The CoAT Program has been an instrumental part of my development so far as I strive to become a more well-rounded teacher. I found the program to help me become self-aware of my teaching style and become more goal oriented in improving as a teacher. By attending focused workshops, I have been able to monitor my development in different areas as a teacher. So far, I have seen improvement in my ability to interact with students, improve time management both within the classroom and across a semester, and create assignments that better evaluate student’s understanding of material. I still aim to improve in these areas as well as others and this section helps me in this process.
I prefer to have my future plans for development to be written down in a public domain to hold myself accountable. This helps me understand where my weaknesses are as a teacher and motivates me to improve upon them. I am also able to look at subject areas that I would like to master so that I can potentially teach others in these areas.
Spatial Methods with R
A short course directed towards graduate students who want to use R in order to analyze spatial data, display maps, and better understand Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools. I believe attending a short course in Spatial Econometrics at West Virginia University would help to augment my current knowledge of R and Spatial Statistics that I have learned at NC State.
Economics of Sports
A 300 level course in Sports Economics that is not as rigorous as the currently developed EC 495 (Sports Economics). My preferred book is Sports Economics by Rodney Fort and I plan to closely follow Professor Fort’s notes he provides. This could also double as an Intermediate Microeconomics course provided I supplement the material with calculus.
EC 202 (Principles of Macroeconomics)
Transfer current handwritten notes into electronic format. In doing this, I can more easily develop skeleton notes for class and powerpoint slides. These are critical if I want to scale up my class size from my current range (40 to 70 students) to larger auditorium classes (100+ students).
EC 205 (Fundamentals of Economics)
Expand upon current lab notes to make notes to teach an independent section. Since this course is a combination of Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, I should focus on expanding the Microeconomics section since I currently have notes covering an entire course in Macroeconomics.
EC 351 Intro to Econometrics
After teaching two sections of this course, I found that the distribution of students in the course was bimodal and not dependent on their previous instructor. One portion of the class struggled with basic statistical concepts and lagged woefully behind others even with a lengthy review of the pre-requisite statistics courses for the course. The other portion entered the class with a significant amount of statistical knowledge and were bored/disinterested at the review of statistics at the beginning of the course. The second group then had a portion of students who took the course too lightly, thinking it was a repeat of previous courses, and they struggled in the later sections of the course. This mixture of students makes it difficult to correctly pace the course. I believe a solution to this issue is to split this course in two:
- One course which shifts focus away from statistical theory towards a data-driven approach. This would entail forcing students to learn a statistical programming language, such as R, in order to gather, clean, explore, and analyze data. The main assessment of the course would be for the students to create a report of an economic phenomenon which would be broken down into smaller, more manageable portions. This would be a more hands-on approach with limited formal (written) exams. This diverges from traditional approaches to teaching econometrics, although it has the advantage of given students the opportunity of having a piece of work to demonstrate to future employers their abilities to perform quantitative analysis. A great template for this is Stat 545 by Jenny Bryan at University of British Columbia
- A second course would severely limit the amount of time spent reviewing pre-requisite material and dive right into econometric theory and application. This would involve giving students a more rigorous lecture setting which would focus on their understanding of the properties of estimators and diving into non-linear, time series, and panel estimators. This course would focus on presenting an economic theory, mathematizing it, and selecting the correct theoretical estimator to apply. This course would be geared towards upper-level students as a way to give them a feel for potential graduate studies in economics or statistics.
The more I think on this, the more I believe that the current set-up of the EC 351 course is out-dated and a data-driven approach is more appropriate. Further, if it is feasible and appropriate, a standardized test on introductory level statistics would be a helpful tool in weeding out students that are ill-prepared for the course.
EC 495 (Sports Economics)
Reviewing student comments and evaluating their performance, some things are very clear:
- Reading list needs to be revised and refocused to only cover crucial topics,
- Level of detail needs to be toned down in covering articles,
- Multiple exams are needed in this course, and
- Research paper needs to be 3 or 4 smaller assignments that can be combined at the end of the course to make a research paper.
I will need to change my syllabus and outline for the course, but I need to find a balance for teaching an upper level course and this can be a template for future courses.
General Teaching Improvement
I have avoided Powerpoint so far as a way to ensure I am not a lazy teacher and students can observe the effort I put forth. I need to rethink this and possibly find a way that I can augment Powerpoint with using the board for necessary exercises in class.
Improve communication with students about what my expectations are in class and in assessment. This will involve taking a step back and recognizing all of the concepts that I focus on in class, making these known to students, and testing on this. I do not want to teach to the test, so this method will help the test reflect what I teach.
Continue to work on getting classes to participate in discussing the material and being clear about what they do and do not understand.