Using MyEconLab: Results, Motivations, and Potential Pitfalls

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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**Outline**• The bottom line up front: what are the results? • Motivations, potential pitfalls • What next? • Q & A 2**Bottom line: some results**• 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**Bottom line: ECON4999 (economics for managers)**• 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 89.5 2007 Spr 88.3 [as of 3/25/07] DISCUSS. 4**Bottom line: ECON4999 (economics for managers)**• ECON4999 (pre-MBA): average term grades • 1998 Fall 87.3 2002 Fall 83.5 • 1999 Fall 89.0 2003 Fall 83.3 • 2000 Spr 84.2 2004 Spr 81.3 • 2000 Fall 84.8 2004 Fall 88.2 • 2001 Spr 78.4 2005 Spr 77.7 • 2001 Fall 85.4 2005 Fall 86.3 • 2002 Spr 79.8 MyEconLab • 2006 Spr 89.5 2007 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**Bottom line: ECON4999 (economics for managers)**• 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**Bottom line: ECON4999 (economics for managers)**• 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**Bottom line: ECON4999 (economics for managers)**• 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**Bottom line: ECON2106 (microeconomics)**• 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**Bottom line: ECON2106 (microeconomics)**• 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**Bottom line: ECON2105 (macroeconomics)**• 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**Bottom line: ECON2105 (macroeconomics)**Spring 2007; n = 48 students 622 hrs/48 students = 12.96 hrs/student 12**ECON2105/2106 grade distribution**• Spring 2007 outcomes (3/25/07) ECON2106 (microecon) Grade distribution (after 10 quizzes/tests + midterm) GradeNumberPercent A 11 30.56% B 11 30.56% C 5 13.89% D 6 16.67% F 3 8.33% Sum 36 100.00% • Spring 2007 outcomes (3/25/07) ECON2105 (macroecon) Grade distribution (after 10 quizzes/tests + midterm) GradeNumberPercent A 13 27.08% B 17 35.42% C 13 27.08% D 4 8.33% F 1 2.08% Sum 48 100.00% 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**Course evaluation (excerpt)**• 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**Grades improve … but why?**• 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**Motivations**• 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**Motivations**• 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**Potential pitfalls**• Infrastructure • Publisher materials • Students • Professor • Administration 18**Potential pitfalls (infrastructure)**• Need wide and well-functioning campus infrastructure of support • College/department administration • Computing requirements • ITS folks • Bookstore • Publisher’s support team 19**Potential pitfalls(publisher materials)**• 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**Potential pitfalls(students)**• 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**Potential pitfalls(professor)**• 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**Potential pitfalls(administration)**• 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**What next?**• 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**Using MyEconLab**• Questions/comments? 25