On October 30 Professors William Alpert and Mikhael Shor presented a workshop to 20 members of the Early College Experience faculty.
Early College Experience (ECE) is an opportunity for students to take UConn courses while still in high school. Every UConn ECE course is equivalent to the same course at the University of Connecticut. There are approximately fifty courses in over twenty disciplines made available to partner high schools. Courses are taught on the high school campus by high school instructors who have been certified as adjunct faculty members by the University of Connecticut.
The Economics Department now offers Connecticut High School students three introductory economics classes at almost 30 high schools throughout the state. The workshop highlighted Professor Shor introducing the teachers to current thinking about behavioral economics and included discussions of best practices of integrating the political landscape into economic study, the economics of migration and immigration, the distributions of income and wealth, and current thinking about macroeconomics and money.
During the last decade ECE has grown to over 11,000 FTE students and from 2 economics instructors to 25. Professor Alpert is the ECE Economics Department Coordinator.
Profs. Harmon, Alpert, coauthors Archita Banik (UConn, Ph.D., 2013), and James Lambrinos have an article “Class Absence, Instructor Lecture Notes, Intellectual Styles, and Learning Outcomes” recently accepted for publication in the Atlantic Economic Journal.
Professor Bill Alpert was one of three panelists (the other two being IBM Senior Vice Presidents, including their chief economist) discussing “Big Data” at an event in Stamford in December. Ascend is the largest, non-profit Pan-Asian organization for business professionals in North America. Established in 2005, Ascend has grown to serve professionals and corporations across various professions and across multiple industries.
Professors William Alpert and Oskar Harmon, and PhD candidates Robert Szarka and Paul Tomolonis presented “An Interactive Graphing Activity” in the AEA Committee on Economic Education Poster Session at the annual ASSA 2014 Conference in Philadelphia, PA. Their presentation demonstrated several problem sets where students use the drawing tool within Google Drive to create economic diagrams. Relying on the concept of learning-by-doing, these online activities give students the opportunity to practice drawing economic diagrams representing the core principles in their microeconomics textbook. That is, the act of drawing the diagram will reinforce student understanding of the economic concept. Working with Adam Nemeroff (Instructional Designer in the Uconn Institute of Teaching and Learning), the authors anticipate that using Google drawings in principles of economics courses at Uconn will promote the use of other products in Goggle Apps @ Uconn, build skills for upper division course work, and encourage collaborations across disciplines.
Professors Oskar R. Harmon, William T. Alpert, and PhD Candidate Joseph Histen, have been published the article “Online Discussion and Learning Outcomes” in the Journal International Advances in Economic Research, 2014.
This paper describes how the authors used Facebook as a discussion tool in the instruction of a principles level economics course and reports empirical estimates of the effect of that use on learning outcomes. Social media as a tool for promoting classroom discussion has advantages and disadvantages. For example, its omnipresence and flat learning curve can promote academic discourse. However social media can promote non-academic “chatting”, and its omnipresence means the user needs more than a passing knowledge of the privacy settings to have control of their “digital identity. For a Principles of Microeconomics taught in 2011 we collected data, with permission from our institution’s Institutional Review Board, on student use of Facebook, academic and demographic characteristics, learning style preferences and learning outcomes. Overall our empirical estimates provide cautious support for the hypothesis that active participation in the discussion board has a positive effect on exam score at a statistically significant level. The estimates of the effect of posts related to question and answer dialogue show a positive impact on the cumulative final exam score at a 5% level of statistical significance. This result is consistent with the view that using Facebook in academic instruction can be an effective tool for assisting the average student to resolve questions about the course material and for promoting peer-to-peer learning.
At the end of the Fall 2013 semester, Professor William Alpert presented an all day workshop for Early College Experience (ECE) Economics adjuncts and preceptors. The ECE program in Economics has grown from one class taught by one instructor to three classes at 8 state public and private high schools with about 800 Connecticut students completing the classes each year.
The UConn Early College Experience (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 warm 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 or preceptors and teach UConn classes.
William T. Alpert, has been awarded the 2013 University of Connecticut Stamford Campus Faculty Recognition Award. This peer-reviewed award recognizes UConn Stamford faculty for outstanding achievements in research, service and teaching. This award recognizes recent accomplishments and sustained contributions to the Stamford Campus.