Oskar Harmon

MSQE Alumni Panel on April 29, 2021

MSQE Program alumni Claudia Rodriguez (MSQE December 2019) and Jonathan Gonzalez (MSQE December 2019) participated in a virtual MSQE Alumni Networking Panel on April 29th.

Claudia currently works at Moody’s Investor Service, as a Structured Finance Associate Analyst, where she works on the Commercial Mortgage-Backed Securities team, and the Collateralized Loan Obligations team.

Jonathan currently works for a Connecticut Non-Profit advocacy group.  He is currently providing data analytics research support for advocacy of Connecticut Senate Bill 842 An Act Concerning Health Insurance and Health Care in Connecticut.

They spoke highly of their MSQE training in Python, and R, the value of networking and recommended applying for summer internships.  In conversation about deadlines, it was mentioned that in industry meeting deadlines is crucial, not like class deadlines where professors’ give extensions.

The panel was moderated by Professor Harmon.

Professor Harmon receives CETL University Teaching Award

Oskar HarmonProfessor Oskar Harmon has been named a University Teaching Fellow by the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning:

The Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning University Teaching Awards are held annually to honor faculty and graduate students who show exemplary commitment to their teaching craft. The winners of these awards are leaders in their disciplinary pedagogy, innovation, and have an unequaled focus on student success.

The recipients who win this award are representative of exemplary practice and service to the university. Their commitment to teaching, demonstrated knowledge of pedagogy, and an interest in fostering innovative teaching practices is unparalleled. This award identifies recognition of excellence in and out of the classroom by students, peers, and administrators.

Oskar Harmon is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics. He has taught at the university since 1994 and among many accolades, was the first faculty member to offer the “Principles of Economics” course in an online format in 2004. More information on Dr. Harmon can be found here.

Information about the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and the award, may be found online at:


MSQE Alumni Panel

Two alumni of the MSQE Program participated in a virtual MSQE Alumni Networking Panel on March 18th:

Louis Booth: MSQE Dec 2018

John Rolfe:  MSQE Dec 2019

Louis currently works at Travelers, as a Consultant Analytics and Research Development, where he is on the  Advanced Tools and Technologies Team.  John  currently works at Spreetail as a Demand Planner where he does demand forecasting.

They spoke highly of their MSQE training in Python, R, and Tableau, and gave several examples of how they use these skills in their current positions.

The panel was moderated by Professor Harmon.

Professors Harmon and Tomolonis Publish in Journal of Economic Education

JEE LogoOskar Harmon and Paul Tomolonis (UConn PhD 2017) have co-authored the article “Learning Tableau – A data visualization tool”, published in the Journal of Economic Education.

ABSTRACT: “Doing economics” is an important theme of undergraduate economics programs. Capstone courses increasingly include instruction in “data literacy” and the STEM-related skills of quantitative and empirical methods. Because the professional discipline has moved in this direction and because of greater employer demand for these skills, data visualization is a key component of data literacy. Tableau is a free data visualization software widely used in the data analytics industry. In this article, the authors introduce an exercise that teaches the fundamental Tableau concepts and commands needed to create charts, assemble them in a dashboard, and tell a story of patterns observed in the data. The exercise assumes no prior experience in Tableau and is appropriate for undergraduate upper-level economics courses or an empirical methods course.

The article is available at the JEE website

MSQE Student Tracking Pandemic featured in UConn Today

MSQE student Yuansun (Sonny) Jiang’s COVID-19 Connecticut Data Visualization website has been featured in UConn Today: 

UConn Student Tracks Pandemic With Data

Using the skills he was learning in Prof. Oskar Harmon’s Writing and Communication for Economics and Business graduate course, Jiang began assembling the COVID-19 Connecticut Data Visualization website, where he daily charts the pandemic’s course both here in Connecticut and across the country.”


Read the full article at https://today.uconn.edu/2020/04/uconn-student-tracks-pandemic-data

Information about the MSQE Program may be found online at https://msqe.econ.uconn.edu/

Professor Harmon’s SSRN Working Paper on Data Visualization is Top 5 Downloaded Paper

The Social Science Research Network (SSRN), a platform for dissemination of early-stage research, recently announced their all-time top ten downloaded  papers in the topic Data Visualization.  Oskar Harmon’s paper “Learning Tableau: A Data Visualization Tool” with Steven Batt, and Paul Tomolonis was among that list.

“Doing economics” and “data literacy” are becoming important themes of undergraduate economics  programs.  This paper introduces an exercise that teaches the fundamental Tableau concepts and commands needed to create charts, assemble them in a dashboard, and tell a story of patterns observed in the data.  The exercise assumes no prior experience in Tableau and is appropriate for an undergraduate economics  capstone course or an empirical methods course.


Oskar Harmon and Robert Szarka (UConn PhD 2017) Co-Author Article

Professor Oskar Harmon and Robert Szarka (Visiting Assistant Professor, SUNY Oneonta) co-authored the article “Using Google Drawings to Create Homework Exercises” that appears as the lead article in issue number 2 (2018) of the Journal of Economics Teaching.

The article shows how Google Drive’s Drawings tool can be used to create homework exercises suitable for both online and face-to-face classes. This approach allows students to create graphs actively “from scratch,” similar to the traditional pencil-and-paper approach, with a minimal investment of time and money. This could be a useful active-learning tool for online, blended, and traditional courses. The tools presented in the article have been adapted by the publisher TopHat in a recently published Principles of Micro/Macro online textbook.

Using Google Drawings to Create Homework Exercises (Harmon & Szarka)


Professors Alpert, Couch and Harmon publish in the American Economic Review

The work of University of Connecticut Professors William Alpert, Kenneth Couch, and Oskar Harmon, entitled “A Randomized Assessment of Online Learning”, appears in the May issue of the American Economic Review.  The paper was selected for inclusion in the Papers and Proceedings issue after being submitted in response to a national call for papers on economic education.

The study provides the fourth randomized examination of online versus face-to-face education ever conducted for a semester length college course.  In this case, the course studied was microeconomic principles.  The study shows that students in a face-to-face course did about half a letter grade better than students in a purely online course developed consistent with best practices for online education. The study finds that there are no meaningful differences in performance when comparing students in a course with a blended versus face-to-face format.