When you're teaching an economics class, you don't need to rely just on yourself and the materials that you've made. There are tons of resources out there which can help to support your teaching. Here are ten of our favourite tools for teaching economics:
If your university has a CMS like Moodle, you can upload lecture notes, links, and more to a central website from which students can download all the information they need. You can even use it to host online class discussions or to notify students that you're running late or a class is cancelled. This is one of the easiest ways to get your materials online, and your students will be thankful for the convenience.
Statistics is an intimidating topic for many students and one which is often perceived as being dull. But this website from Professor Andy Field is full of funny, engaging information and practical advice on how to use statistics correctly in an academic setting. If you have some non-econometrics students in your class who are struggling with stats, then this site can provide plain-language teaching which is fun and engaging.
Mendeley is a site which can be used for both reference management and social networking. For students, the reference management function will be most helpful, allowing them to build reference lists without all the tedious formatting that used to be required. Show this site to students who are tired of fiddly referencing procedure to make their lives easier.
A website and app for keeping up to date with the latest news in global finance, including stock prices. Students can investigate the stock prices to see how what you are teaching them in the classroom plays out in practice.
5. Khan Academy
An enormous resource of online teaching materials which covers economics, finance, mathematics, and much more. If you have a student who is looking for a new challenge, or one who is struggling with the basics and needs some help finding a place to start, then Khan Academy will have materials to assist.
There is a multitude of programs available for statistical analysis, each of which has their own advantages and disadvantages. However, it might be worth using SPSS to introduce your students to statistical software. While it is not the most comprehensive program available, SPSS is relatively easy for a beginner to use and has a large online support community. This makes it an unintimidating entry for students getting into statistical analysis.
7. iTunes U
This Apple app has video and audio files of educational material from a huge range of subjects, including economics. Some universities will put entire courses online, with full videos of lectures. This makes it an invaluable support app for students. Encourage them to investigate the courses which are available in economics to broaden their knowledge.
The Very Short Introduction books are aimed at a general audience, but they can also provide a helpful starting point for new students who are struggling to orient themselves in a complex field. The book is brief, written in a conversational tone, and easy to chew through, making it an excellent introductory text for your new students.
This podcast, a spin-off from the enormously popular eponymous book, covers exciting and news-worthy issues in economics, with a fun and upbeat approach. It is more casual than academic but is helpful in showing how the abstract issues discussed in economics can be seen in the real world. It makes for excellent listening on the way to or from economics classes, so encourage your students to download a few episodes and give them a listen.
A general interest magazine with a focus on economics, The Economist is notable for the high quality of its writing and its longer, in-depth articles. For students who are interested in the crossover between economics and politics, international relations, or sociology, then this magazine will be full of interesting and relevant material.
For more advice for economists, see these articles: