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Using MyEconLab: Results, Motivations, and Potential Pitfalls

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Using MyEconLab: Results, Motivations, and Potential Pitfalls

J. Brauer, Professor of Economics

James M. Hull College of Business

Augusta State University

Augusta, GA 30904 USA

www.aug.edu/~sbajmb

Presentation to the

MyEconLab Teaching Forum

Dallas, TX

31 March 2007

1

- The bottom line up front: what are the results?
- Motivations, potential pitfalls
- What next?
- Q & A

2

- Institutional background
- No econ minor or major; only intro micro/macro service courses in b-school plus 1 pre-MBA and 1 MBA courses
- Non-residential campus; state university
- Almost all students are FT/PT employed and have families
- Increasing class sizes (20 => 60)
- => no more papers; now exam driven

- ECON2106 (micro) is prereq for ECON2105 (macro)

3

- ECON4999 (pre-MBA): average term grades
- 1998 Fall 87.3 [portfolio]2002 Fall 83.5 [4x]
- 1999 Fall 89.0 [portfolio]2003 Fall 83.3 [5x]
- 2000 Spr 84.2 [2x; 2p]2004 Spr 81.3 [4x]
- 2000 Fall 84.8 [2x; 1p]2004 Fall 88.2 [4x]
- 2001 Spr 78.4 [2x; 1p]2005 Spr 77.7 [4x]
- 2001 Fall 85.4 [4x]2005 Fall 86.3 [4x]
- 2002 Spr 79.8 [4x]
X = exam; P = paper

MyEconLab

- 2006 Spr 89.52007 Spr 88.3 [as of 3/25/07]
DISCUSS.

4

- ECON4999 (pre-MBA): average term grades
- 1998 Fall 87.32002 Fall 83.5
- 1999 Fall 89.02003 Fall 83.3
- 2000 Spr 84.22004 Spr 81.3
- 2000 Fall 84.82004 Fall 88.2
- 2001 Spr 78.42005 Spr 77.7
- 2001 Fall 85.42005 Fall 86.3
- 2002 Spr 79.8
MyEconLab

- 2006 Spr 89.52007 Spr 88.3
[as of 3/25/07]

Results are slightly better with MyEconLab but I am not in the classroom anymore. The College gains flexibility in scheduling my time to teach another class; the students gain flexibility in doing the work on their own schedule. Moreover, the MyEconLab exam questions are MUCH more complex and difficult than exam questions I was able to give in the past with in-class exams.

5

- Designed as a self-study course with Internet-based study/learning materials (MyEconLab) and tutorial support by the professor (the “inverted” classroom)
- The students cover 30 chapters (2 per week)
- Each week they do an online graded quiz (4 attempts) and an online graded test (2 attempts) on either one of the 2 chapters they read that week
- Quizzes/tests taken from in-chapter and end-of-chapter exercises (no solutions in text); other questions (e.g., testbank questions could be added but I have not done that yet)
- Prior to that, they obviously read the text AND (optionally) work with the MyEconLab StudyPlan – an online tutorial
- If they have questions, they email me a/o stop by the office for one-on-one tutoring (but only if they have done the StudyPlan!)

6

- The StudyPlan is an online tutorial that provides study hints and requires students to try an exercise over again before it “spills the beans” (gives the answer)
- Exercises are T/F, M/C, fill-in-the-blank, numerical, and graphical

21 students + 1 student with zero hours

Qualitative, not quantitative data?

7

- StudyPlan usage:
- 597 hrs/22 students = 27.14 hrs/student

- Lecture time saved:
- 10 weeks @ 2 x 1:15 hrs lecture time
- = 1500 min = 25 hrs

- Tutorial time spent:
- Don’t know but far <25 hrs

- Student evaluation:
- Don’t know but last semester (Fall 2006) very happy students; informal feedback this semester (Spring 2007) also very good

- Pattern:
- Similar pattern for ECON2105 and ECON2106 [less StudyPlan usage; same lecture time saved; more tutorial time (but <25 hrs); and equal or better course evaluations]

8

- ECON2106 (microeconomics): average term grades
- 1998 Fall 80.1 [14X]
- 1999 Spr 72.8 [3/4X; 1P]X = exam
- 1999 Fall 74.8 [5X]P = paper
- 2000 Fall 70.2 [3/4X; A]A = attendance
- 2001 Fall 79.1 [4X]
- 2002 Fall 68.2 [4X; A]
- 2004 Spr 71.1 [4X]
MyEconLab

- 2005 Spr 74.1 [4X; 11T; A]T = online test
- 2006 Spr 80.1 [15Q; 15T; 5D][mandatory A]Q = online quiz
- 2006 Fall 76.6 [13Q; 13T][voluntary A]D = drops
- 2007 Spr 80.1 [10Q; 10T; 1 midterm][self-study class]
[as of 3/25/07]

- DISCUSS.

9

- Spring 2007

- Fall 2006

Items on horizontal axis are textbook

chapters covered during the course.

n = 36 students

600 hrs/36 = 16.67 hrs/student

10

- ECON2105 (macroeconomics): average term grades
- 1998 Fall 79.9 [14X]2002 Fall 79.7 [4X]
- 1999 Spr 76.0 [3/4X; 1P]2003 Fall 69.6 [3/4X]
- 1999 Fall 69.5 [4X]2004 Spr 76.2 [4X]
- 1999 Fall 69.3 [4X]2004 Fall 73.9 [3/4X]
- 2000 Spr 82.3 [4X; A]2004 Fall 76.8 [3/4X]
- 2000 Fall 67.5 [4X]2004 Fall 78.6 [3/4X]
- 2001 Fall 79.9 [3/4X]2005 Fall 73.9 [4X; plus 1 retest]
MyEconLab

- 2005 Spr 77.0 [4X; 13T; A][mandatory attendance]
- 2006 Spr 77.9 [14Q; 14T; 2D][mandatory attendance]
- 2006 Fall 78.6 [14Q; 14T] [voluntary attendance]
- 2006 Fall 82.0 [14Q; 14T] [voluntary attendance]
- 2007 Spr 82.5 [10Q; 10T; 1 midterm][self-study class]
[as of 3/25/07]

- DISCUSS.

11

Spring 2007; n = 48 students

622 hrs/48 students = 12.96 hrs/student

12

- Spring 2007 outcomes (3/25/07)
ECON2106 (microecon)

Grade distribution

(after 10 quizzes/tests + midterm)

GradeNumberPercent

A11 30.56%

B11 30.56%

C 5 13.89%

D 6 16.67%

F 3 8.33%

Sum36100.00%

- Spring 2007 outcomes (3/25/07)
ECON2105 (macroecon)

Grade distribution

(after 10 quizzes/tests + midterm)

GradeNumberPercent

A13 27.08%

B17 35.42%

C13 27.08%

D 4 8.33%

F 1 2.08%

Sum48100.00%

Both distributions will improve. For example: 0 + 80 + 80 + 80 = 240 points

Divided by 4, that’s 60% or a “D” grade, even though the student clearly is a “B” caliber student. The more quizzes/tests are given as the semester progresses, the smaller is the weight of the one missed quiz/test.

13

- Categorical response questions [1: worst; 5: best]Mean
- 12. I regularly read the textbook chapters.4.86
- 13. I regularly worked the chapter section problems and exercises prior
to the Quiz/Test.4.27

- 14. I regularly worked the end-of-chapter problems and exercises prior
to the Quiz/Test.4.33

- 15. I regularly used the online Study Plan.4.63
- 16. I regularly used other online study tools (e-Text, Flashcards,
Glossary, etc.)3.60

- 17. I regularly completed the online Quiz well before the deadline.4.63
- 18. I regularly completed the online Test well before the deadline.4.63
[Response rate about 1/3]

14

- My favorite explanation: “practice makes the master”
- Internet-based testing makes high-frequency testing possible without “stealing” class time
- [It’s possible to require test-completion of a chapter before lecturing about the chapter]
- Learning-by-doing
- Learning-without-punishment
- Demonstrating mastery AFTER mastery has been gained
- Thus, the very low correlation coefficient [0.02 to 0.19 (for Spring 2007 as of 3/25/07)] between grades and StudyPlan usage is irrelevant; in fact the correlation SHOULD be about zero [only students who need to use StudyPlan to achieve a desired grade will use it, and only up to the hours they need it]

15

- The tired student at 5:30pm; flexibility for the student
- The variety of students; the hedgehog and the hare (the learning plateau)
- The professor becomes the tutor; individualized treatment of students
- Bring lectures to students instead of students to lectures

16

- Frees up professor time to teach other classes (reduces admin resource constraints)
- Learning without punishment
- Much more complex, involved problems for students to work through
- Students actually READ and STUDY the textbook and WORK the problems (Whoa! But, yep, it’s true!)

17

- Infrastructure
- Publisher materials
- Students
- Professor
- Administration

18

- Need wide and well-functioning campus infrastructure of support
- College/department administration
- Computing requirements
- ITS folks
- Bookstore
- Publisher’s support team

19

- Not all publishers will have suitable software
- Even if available, it is not (yet) perfect
- Stand-alone software may not be available or may be only insufficiently integrated into textbook material
- Locked in to publisher’s offering?

20

- Self-study involves a lot of work (“online” does not mean it’s easy); students need to be disciplined, methodical, alert, honest to themselves [but students DO respond to the challenge!]
- Getting started can be tough
- https://northshore.aug.edu/cp/home/displaylogin [ASU pipeline]
- www.aug.edu/~sbajmb [my web site]
- www.myeconlab.com [publisher’s web site]

- Some students LIKE to hear professors talk!
- No professor – no integration of textbook material?
- Cheating?

21

- The empty classroom
- Asynchronous learning makes the professor jump around!
- Tutor, tutor, tutor
- Just how much time does it take? [anything < 7-1/2 hours class time + prep time + office hours is good]
- The importance of day one

22

- Is a self-study, “online” class with 100 students the “same” as a traditional class with 40?
- Teacher/course evaluations need rewriting and they won’t fit the standard mold
- If you go up for T&P, how will the campus committees/individuals react?
- How does this tie in with ETS field scores or other externally validated tests?
- [… points need not be belabored]

23

- Spring 2007
- Post explanations/solutions to particularly difficult concepts a/o excercises as pdf files online

- Fall 2007
- The importance of day one
- Reduce quiz attempts (4=>3) and use average rather than highest quiz grade; keep test attempts (=2)
- Increase weight on proctored midterm/final exams (15%=>30%)
- Perhaps begin posting videos/podcasts

- Spring 2008
- Teaching with MyEconLab (nearly) perfected
- Offer intermediate level classes

- Fall 2008
- Teaching with MyEconLab routine
- Offer advanced level classes

24

- Questions/comments?

25