2014 TWTA Winner John Tyler

Instructor: Professor John Tyler
Course: EDUC 2350 Economics of Education

Description: Introduces students to the main economic theories and related applied work that inform education policy analysis. In so doing, the course combines economic theory, econometric studies, and education and institutional literature in an examination of current issues in U.S. education, particularly those issues that are most relevant to urban education. The course begins with examinations of key concepts and theories from microeconomics, labor economics, and public economics that are most relevant for studying questions in education. After laying this theoretical foundation the course then examines how these theories can illuminate and aid policy analysis around key topics in U.S. education.

What students said about the course:

Having access to the online videos that explained some of the more difficult concepts of the course (Khan-like) was excellent, especially as I am studying for the exam now. I also appreciated that if someone was going to be absent, he videotaped the lecture and class discussion so that the missing student could catch up.

I think the video element also helped him make sure that the class was truly an “Economics of Education” course rather than an introduction to economics, though some members of my one year program were new to the subject.

Prof. Tyler’s comments:

My most innovative use of technology in my EDUC 2350 course has been the production of a series of Khan Academy-like video tutorials that my students can view at will and on their own. EDUC 2350-Economics of Education II is a core course in the Urban Education Policy masters program. As such there is wide variation in the economics backgrounds of the students in that course. Some students need some instruction in some very basic economic concepts, while for other students this would be a waste of time – a conundrum I faced each year until I got the idea of the video tutorials. In these tutorials I take the basic economic concepts that I used to teach in class and on the board and now teach them through the tutorials. This approach has three advantages. First, it allows me to focus in-class discussions and lectures on the topical content we are studying that week, assuming that all students have the necessary economic and statistical concepts in hand, either because they have the economics background or because they availed themselves of the tutorial videos. Second, I hear from students that they prefer learning the economic material this way as they can do it at their own pace, they can rerun parts of the tutorial that weren’t clear the first time or needed reinforcing, and they can engage unfamiliar material on their own terms as opposed to being reticent to ask questions in class that might expose their level of understanding relative to classmates who might be more advanced in a particular area. Third, it allows for much more class time in which the students are exposed to whatever value-added I bring to the topic via my experience and expertise, as opposed to class time that would otherwise be used to present important, but rather basic content.