core curriculum with active learning pedagogy.
Our guest in this episode is organizational psychologist David Berg. He has taught in the Yale School of Management and is currently a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry in the Yale School of Medicine. David teaches students new ways to look at how organizations function through examples from their own lives. His classes look far more like organic conversations than traditional lectures, and students rave about how much they learn. We certainly learned a lot in our conversation.
Intermediate Micro Theory is a required course for all economics majors. Grades are typically based exclusively on problem sets and exams. I just posted this rather unconventional assignment for my Intermediate Micro students. They will work on it throughout the semester. I have no idea how it will go, but it will be fun to find out!
Since the beginning, the Teach Better Podcast has included pretty good show notes along with our episodes. This has mostly been the work of my cohost Edward O’Neill, who also handles all our audio production. In these notes, we provide references and links to resources we mention in our conversations. We also break every episode into 5-10 minute chunks and give you a rough sense of the content of each. As of today that these chunks are individually playable from the website!
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.