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National University of Ireland, Galway1 Using Aplia software to teach principles of economics Brendan Kennelly and David Duffy Department of Economics.

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Presentation on theme: "National University of Ireland, Galway1 Using Aplia software to teach principles of economics Brendan Kennelly and David Duffy Department of Economics."— Presentation transcript:

1 National University of Ireland, Galway1 Using Aplia software to teach principles of economics Brendan Kennelly and David Duffy Department of Economics NUI Galway

2 National University of Ireland, Galway2 Principles of Economics at NUI Galway 700 first year students taking economics split into 2 class groups Students are pursuing a variety of degrees Course is a year long course; 2 lecturers teaching each group (micro and macro) Three 50 minute lectures a week; One 50 minute tutorial a week taught by postgraduate students

3 National University of Ireland, Galway3 Previous Attempts to Improve the Student Experience 8 written assignments each semester –Only 2 were corrected by a pool of 10 tutors –Problems emerged with Consistency in grading A lack of feedback for students Time pressures on lecturers administering the assignments Content management technology –Distribution of lecture notes and other communication via blackboard

4 National University of Ireland, Galway4 Aplia ( Web based technology designed to improve the student learning experience Aplia is a web-based product offering –Automatically graded problem sets –Math review tests and tutorials –Economic experiments –Interactive economic models –News analysis exercises –A blog tailored to typical first year course content –Support to lecturers

5 National University of Ireland, Galway5 Automatically Graded Assignments Weekly paired practice and graded problem sets –Allows students to select their own learning path Encourages regular effort Provides students with timely feedback Consistency in grading Allows students to select multiple paths Students work with interactive economic models

6 National University of Ireland, Galway6 Maths Tests and Tutorials Students identify math weakness on a pre test Students select from 5 animated math tutorials with accompanying exercises Students improve upon initial math test scores in a second math test if required

7 National University of Ireland, Galway7 Live Economics Experiments Key elements in experimental learning require some effort and creativity on the part of the lecturer Experiments may not work without student preparation Aplia provides –Pre experiment preparation –Easy to use experiments –Post experiment evaluation

8 National University of Ireland, Galway8 Economic Comprehension Bring economics to life in the classroom with discussion of topical news items Analysis requires preparation on the part of students Aplia provides news articles with student preparation exercises An Aplia blog allows students the opportunity to further analyse and discuss economic issues

9 National University of Ireland, Galway9 Systematic evidence on effectiveness One paper in AER (May 2006) Random trial of students in an economics class in Western Michigan University Those assigned to complete the diagnostic maths test on Aplia performed better on the course. Results were stronger for weaker students

10 National University of Ireland, Galway10 Student Feedback: What type of Assignments do you prefer?

11 National University of Ireland, Galway11 What effect did Aplia assignments have on your overall understanding of the course?

12 National University of Ireland, Galway12 Would you want Aplia to be used for another course?

13 National University of Ireland, Galway13 What are Galway Students Saying About Aplia? Aplia gives you a better understanding of economics and gives you different angles to look at economics than the lecture. It is also easier to check how you did in an assignment, it shows where you went wrong and gives you the correct answer straight away. Mostly I liked the convenience of Aplia. I had both the assignment and online chapter available on one screen. My assignment was submitted with just a click of a button.

14 National University of Ireland, Galway14 What are Galway Students Saying About Aplia? I would like to see Aplia used in other courses as its more convenient than pen and paper assignments, it always allows you to see what questions you got wrong and you can learn from that. Motivation to do work during term. Keeps you on top of topics yet not too onerous. It is more efficient than regular assignments. Aplia makes you think about things more. Its more than likely the future way of studying so why not start now!

15 National University of Ireland, Galway15 What did Galway Tutors Say About Aplia? Aplia has reduced administrative duties as we didn't have to collect or correct assignments. This allowed more time for teaching which was more interesting and interactive as students were more willing to take part in discussions and work together. Aplia experiments were simple to set up and easy to work. I didnt experience any technical problems in the use of Aplia.

16 National University of Ireland, Galway16 Other issues Service also used very successfully for a course taught by blended learning Substantial reduction in time spent by lecturers in preparing assignments Customized versions available for some textbooks Cheating Cost

17 National University of Ireland, Galway17 Other issues No room for open-ended answers Scope to reduce number of tutorials and/or to change the nature of these

18 National University of Ireland, Galway18 A Message from the Creator of Aplia Im not surprised that one of the technologically most innovative countries of the world has students who respond well to technologically innovative instructors and materials! Paul Romer, Professor of Economics, Stanford Business School and Creator of Aplia

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