Another Amazing NETA Conference in the Books!

2017 Best-in-Class Videos

The winners of the 2017 Economist Educators Best-in-Class Teaching Award presented their winning entries—and here they are. Enjoy!

NETA 2017 Agenda

Download and discover more ways to engage with Economics.

Improving Student Performance by Addressing Student and Teacher Misconceptions about Learning
Dr. Stephen L. Chew, Chair of Psychology at Samford University
Outstanding U.S. Professor of the Year, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.


Games Superheroes Play: Teaching Game Theory with Comic Book Favorites
Brian O’Roark, Robert Morris University
Applying game theory in the familiar scenarios of comic book heroes provide students with examples of how economic concepts are applied to typically non-business situations. In this presentation, I analyze five familiar themes in game theory through the lens of superheroes, and provide teachers a way to introduce game theory in a non-traditional way.


A Tournament of Oxford-Style Inspired Academic Competitive Debates in International Economics with a Modified Protocol
Sylwia E. Starnawska, SUNY - Empire State College
In this session, I cover a sequence and a modified protocol of conducting Oxford-style debates, tested and refined in my class while teaching an International Economics course each year from 2010 - 2013. Principles of selecting topics, rules and assessment criteria for running this tournament are shared. In addition, the advantages and benefits of utilizing debates for learning outcomes—and also for enhancing effectiveness and efficiency of teamwork and communication skills—are covered.


Getting Economics Student to Think Logically and Systematically
Richard Gosselin, Houston Community College
In this workshop, I give participants the tools they need to help students think more logically and systematically to critically evaluate economic claims. First, I provide a novel theory of logic that improves accessibility while preserving rigor. Second, there are interactive demonstrations and exercises that suggest many practical applications to the field of Economics and the issues of the day.


Structuring Exams with Teamwork
Dana K. Whippo, Dickinson State University
Frequent exams benefit students in myriad ways: early feedback, confirmation of understanding—or identification of weaknesses—and reducing the stress associated with individual or midterm/final exam structures. However, these are not without costs: namely, loss of classroom time. In this presentation, I share my solution of out-of-class team exams, contrast it to alternative testing strategies, provide information on student response and discuss its impact on the classroom environment.


The Match that Starts the Fire! Curiosity, Information Gaps, and Stimulating Classroom Engagement
Jose J. Vazquez, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
In this talk, I cover using the most recent cognitive and brain science theory on curiosity to offer 10 BEST PRACTICES any economic instructor can use right away to stimulate students’ curiosity in their classroom—many of them using basic multiple-choice questions. Moreover, I provide a case study of the way I have used these techniques in my own courses over the last five years. For the most part, these techniques are not only completely original, but also surprising in their impact on student learning outcomes.


Dreams of Future Economies
Phillip Tussing, Houston Community College
Econ-Sci-Fi: Classic Science Fiction contains speculation about the implications of various economic ideas. In our classrooms, we limit ourselves to tired comparisons of Capitalism with Communism—students in our classes would benefit from harnessing the creative scenarios of these writers.


Lumos! Using Harry Potter to Illustrate and Illuminate Labor Economic Concepts
Madelyn Young, Converse College
In this presentation, I give specific examples of how to use the Harry Potter series to illustrate labor economic concepts, through the use of movie clips and book passages. These concepts can be used in many different Economics courses and are not limited to Labor Economics courses.


Teaching Piketty to Undergraduates
Humberto Barreto, DePauw University
Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-first Century tackles the critical issue of inequality, but is beyond the grasp of most students because the Solow Model requires advanced training. Instead of the usual analytical presentation, Excel can be used to simulate the model. Both Piketty’s views and those of his critics can be examined and understood by non-experts.


Recognizing the Face of Economics Through Service Learning
Kevin Gericke, West Kentucky Community and Technical College
In this presentation, I allow participants the opportunity to discover how service learning assignments can help students in their entry-level classes to not only better comprehend theoretical concepts, but to most importantly put a face on those concepts in the real world. Participants identify goals for their own students, share ideas of projects which cover numerous principles and develop a method to assess students’ Service Learning activities.


Heads UP! Making Econ Exam Review Sessions Fun and Effective
Florencia Gabriele, Emmanuel College & Rebecca L. Moryl, Emmanuel College
In this presentation, we demonstrate an innovative application of a charades-type game called “Heads Up!” to Economics concept review. We demonstrate ways in which instructors can use this game in Principles classes to create a review session that is effective, fun and engaging. We provide alternate applications of the game, suggest modifications for other courses and provide a variety of methods instructors could use to tailor the game their course needs—number of students, cost, technology, etc.


Using Literature and Pop Culture to Strengthen the Economic Teacher-Student Dyad
Kacey L. Rodgers, Leachman Links Co., LLC
In this presentation, I demonstrate ways to use pop culture or literature in the teaching of Economics. I also demonstrate the effects of scarcity using three separate examples from pop culture and literature.


A Fireside for Foodies: Teaching Microeconomics by Making Cookies
James A. Hornsten, Northwestern University
Faculty are often asked to give informal lectures outside of the classroom to students with diverse backgrounds. This session describes how to introduce standard microeconomic concepts by means of a live cookie-making demonstration, though the approach easily could be modified for other dishes or for classroom use.


Strengthening the Writing Component in Upper Level Economics Electives
Helen Schneider, The University of Texas at Austin
In this session, I present alternative designs for the structure and assessment of research paper assignments in an upper-level Economics elective with a significant writing component. The discussion helps attendees to incorporate writing across curriculum requirements into their Economics electives, and provides strategies for enhancing Economics content through writing.


Writing in the Discipline and Reproducible Methods: A Process-Oriented Approach to Teaching Empirical Undergraduate Economics Research
Emily C. Marshall, Dickinson College & Anthony Underwood, Dickinson College
In this session, we detail an empirical research project in an upper-level undergraduate Economics writing-based course. The project is focused on Economics writing conventions and reproducible empirical research methods in order to teach students to do econometrics through effective writing, data management and empirical analysis. We describe the particulars of the project timeline and replication protocol, along with the pedagogical rationale.


Economics Activities in a Virtual World
Joe Calhoun, Florida State University
Along with Chant Newall Development Group, the Stavros Center for Economic Education at Florida State University has created 15 activities/labs in the Second Life virtual world. Similar to an in-class “experiment,” students interact with the environment and each other in Second Life to engage in concepts. For example, in “Trade Creates Value,” students are randomly assigned an item then are allowed to trade with others. In “Property Rights,” students go fishing at a pond to simulate the tragedy of the commons. Both macro and micro topics are covered.


Celebrating Economics: Incorporating the Holidays in the Classroom
Roger Wehr, University of Texas at Arlington
The challenge of accommodating holidays in an academic semester presents an excellent opportunity for economic lecturers to introduce fundamental concepts in both macro- and microeconomics. Examples of certain economic topics which have been introduced using this “Celebrate Economics” approach are discussed, and how this technique may be used in both traditional and flipped classroom settings. The benefits of utilizing this strategy for the students and lecturers, as well as modifications of this approach over time, is discussed.


Using Data and Cutting-Edge Topics to Effectively Teach Economics in the Classroom
Hossein S. Kazemi, Stonehill College & Dean Croushore, University of Richmond
In this presentation, we show how to engage students using cutting-edge topics with the aid of tools such as Bloomberg, FRED and CNBC. The authors present an effective pedagogy, in teaching contents that are often found to be difficult for many students, by bringing them into the laboratory of the real world. This approach generates deeper comprehension and retention of the material.


Using Roleplay at the Undergraduate Level to Help Students Understand Key Economic Principles
Raymond Sanders, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
A big advantage of roleplay is that it seems to be effective for a wide range of learning styles. Discover ways to incorporate roleplay into some of the key Economic Principles you cover at the undergraduate level. Learn how best to set up roleplays to encourage students to stay in character and on-topic. Find ways of using personalization to better captivate students’ attention and imagination. Hear what students have to say about roleplay exercises in final course evaluations.


See the Best in Class!
In this session, each of the three winners of the Economist Educators Best in Class Award for 2017 demonstrate their winning submission.


Bourbon in the Classroom
Dr. Steven Gohmann, BB&T Professor of Free Enterprise and Director of the John H. Schnatter Center for Free Enterprise, University of Louisville


Using Excel’s Solver in the Intermediate Microeconomics Classroom
Alan P. Grant, Baker University
This presentation will demonstrate how Solver can be used to help students understand unconstrained maximization—profit maximization, largely—cost minimization, input selection and utility maximization problems. By coupling Solver with a few standard formulas, students can easily perform comparative static analysis, compute shadow values of inputs and graphically illustrate solutions to these problems.


Effective Teaching of Economics: A Constrained Optimization Problem?
Patrik Hultberg, Kalamazoo College
Is effective teaching of Economics a constrained optimization problem? How do we maximize learning given that cognitive load theory—CLT—informs us that our students have limited cognitive processing capacity? In this session, we explore together the practical implications of CLT on instructional design.


Teaching Economic History and History of Economic Thought Across the Economics Curriculum
Yuri N. Maltsev, Carthage College
Few of us doubt that the 1917 Russian Revolution was one of the most influential events of all time. As the centennial commemoration of November 7, 1917, revolution approaches, it seems remarkable how fast the deadly ideology that inspired Lenin and millions of his followers is spreading across the globe. The world will no doubt experience the consequences of plenty more brutal dictatorships based on Marxism-Leninism, but it’s doubtful that any will impose as much misery as did the doctrine first empowered by the Bolshevik revolution.


Too Big to Fail: The Creation and Exploitation of Moral Hazard
Jeffrey Cleveland, Howard Community College
During the height of the Great Recession, major publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Business Week, Forbes and Fortune ran a combined 225 articles and blog posts containing references to the phrase “moral hazard,” with a myriad of ill-defined descriptions of what that term really means. This session will examine the history of government bail-outs of entities and industries deemed “too big to fail,” and identify key elements required for moral hazard to even exist. Finally, we will present a formal framework to define moral hazard, allowing us to identify and evaluate different types of decision making, behavior and other factors to determine if a given situation truly contains or leads to moral hazard.


Using ExplainEverything to Replace Homework Sets, Deliver Targeted Supplemental Material, or Flip a Classroom
Michael J. Enz, Roanoke College
If you routinely assign homework sets, you have probably discovered that many of your students have a tendency to start them the night before and “check out” of class until the period before the sets are due. Through ExplainEverything, I have been able to deliver material specific to a particular problem and have moved away from problem sets to single problems do each class period. This software can be used to easily create targeted supplemental material, flip a class or replace homework sets.


An Introduction to MindTap: A Basic Introduction to the Most Advanced and Exciting Digital Solution for Economics Available
This presentation—for instructors NOT currently using MindTap—will explore the features and benefits of this best-selling digital solution. Faculty Partner, Josh Robinson, will also discuss how he uses MindTap in his Principles classes.


Today’s Economy and Its Discontents
Dr. N. Gregory Mankiw, Robert M. Beren Professor of Economics at Harvard University


Challenge of the Month!
Renata Kochut, SUNY Empire State College
How to make an Introductory Economics study interactive, engaging and exciting? Easy! Incorporate the "Challenge of the Month" assignment. This collaborative session will explore various assignments that trigger students’ interest, motivation and engagement. In addition, we discuss benefits of applied challenges for students’ learning and comprehending Economic Theory.


A Model to Explain the Monetary Trilemma Using Tools from Principles of Macroeconomics
William Rieber, Butler University
The Economist Magazine identified the Mundell-Fleming monetary trilemma as one of six big ideas in Economics that explains how the world works. The trilemma states that policy makers can simultaneously achieve any two—but not three—of the following objectives: exchange rate stability, an independent monetary policy and free capital flows with other economies. Yet, most undergraduate textbooks in International Economics don’t explain—and often don’t even mention—the monetary trilemma. Perhaps some authors believe the concept is too difficult for undergraduate students to comprehend. The undergraduate International Economics textbooks that explicitly analyze the trilemma use models that go beyond tools covered in courses in Principles of Macroeconomics, such as the IS-LM-BP model. The presentation provides an analytical model to explain the monetary trilemma using graphical tools from Principles of Macroeconomics.


Incorporating “STEM” into Principles of Economics
Becky A. Lafrancois, Colorado School of Mines & Scott Houser, Colorado School of Mines
Economics Principles are relevant to all students, not just students majoring in Economics and Business. Come learn some techniques for engaging your applied Science and Engineering students. We will introduce a variety of in-class activities that can be used to demonstrate the relevance of Economics to the applied Sciences and Engineering.


An Introduction to MindTap: A Basic Introduction to the Most Advanced and Exciting Digital Solution for Economics Available
This presentation—for instructors NOT currently using MindTap—will explore the features and benefits of this best-selling digital solution. Faculty Partner, Josh Robinson, will also discuss how he uses MindTap in his Principles classes.


Demography and Patterns: Using both Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches in Introductory Economics
Laura Elisa Leal, Alvin Community College
This discussion will evaluate the applicability of demographic data in will courses and reinforce the value of research and data integrity to both full-time undergraduates and dual-credit students enrolled in community colleges.

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