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Quantitative methods teaching: a collaborative learning approach - Sarah Keast, Fangya Xu and Panagiotis Tziogkidis (Plymouth University)
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Quantitative methods teaching: a collaborative learning approach - Sarah Keast, Fangya Xu and Panagiotis Tziogkidis (Plymouth University)


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This is a draft of the presentation that will be given at the HEA Social Sciences annual conference - Teaching forward: the future of the Social Sciences. …

This is a draft of the presentation that will be given at the HEA Social Sciences annual conference - Teaching forward: the future of the Social Sciences.
For further details of the conference:
Bookings open until 14 May 2014 or

This paper explores the development of a programme of learning to enable first year undergraduate
students to develop their quantitative methods knowledge and skills. The plan is to dispense with
traditional lectures, replacing them with discussion sessions which promote collective learning. This will be
facilitated through a set of customised video lectures created using the TEDEd website. The course will
combine an innovative blend of teaching and assessment approaches including learning through teaching,
peer assessment, and viva voce with the aim of engendering a culture of collaborative learning. This paper
reflects upon the development and implementation of this study programme.

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  • ETL: enhanced teaching and learning project, funded by ESRC… and the question is: can we take into account all these concepts in a unified framework?
  • Whitman and Fife (1988): near peers and co-peersGoldschmid and Goldschmid (1976): it is a good review of the approaches used up to then. InGoldschmid (1970) an experiment is performed among various types of peer learning approaches and the learning cell is the most effectiveBoud et al. (2001): is a book on peer learning in higher education with a plethora of referencesChallenges: students might be frustrated as they perceive it less work for lecturer, might foster free-rider behaviour, good students might feel they are not learning if paired with less engaged students, ASSESSMENT has to have a collaborative style (avoid self assessment for example)
  • To promote interpersonal (soft, transferrable) skills via Assessment and feedback:Peer assessment and feedback- peers sometimes are better at spotting the root of the problems and we could utilize consciousness caused by competition in learningOnline self-assessment and feedback-independent and autonomous learning, self managementViva-individual performance, self managementReport and presentation- teamwork and collaboration, could be a project on data analysis or on the best way to teach a difficult concept/theory
  • If we have time to demonstrate…Quantitative skills: simultaneous equationsOnline videos for independent learningEconomics skills: equilibrium concept and deviations from equilibriumVideos with talks that can be used for discussionSet 2 problems that students prepare and teach to each otherOnline MPQs: not timed and allow collaboration
  • Transcript

    • 1. Dr Sarah Keast, Dr Fangya Xu, Panagiotis Tziogkidis 1
    • 2.  Background  Motivation  The Literature  The Plan  Resources  An example 2
    • 3.  Economics Group ◦ Faculty of Business  Students ◦ Average cohort 110 ◦ No post 16 mathematics qualification required  Programmes ◦ BSc Economics (7 separate programmes in total) ◦ Core second year Econometrics and final year electives in mathematical economics and economic modelling  Module ◦ Core for all Economics programmes ◦ 20 credits ◦ Mathematical and statistical modelling 3
    • 4.  Traditional lecture/tutorial format not effective for teaching QM  Lack of engagement amongst some students  Increased size of cohort  More efficient use of staff resources  Perceived decline in quantitative skills of in- coming students 4
    • 5.  Economics is less popular among disciplines in the NSS, especially with respect to assessment and feedback  Recent trends in teaching and learning include: ◦ Peer learning ◦ Problem based approaches ◦ Use of online resources to facilitate independent reading 5
    • 6.  ETL project in economics: the traditional lecture-tutorial mode seems to fall apart  Constructive alignment: Biggs (1996) ◦ … but also align with students: Reimann (2004)  Threshold concepts for teaching QM: Meyer and Land (2003)  Problem based approaches and “learning by doing”: Kolb (1984), Barnett (2009) ◦ … particularly good for QM (Aliaga et al., 2012) 6
    • 7. 20 % 10 % 5% 30 % 50 % 75 % 90 % Lecture Reading Audio Visual Demonstration Group Discussion Practice Teaching others Retention rate 7 Source: National Training Laboratories, Bethel, Maine
    • 8.  “To teach is to learn twice” - Whitman and Fife (1988)  The “learning cell”: Goldschmid (1970)  Many benefits but many challenges: Boud et al. (2001), Topping (2005)  Assessment needs to be well-thought: Boud et al. (1999)  Recent examples: Herrmann (2013) 8
    • 9.  Learning opportunities ◦ Resource based learning: Video „lectures‟ ◦ Learning through teaching ◦ Experiential learning  Assessment and feedback ◦ Peer assessment and critique ◦ Online self-assessment with immediate automatic feedback ◦ Mini viva assessed by academic staff with specific feedback ◦ Consultancy style report and presentation with authentic feedback 9
    • 10. A series of resource booklets consisting of the following material: ◦ Background documents with key concepts and intended learning outcomes ◦ TED-Ed: build an online lesson using TED-Ed and YouTube resources economics ◦ Mathematical for Economics: enhancing Teaching and Learning (METAL) ◦ Questionmark-Perception (QMP) and MyMathLab are used for self-assessment/formal assessment 10
    • 11. SP&state=update Share the lesson with students and ask them to Watch-Think-Dig deeper-Discuss-And Finally 11
    • 12.  Teaching QM in economics is challenging  We propose a blend of collaborative learning and resources  Obvious benefits but pitfalls that must be avoided 12