Economics Network Departmental Workshop Programme 2010/11

The Economics Network is pleased to announce its Departmental Workshop Programme, covering the period November 2010 to June 2011. There is no charge for these workshops, but we ask that you allow lecturers from other universities to attend (unless there are issues of confidentiality). The Network is offering 10 such workshops which will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.


Over the past 10 years the Economics Network has run a comprehensive range of workshops to support departments and academics in exploring and implementing new methods of teaching and assessment. Some comments from workshops:

“In 2005 I invited the Economics Network to deliver a workshop highlighting the benefits of using VLEs in teaching economics… This was enormously successful … Student feedback has been uniformly positive ... This sort of 'buy in' from academics is, in my view, only possible when training is delivered by respected, known experts in the discipline.”

“We have had two actual workshops run by the Network… – one on assessment and one on games for Economics. Both proved very useful in providing information but also as a spur to start discussions on assessment methods (and teaching methods) within the Department.”

“Well done, professional as always.”

“Thank you for a really useful and stimulating session.”

Workshop topics

The Economics Network Departmental Workshop Programme 2010/11 has been designed to support learning, teaching and assessment in economics. Workshop topics can be focused on any teaching and assessment aspect appropriate to your department. A workshop could, for example, be linked to NSS results or Economics Network student survey results. Previous workshops subjects have ranged from assessment, course design, recruitment and retention to problem-based learning and using games and experiments in teaching. Previous workshop topics can be found below.

To request a workshop please fill in our online form.

If you are particularly interested in dealing with issues arising from the National Student Survey, consider also our Student Focus Group Scheme.

Past topics

Active learning in lectures

Suggestions for improving student learning outcomes from lectures and an opportunity to share ideas about presentation, structuring and student engagement. (Top)

Active learning in seminars and other small groups

An examination of different types of seminar structure and their relation to student learning. Alternative types of tasks are considered and their appropriateness in meeting various learning objectives. (Top)

Creative uses of assessment

An opportunity to consider different types of assessment, both summative and formative conducted in various environments (in-class, home, virtual, exam room, etc.). (Top)

Assessment without drowning

Similar to the above, but with a particular emphasis on saving lecturers' time, given the increasing pressures that most lecturers are facing. (Top)

Uses of group work in Economics

An opportunity to consider various ways in which group work can be used in Economics, for learning, for producing seminar and Web-based presentations and for assessment. The workshop will look at ways in which group work can be used to meet specific learning objectives and also examine the resource implications for staff. (Top)

Problem-based learning in Economics

An examination of ways in which this more student-centered approach to learning, which is popular in medicine, law, social work and engineering, can be used in Economics. Suggestions will be made about how it can be introduced in small steps, given the lack of time for lecturers to make radical changes. (Top)

Introduction to the use of virtual learning environments

An exploration of the features of a VLE, such as Blackboard or WebCT, and how it can be used in teaching and learning in Economics. There is also a hands-on version of this workshop to be conducted in a computer lab. (Top)

Using the features of a VLE

This workshop is for people familiar with a VLE, such as Blackboard and Web CT, and explores some of the pedagogical possibilities, such as assessment, discussion boards and virtual seminars, in the context of Economics. (Top)

Developing students' key skills

An exploration of the types of key skills that can be developed by students of Economics and the ways in which such skills can be incorporated into the curriculum and can be addressed in classes, private study and assessment. (Top)

Using the Web in teaching and learning in Economics

This workshop can be conducted in a computer lab or in a regular classroom. It gives participants an opportunity to explore ways in which the Web can be used by students and lecturers of Economics, not only as a source for information, but as a creative means of encouraging active learning. (Top)

Role playing, games and simulations in Economics

An examination of ways in which role playing, games and simulations can be used in various teaching/learning environments in Economics courses. Participants will have the opportunity to look at some specific examples. (Top)

Effective course design (at programme and module/course unit level)

This workshop considers ways in which the curriculum, teaching/learning methods and assessment in Economics can be more closely related to the meeting of specified learning objectives. (Top)

Addressing issues of recruitment and retention

In the context of the drive to meet the 50% participation target by 2010, this workshop gives participants an opportunity to consider means of widening participation and the implications for progression. Various strategies will be considered for improving retention rates, including curriculum, teaching and assessment strategies. (Top)

The use of personal development plans (PDP)

An exploration of ways in which the use of PDPs can be used to encourage more reflective practice by students of Economics. Participants will consider the requirements of lecturers and support staff to make the system work effectively. (Top)

Evidence-based evaluation of teaching/learning innovations

There have been numerous innovations that Economics lecturers have introduced in the UK and other countries to improve the learning outcomes of students. But how effective are they and what are the resource implications of adopting them? This workshop gives participants an opportunity to explore some of these innovations and to share their own experience of innovating. (Top)

Using Threshold Concepts to plan teaching and assessment in economics

Threshold concepts are the powerful integrating ideas that shape thinking in any discipline. Whilst they are inaccessible to new students of economics they determine the form and structure of all the ideas they are introduced to and it is only as students start to become aware of the big ideas that lurk behind the smaller ideas that they start to really think like economists. This presents some big problems for teaching and learning and many students respond to the problem by trying to remember ways of presenting economic ideas without really understanding what they are about.This workshop introduces threshold concepts and approaches and resources that can be used to help develop them in teaching and assessment. (Top)