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.
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)
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.