The Economics Network

Improving economics teaching and learning for over 20 years

Event Report: New Lecturers Workshop, October 2007

In mid-October I took part in a residential two-day workshop at Burwalls, University of Bristol. The event brought together new and aspiring lecturers of economics to engage in dialogue about how we can make teaching of this subject more engaging for our students.

We looked at the teaching of economics in lectures, seminars and small groups. I believe that the organisers made this workshop very engaging for us participants. The workshop was made up of a series of seminars.

The keynote speakers were John Sloman (Economics Network), Dr Rebecca Taylor (Nottingham Business School) and Dr Guglielmo Volpe (London Metropolitan University).

The design of the workshop was logical and coherent. For instance, the information we exchanged regarding "what makes bad teaching" was bunched up on the screen by John Sloman and formed a base for the first seminar "Making your lectures more effective". John encouraged dialogue about the teaching style we use and teaching challenges facing us today. He then gave some pointers for improvement and a guide for creating the perfect class.

I also learned about two very interesting projects: METAL and Threshold Concepts. I now hope to put the METAL project in place at City College Manchester, where I am currently lecturing to help our students who study maths and statistics.

There were symposia sessions on:

  • Elements in module/unit design
  • Classroom experiments and games
  • E-Learning and the use of a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) in economics
  • Seminar and small group teaching

All seminars had a common trend, which appealed to me and the other participants – what works, what next?

I feel that it is vital to collaborate with other economics lecturers in other HE establishments to ensure that the abilities and needs of our students are catered for. There is a need to share resources and the Economics Network offers that.

Moreover, the Economics Network organises workshops, which are aimed at lecturers of economics. This is somewhat rare. Taking part in this workshop enabled me to further develop my inclination towards making my teaching of economics more effective and find out the ways technology can underpin this.