Teaching the economic way of thinking : a new approach to teaching introductory economics in a business degree

Dulleck, Uwe & Tang, Tommy (2009) Teaching the economic way of thinking : a new approach to teaching introductory economics in a business degree. In Proceedings of ATEC2009 14th Annual Australasian Teaching Economics Conference, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, pp. 61-71.

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In teaching introductory economics there has been a tendency to put a lot of emphasis on imparting abstract models and technical skills to students (Stilwell, 2005; Voss, Blais, Greens, & Ahwesh, 1986). This model building approach has the merit of preparing the grounding for students 10 pursue further studies in economics. However, in a business degree with only a small proportion of students majoring in economics, such an approach tend to alienate the majority of students transiting from high school in to university. Surveys in Europe and Australia found that students complained about the lack of relevance of economics courses to the real world and the over-reliance of abstract mathematical modelling (Kirman, 2001; Lewis and Norris, 1997; Siegfried & Round, 2000).

BSB112 Economics 1 is one of the eight faculty core units in the Faculty of Business at QUT, with over 1000 students in each semester. In semester I 2008, a new approach to teaching this unit was designed aiming to achieve three inter-related objectives: (1) to provide business students with a first insight into economic thinking and language, (2) to integrate economic analysis with current Australian social, environmental and political issues, and (3) to cater for students with a wide range of academic needs. Strategies used to achieve these objectives included writing up a new text which departs from traditional economics textbooks in important ways, integrating students' cultures in teaching and learning activities, and devising a new assessment format to encourage development of research skills and applications rather than reproduction of factual knowledge. This paper will document the strategies used in this teaching innovation, present quantitative and qualitative evidence to evaluate this new approach and suggest ways of further improvement.

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ID Code: 32442
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Teaching economics, Teaching methods, Teaching innovations, HERN
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ECONOMICS (140000) > APPLIED ECONOMICS (140200) > Economics of Education (140204)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Current > Schools > School of Economics & Finance
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 [please consult the authors]
Deposited On: 03 Jun 2010 04:09
Last Modified: 27 Oct 2014 04:59

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