Professors Harmon and Tomolonis publish in International Review of Economics Education

Oskar Harmon and Paul Tomolonis (UConn PhD 2017) co-authored the article “The effects of using Facebook as a discussion forum in an online Principles of Economics course: Results of a randomized controlled trial”

Their paper makes a comparison between using social media or traditional Course Management System (CMS) discussion groups in a fully online Principles of Microeconomics course.

Students were randomly assigned to a discussion forum in either Facebook or CMS to discern a difference in the level of engagement and learning outcomes. The popular hypothesis is that students using social media have greater engagement with the class and higher learning outcomes relative to students using a CMS platform. Reasons for the positive effect include the ease of use and student familiarity with social media, which allows them to make more connections and gain a deeper understanding of the course material through discussions with others.

Contrary to the widely held view, the results of this study suggest that participation in the treatment Facebook group is associated with declining student engagement and a reduction in the semester course average of 3 to 5 points on a 100-point scale.

The article is available at the IREE website

Exploring Career Paths in Business and Economics

Panel Discussion, Stamford Campus

The annual Alumni Networking Panel, co-organized by Stamford Campus Economics Faculty, CLAS Alumni Relations, and UConn Foundation, was held March 26, 2019.

The panelists, all UConn alumni, shared stories about their UConn education to the contribution to their career paths.  Mr. Bianchi (majored in Economics) shared that he arrived as a UConn freshman majoring in pre-med, and his class in Principles of Macroeconomics with Professor Polly Allen forever changed his career path, and the skills learned in the Econometrics course taught by Professor Subhash Ray sparked a lifelong interest in quantitative analysis.

Mr. Regan (majored in Economics) shared that his choice of major was inspired by Professor Derek Johnson’s Principles of Microeconomics course, and the Socratic teaching style in Professor Paul Tomolonis’s course in International Economics.

Ms. Daley, and Ms. Pierre-Louis (Public Policy and Psychology majors) shared that from their courses in statistics and computer programming they developed skills core to their successful career paths.  Professor Harmon served as panel moderator.

For more information about the panel click here.

Early College Experience (ECE) Economics Program Workshop

The Early College Experience (ECE) Economics Program presented a workshop on October 31 for Connecticut high school teachers offering Principles of Micro and Macro Economics (Econ 1201 and 1202) and Essentials of Economics (Econ 1000) in their high schools.  The economics program now has certified 39 instructors as either Adjunct Professors of Economics or Preceptors in Economics. Twenty-nine of them choose to attend the workshop.

The teachers were instructed on the economics of climate change by Wensu Li, one of UCONN’s knowledgeable graduate students who discussed what one could teach in the principles classes about climate change.  Professor Paul Tomolonis, Assistant Professor of Economics, Western New England University and Adjunct Professor of Economics University of Connecticut, reflected on earnings management with the workshop participants.  He used earnings managment as an example of misallocation of resources. Professor Stephen L. Ross, Professor of Economics, University of Connecticut described the importance of distinguishing between permanent shocks and transitory shocks to the macro economy and the day was concluded with Professor Dennis Heffley, Professor of Economics, University of Connecticut, Emeritus who addressed the workshop on the teaching of health economics at the principles level.

Finally, three of the teachers (Ms. Vancil, Shelton, Ms. Pelling, West Hartford, and Mr. Staffaroni from New Canaan) spent a few minutes over lunch to shared one of their learning experiences with their colleagues gained while attending the Joint Council on Economic Education Conference in New York City in early October.

UCONN ECE is a concurrent enrollment program that allows motivated high school students to take UCONN courses at their high schools for both high school and college credit. Every course taken through UCONN ECE is equivalent to the same course at the University of Connecticut. Students benefit by taking college courses in a setting that is both familiar and conducive to learning. High school instructors who have been certified through the University of Connecticut serve as adjunct faculty members and teach UCONN ECE courses. Established in 1955, UCONN ECE is the nation’s longest running concurrent enrollment program and is accredited by The National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships.