How to increase engagement in first year economics courses

Principles of economics is often taught in large cohorts, with students of mixed ability, including non-specialists. John Sloman, Jon Guest and Dean Garratt explore how to maximise engagement and employability in challenging first year modules.

You’re one student in a class of 500, and economics isn’t even your main degree subject. Perhaps maths isn’t your strong point either. You feel unable to contribute or to get the lecturer’s attention, so you start to skip class. Sound familiar?

Oversubscribed and under attaining

Or maybe you’re the lecturer who has to teach an oversubscribed but underachieving first year course in principles of economics. Timetabling issues mean that you have to teach the same material multiple times per a week, or perhaps you’re delivering online as well as on campus, with distance learners watching the lecture capture from Mumbai, Kuala Lumpur or Lagos.

On top of your teaching, marking and research commitments, your inbox is full of requests for individual attention that come in at all hours from students who expect the quick responses that they have become used to at school or work. Or maybe you’re inundated with issues around getting integrated into university systems, adding to your administrative workload. You can tell from the dwindling numbers or few raised hands in lectures that students aren’t engaging with the material or overall experience.

Tools and resources

For those who identify with these pictures, John Sloman (visiting fellow at the University of Bristol), Jon Guest (senior teaching fellow, Aston Business School) and Dean Garratt (course leader, Nottingham Business School, and senior HEA fellow) will be leading a free workshop to explore how lecturers can provide large cohorts with a more engaging student experience, and integrate professional skills into teaching.

John, Jon and Dean are also the author team behind Economics 10th Edition, which empowers students to learn to think like economists.

Workshop agenda

The workshop will be held at 80 Strand, central London, on 28 February from 10am. The agenda includes:

  • Using case studies and activities effectively to engage learning and encourage critical thinking
  • Using workshops to promote discussion and engagement: best practice
  • Using technology, including Sloman’s Economics News website, to help student engagement: alternative approaches
  • Thinking like an economist, relating economic concepts to recent real events and news stories: includes critical thinking, soft skills and employability.

Book your place

To register free for this event, please contact Richelle Zakrzewski.

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About the author 

Chimaechi Allan is passionate about education for social mobility, and manages content marketing for the higher education division at Pearson.