+2 votes
asked ago in General Economics Questions by (270 points)
My university has moved us to online teaching at short notice in the face of the COVID-19 virus. As someone who has no experience teaching online and given that I cannot ask students to buy learning management packages at this stage - some ideas as to how to make the transition to online for upper level Macroeconomics and Public Economics courses? The university is willing to provide support for WebEx and Google Meet. Mainly I am interested in knowing how to make the transition from using the whiteboard for graphs and models to online?

1 Answer

+5 votes
answered ago by (540 points)
selected ago by
Best answer
I had my final  in-person meeting with my Principles of Macro class this morning before moving online next week. Although I have some online teaching experience, I have not taught this course online. I cannot assume that all of my students have easy internet access so I cannot schedule synchronous online classes.  My thoughts so far:

- The remaining class topics happen to be AS/AD, fiscal and monetary policy, and the transfer payment system. I've termed the remainder of the class "Macroeconomics of Pandemic Recession: Analysis and Policy Tools"

- I quickly created a reading packet for my students (handed out today and also posted on Blackboard) with readings from the WSJ, WaPo and Economist on AD changes, predicted impacts on employment and incomes, fiscal policy and monetary policy changes under discussion, and transfer payment system impacts. I told my students we would use the articles as the source of discussion / problem set questions for the next few weeks. (I also included my usual handout on the AD/AS model)

- I'm moving to a topic-per-week model for the remainder of the semester. Each week I will record and post a lecture video, a problem set (longer than usual, referencing the reading packet, the textbook, and the theory concepts from the lecture, and making use of the feedback options in Blackboard so my students know what they get right or wrong and why), and a discussion board question. I will also try to schedule office hours for students through Google Meet or Blackboard Collaborate.

- Exams will be open book / notes. One word of advice to my students is to prepare for this type of exam as if they could not use their notes. Lack of preparation for open book exams leads to much lower grades.

For my upper-level students in policy-relevant courses, I will be posting short lectures and using discussion board interactions. (In the class where students were to participate in debates, the groups will be submitting their presentation files and I will create a final exam essay question that asks all students to evaluate a debate topic that they weren't a participant in).

Good luck to everyone scrambling to make this work.