Professors Oskar Harmon and Owen Svalestad, and Paul Tomolonis (PhD Candidate) participated in the Sixth Annual Conference on Teaching & Research in Economic Education, June 1 – 3, sponsored by the American Economic Association Committee on Economic Education.
Oskar Harmon moderated the panel session “The Experience of Managing a Team in the FED Challenge Competition: Pointers and Pitfalls”, and Owen Svalestad presented “The First Timer Experience”.
Oskar Harmon and Paul Tomolonis presented the paper “Can Social Media be an Effective Tool for Discussion in the Online Classroom?”. The paper makes a comparison between the use of social media and traditional Course Management System (CMS) discussion groups in a fully online (Microeconomic Principles) course. Using the experimental design of a randomized trial, the paper tests the popular hypothesis that students using social media (Facebook discussion group here) have greater engagement with the class and higher learning outcomes relative to students not using that platform for coursework (the CMS control group here) because of the ease of use and student familiarity with social media. Our findings were contrary to this popular hypothesis with lower levels of engagement and learning outcomes for the Facebook groups compared to the CMS discussion groups. We attribute this to the more casual and less formal environment of social media compared to the CMS since students postings were shorter via the social media discussions.