TEACHERS HELPING TEACHERS:

moving economics classes online

— in a hurry.

Student Engagement

Tech Tips

Delivering Lectures Online

Feedback & Assessments

The coronavirus has caused many schools to transition to remote classes. 
We’ve created a community where economics instructors help each other tackle this surprise transition, including:

  • Deciding the best way to deliver content virtually.
  • How to assess your students.
  • Keeping your class engaged.
Join the facebook group

INFO FROM THE COMMUNITY

Here is the most relevant information we’ve gathered from our 900+ community of economics instructors.  
Please let us know what we’re missing! 
This page will be updated daily with new information.

You have two options:

  1. Asynchronous delivery
  2. Synchronous delivery (e.g. “live classes”)

1. Asynchronous Delivery

Libraries of Video Content

Recording Your Own Videos

There is a variety of software you can use to create videos (fb thread): 

  • Powerpoint. The downside is you won’t be seen. See here for more tech guidance. See here for Alex Tabarrok’s advice on creating powerpoint videos

  • Zoom. This allows you to record a mix of you on-screen and screen sharing visuals. It’s free for up to 40 minute recordings (limit is being lifted for all K-12 schools—you have to send a request). Other options are Camtasia, Kaltura, and ScreenFlow (Mac only). 

  • Phone/Tablet Recording: You can do it on a phone or tablet using software like Explain Everything (bring slides in by exporting as a PDF or using Keynote with iCloud) or Screencast-O-Matic (see here for Tyler Cowen’s tips on creating videos on an iPad). (Thanks to Solina LindahlPedro LorenzoDon Carlisle, and Tamra Carl.)

  • How to create Khan Academy style videos—AKA a “whiteboard screencast”—in which you use a drawing tablet while narrating your lesson.

Here are some pedagogical tips from Stanford:

  • Keep videos short and lively. It is often harder to focus on a video than on a person! Check out some tips for creating lively short online videos from online educator Karen Costa.

  • Test your microphone to make sure that you have good sound quality. Consider using a headset with an external microphone to capture better audio.

  • Consider ADA compliance. Automatic closed-captioning is not perfect. Speak clearly and not too quickly to make the content as accurate as possible. If using a tool other than Zoom for recording your lecture, consider uploading your videos to YouTube to take advantage of their automatic (though not perfect) closed-captioning. 

  • Integrate interaction with the lecture material. You might consider setting up a Canvas discussion board with some specific questions, using a quiz, or setting up a chat session for a text-based live discussion. 


"Teaching Effectively During Times of Disruption, for SIS and PWR" is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA by Stanford.

Principles of Economics


More Advanced Economics


AP Economics


A Level and IB Economics


Non-AP K-12 Economics


Non-English Economics


Fun Stuff


(thanks to Daniel Kuester, Pedro Lorenzo, Dawn Rimmer, Tanja Hayes, Don Carlisle)


2. Synchronous Delivery

  • Zoom is a great tool to deliver “live” sessions with your students.

  • For large classes, see the following recommendations from Jadrian Wooten at Penn State:

  • Some of you may be defaulting to Zoom meetings, but if you want a less collaborative space (especially for large classes), you may want to consider a webinar instead of a meeting. Here's a quick comparison of the differences.
  • You can still have Q&A, but students would "raise their hand" to talk to you and you can answer it live or type it. The benefit here is the default is people are muted and not sharing screens. 

Alice Temnick shares how she runs her online class:

  • She mutes all the students to avoid cacophony. 

  • She asks all students to type “hello” into the group chat feature to confirm that they can hear as well as see each other on the screen. 

  • The 60 min class is divided as follows: 
    • 10 mins: Interactive presentation: She shares her screen with presentation slides and calls on random students who “unmute” themselves to answer.
    • 10 mins: Activity: Problems to solve, short answers to write, or brief research to gather. During this time, students can ask questions in the public chat.
    • (Repeat x3)

Not sure whether to do synchronous vs. asynchronous? You can just ask your students, as did Linda Shumaker Ghent:

Today, for my last face-to-face class with my students (at least for the foreseeable future) I asked what THEY would prefer. It turns out that they want to meet online together. They want the structure. At the end we decided we would do a hybrid with at least one class period per week done in Zoom. I will be working on a schedule over the two weeks I have to get everything set up. 

Check out this thread on Facebook

Check out our online lectures topic in our Facebook Group to discuss your questions or issues with an amazing group of econ educators. Together we can figure this stuff out! 

Let us know if we’re missing anything on this page.

Join the facebook group

Administering Exams

There has been a lot of discussion on this topic (see Facebook thread):

  • I would highly recommend that you allow students to use books and notes on any assessments. This puts all students on a level playing field and doesn't punish the rule followers. You can accommodate for this by having a timed exam. Many of my students who don't prepare still fail my 60 min 40 question exam because they only have time to look up a few answers. Obviously failing students isn't the goal. I do want to be able to assess learning not research skills and this is where I feel I have found a reasonable compromise. Kaycee Chandler Washington 

  • Randomize questions using a large pool of multiple choice questions (prevents peer to peer cheating).

  • ProctorU was recommended.

  • A couple suggested you can lock down the student’s browser so that they can’t search the web.  D2L and Google Forms (on Chromebooks) were mentioned as having this feature. 

  • Your LMS probably offers very detailed logs that you don't look at most of the time, but they can very helpful when policing cheating. If you see a student who normally logs in from a Comcast cable connection in your state suddenly log in from a Chinese IP address, well, they probably didn't just fly there… Rob Szarka

  • Simran Kahai recommends Top Hat for open-book digital exams: “They can't cheat at all with it.” Top Hat is making its platform free of charge in response to COVID-19.

  • Canvas quizzes have lots of security features: They are timed and show just one question at a time (which can also be shuffled).

Practice Material and Assessments

  • Bill Goffe from Penn State recommends this guide on online assessments

  • There are tools that allow you to insert questions directly into YouTube videos. EdPuzzle is one of the more popular ones; you can also use q’s shared from other teachers in the EdPuzzle community. EdPuzzle allows you to set up a class code so you can track the performance of your students.  

  • If you have calls with students and need to explain things, this is a great free whiteboard option. Create your free account, and send the link to your student. Then you can talk on the phone and show them stuff on the whiteboard. Marie Truesdell Reymore (fb thread)

  • Your LMS or digital textbook likely also has support for practice materials and quizzes. Canvas instructions.

  • Kalina Staub recommends Gradescope to grade assignments.

  • For larger projects, Beatriz A. Maldonado-Bird recommends Google Docs: [It] allows students to work in one file together and they are able to chat on the platform as well. If you want to “supervise” you can set up each google doc, invite the group of students to that doc, and monitor their progress and individual contributions.  

  • Other tips? Questions? Go to the Facebook group or email us


Canvas

  • How to set up online discussions (fb thread):

    • I use Packback in my courses already (and they're giving away free access for the semester). I have them post questions about assigned readings for the week. The nice part about Packback is that it uses AI to score the posts for you, so you don't have to actually grade them.—Jadrian Wooten 

    • Alternatively, you could use a free blog to post discussion topics and have students comment in response. Wordpress is a popular option. 

  • Consider using Slack to chat with your students. You can chat 1-1, with the whole class, or setup smaller group discussions. It’s free. 

  • Virtual “office hours” can be done via Slack, Google Hangout, Skype, etc. Tools like Calendly can help you with online scheduling.

    • BbCollaborate application: We can use this platform for live lectures, office hours, mentoring meetings etc. It's very easy to use and is already within the LMS so no added cost. I test ran it with students today during class just to show them what may be coming if we shut down and they loved it!Grace Ukoli Onodipe

  • Discussion boards are typically provided as part of your LMS. Record videos to either guide/encourage students or to deliver personalized feedback. 

  • The Chronicle of Higher Education has 10 tips for running an online class

Join the facebook group

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If you decide to allow your students to watch lecture content on their schedule, you can either use the available online libraries of video content or create your own.

We’d recommend a combination of the two. Record one video per week to act as a “guide” for your students and keep them connected (see below for how). Then leverage online libraries to deliver the “meat” of the lectures.

Help me embed videos in my LMS:   Canvas  |  Blackboard  |  Schoology  |  Brightspace

Here is the most relevant information we’ve gathered from our 900+ community of economics instructors.  Please let us know what we’re missing! 

This page will be updated daily with new information.

INFO FROM THE COMMUNITY

TEACHERS 

HELPING TEACHERS:

moving economics classes online

— in a hurry.

Join the facebook group

The coronavirus has caused many schools to transition to remote classes. 
We’ve created a community where economics instructors help each other tackle this surprise transition, including:

  • Deciding the best way to deliver content virtually.
  • How to assess your students.
  • Keeping your class engaged.

Delivering Lectures Online

You have two options:

  1. Asynchronous delivery
  2. Synchronous delivery (e.g. “live classes”)

1. Asynchronous Delivery

If you decide to allow your students to watch lecture content on their schedule, you can either use the available online libraries of video content or create your own.

We’d recommend a combination of the two. Record one video per week to act as a “guide” for your students and keep them connected (see below for how). Then leverage online libraries to deliver the “meat” of the lectures.

Libraries of Video Content

Principles of Economics

More Advanced Economics

AP Economics

A Level and IB Economics

Non-English Economics

Fun Stuff

(thanks to Daniel Kuester, Pedro Lorenzo, Dawn Rimmer, Tanja Hayes, Don Carlisle)

Recording Your Own Videos

There is a variety of software you can use to create videos (fb thread): 

  • Powerpoint. The downside is you won’t be seen. See here for more tech guidance. See here for Alex Tabarrok’s advice on creating powerpoint videos

  • Zoom. This allows you to record a mix of you on-screen and screen sharing visuals. It’s free for up to 40 minute recordings (limit is being lifted for all K-12 schools—you have to send a request). Other options are Camtasia, Kaltura, and ScreenFlow (Mac only). 

  • Phone/Tablet Recording: You can do it on a phone or tablet using software like Explain Everything (bring slides in by exporting as a PDF or using Keynote with iCloud) or Screencast-O-Matic (see here for Tyler Cowen’s tips on creating videos on an iPad). (Thanks to Solina LindahlPedro LorenzoDon Carlisle, and Tamra Carl.)

  • How to create Khan Academy style videos—AKA a “whiteboard screencast”—in which you use a drawing tablet while narrating your lesson.


2. Synchronous Delivery

  • Zoom is a great tool to deliver “live” sessions with your students.

  • For large classes, see the following recommendations from Jadrian Wooten at Penn State:

  • Some of you may be defaulting to Zoom meetings, but if you want a less collaborative space (especially for large classes), you may want to consider a webinar instead of a meeting. Here's a quick comparison of the differences.

  • You can still have Q&A, but students would "raise their hand" to talk to you and you can answer it live or type it. The benefit here is the default is people are muted and not sharing screens. 
  • Alice Temnick shares how she runs her online class:

    • She mutes all the students to avoid cacophony. 

    • She asks all students to type “hello” into the group chat feature to confirm that they can hear as well as see each other on the screen. 

    • The 60 min class is divided as follows: 
      • 10 mins: Interactive presentation: She shares her screen with presentation slides and calls on random students who “unmute” themselves to answer.
      • 10 mins: Activity: Problems to solve, short answers to write, or brief research to gather. During this time, students can ask questions in the public chat.
      • (Repeat x3)

Not sure whether to do synchronous vs. asynchronous? You can just ask your students, as did Linda Shumaker Ghent:

Today, for my last face-to-face class with my students (at least for the foreseeable future) I asked what THEY would prefer. It turns out that they want to meet online together. They want the structure. At the end we decided we would do a hybrid with at least one class period per week done in Zoom. I will be working on a schedule over the two weeks I have to get everything set up. 

Check out this thread on Facebook


Here are some pedagogical tips from Stanford:

  • Keep videos short and lively. It is often harder to focus on a video than on a person! Check out some tips for creating lively short online videos from online educator Karen Costa.

  • Test your microphone to make sure that you have good sound quality. Consider using a headset with an external microphone to capture better audio.

  • Consider ADA compliance. Automatic closed-captioning is not perfect. Speak clearly and not too quickly to make the content as accurate as possible. If using a tool other than Zoom for recording your lecture, consider uploading your videos to YouTube to take advantage of their automatic (though not perfect) closed-captioning. 

  • Integrate interaction with the lecture material. You might consider setting up a Canvas discussion board with some specific questions, using a quiz, or setting up a chat session for a text-based live discussion.



"Teaching Effectively During Times of Disruption, for SIS and PWR" is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA by Stanford.

Help me embed videos in my LMS: Canvas  |  Blackboard  | SchoologyBrightspace

Join the facebook group

Check out our online lectures topic in our Facebook Group to discuss your questions or issues with an amazing group of econ educators. Together we can figure this stuff out! 

Let us know if we’re missing anything on this page. 

Feedback & Assessments

Administering Exams

There has been a lot of discussion on this topic (see Facebook thread):

  • I would highly recommend that you allow students to use books and notes on any assessments. This puts all students on a level playing field and doesn't punish the rule followers. You can accommodate for this by having a timed exam. Many of my students who don't prepare still fail my 60 min 40 question exam because they only have time to look up a few answers. Obviously failing students isn't the goal. I do want to be able to assess learning not research skills and this is where I feel I have found a reasonable compromise. 
    Kaycee Chandler Washington 

  • Randomize questions using a large pool of multiple choice questions (prevents peer to peer cheating).

  • ProctorU was recommended.

  • A couple suggested you can lock down the student’s browser so that they can’t search the web.  D2L and Google Forms (on Chromebooks) were mentioned as having this feature. 

  • Your LMS probably offers very detailed logs that you don't look at most of the time, but they can very helpful when policing cheating. If you see a student who normally logs in from a Comcast cable connection in your state suddenly log in from a Chinese IP address, well, they probably didn't just fly there… 
    Rob Szarka

  • Simran Kahai recommends Top Hat for open-book digital exams: “They can't cheat at all with it.” Top Hat is making its platform free of charge in response to COVID-19.

  • Canvas quizzes have lots of security features: They are timed and show just one question at a time (which can also be shuffled).

Practice Material and Assessments

  • Bill Goffe from Penn State recommends this guide on online assessments

  • There are tools that allow you to insert questions directly into YouTube videos. EdPuzzle is one of the more popular ones; you can also use q’s shared from other teachers in the EdPuzzle community. EdPuzzle allows you to set up a class code so you can track the performance of your students.  

  • If you have calls with students and need to explain things, this is a great free whiteboard option. Create your free account, and send the link to your student. Then you can talk on the phone and show them stuff on the whiteboard. Marie Truesdell Reymore (fb thread)

  • Your LMS or digital textbook likely also has support for practice materials and quizzes. Canvas instructions.

  • Kalina Staub recommends Gradescope to grade assignments.

  • For larger projects, Beatriz A. Maldonado-Bird recommends Google Docs: [It] allows students to work in one file together and they are able to chat on the platform as well. If you want to “supervise” you can set up each google doc, invite the group of students to that doc, and monitor their progress and individual contributions.  

  • Other tips? Questions? Go to the Facebook group or email us

Tech Tips

Canvas

Student Engagement

Join the facebook group
  • How to setup online discussions (fb thread):

    • I use Packback in my courses already (and they're giving away free access for the semester). I have them post questions about assigned readings for the week. The nice part about Packback is that it uses AI to score the posts for you, so you don't have to actually grade them.
      —Jadrian Wooten 

    • Alternatively, you could use a free blog to post discussion topics and have students comment in response. Wordpress is a popular option. 

  • Consider using Slack to chat with your students. You can chat 1-1, with the whole class, or setup smaller group discussions. It’s free. 

  • Virtual “office hours” can be done via Slack, Google Hangout, Skype, etc. Tools like Calendly can help you with online scheduling.

    • BbCollaborate application: We can use this platform for live lectures, office hours, mentoring meetings etc. It's very easy to use and is already within the LMS so no added cost. I test ran it with students today during class just to show them what may be coming if we shut down and they loved it! Grace Ukoli Onodipe

  • Discussion boards are typically provided as part of your LMS. Record videos to either guide/encourage students or to deliver personalized feedback. 

  • The Chronicle of Higher Education has 10 tips for running an online class