How to Teach

More Resources

The economics pop culture community is pretty strong. We’re a fairly well-connected group of individuals that share resources on a regular basis. My favorite place to find out what’s going on is the #TeachEcon hashtag through Twitter. You may notice that there are specific clips that are not included on this site. The last thing our community needs is a bunch of “double clips” floating around. You will not find many clips from popular shows that already have their own dedicated site, like The Big Bang Theory, Modern FamilyThe OfficeParks and RecreationSeinfeld, or Shark Tank. If you’re looking for academia-endorsed films, check out this paper by Mateer, O’Roark, and Holder (2016).

Critical Commons

A lot of the clips are hosted on Critical Commons, which is a great resource for faculty looking for a location to host video content. You do not need an account to view or to share video clips from Critical Commons, but you will need an instructor’s account if you want to download the file to your local drive.

Once you start the account registration process, make sure that you are using your university-affiliated accounts so that you can be verified as an educator. Once approved, you should see a “Download” button in the bottom of each video that will allow you to save the file to your computer. This makes embedding into PowerPoint files easier.

Teaching with videos

I lean toward embedding the video file directly into my PowerPoint (instead of embedding a link) for 3 main reasons:

  1. It gives a seamless transition from material to video
  2. I don’t have to worry about if the internet is working that day
  3. Students think I’m really tech-savvy because of it

This does tend to create some very LARGE PowerPoint files, but that was easily handled with an upgrade to a bigger USB thumb drive. I typically use music videos (rather than a playlist on Spotify) that are relevant to the topic before class starts. I try to find videos on YouTube that include the lyrics so students can read along as well.

I break up my traditional 50-minute lecture with about 3-4 clips throughout the class. A typical clip usually doesn’t last longer than 2 minutes with most around 1 minute. After each clip, I follow-up with clicker (Poll Everywhere) questions that tie the video clip back to the lesson we’re covering. I explicitly use references in the clip and tie them directly to economics terminology.

I am not consistent with where I place the video clips in the pace of the lecture. I have used video clips as a preview to the material and have asked students to predict what will happen (long-run outcomes of competition) or why an event happened. I have also used video clips to reinforce concepts/definitions that students struggle understanding (marginal revenue vs marginal profit). I have also used much longer videos (my favorite) and broken the video into 10 parts so that we can discuss game theory as it plays out.

Joseph Calhoun and Dirk Mateer wrote a great chapter in International Handbook on Teaching and Learning Economics on Incorporating media and response systems in the economics classroom. Unfortunately, many of the resources listed in the media section (Movies for Economics and Television for Economics) are no longer updated or no longer exist.

Edit your own videos

Some of the videos on this site are long and you may be wondering how to easily clip down these clips. I use Camtasia because our university has a license for the program. I have also used iMovie with my Mac for the same purposes. Both programs allow you to upload a file and clip relevant pieces that you find useful to your lecture. You can also add transitions before and after so that the clip fades in/out. You can also separate the audio portion of the clip if you need to remove particular words/phrases.

Missing some videos

Videos on this site are hosted by YouTube and Critical Commons and are embedded in the site here. While YouTube videos are linked directly to their site, Critical Commons videos are linked to an mp4 player. If you find a “dead” video coming from YouTube, please contact me and I can upload a new version to be hosted on Critical Commons.

If you are you seeing an error message on some of the videos that report you are not able to see the file, you may need to update to the most recent version of your browser or try connecting to the site in a different browser.

Citing social media posts

The following citations are MLA style, but APA is very similar. It’s a good practice to take a screenshot, copy the URL, and not the date and time you accessed the post.

YouTube (Vimeo, Hulu, etc)
Last Name, First Name of video creator or username of creator. “Title of video.” Title of the hosting website, Day Month Year of publication, URL of video. Accessed Day Month Year video was viewed.

Twitter
Twitter handle (First Name Last Name if known). ‘The entire tweet word-for-word’ Twitter, Day Month Year of tweet, Time of tweet, URL.

Blog Post
Author’s Last Name, First Name or Username if real name not provided. “Title of Blog Post.” Name of Blog, Blog Network/Publisher if given. Day Month Year of blog post, URL. Accessed Day Month Year blog was visited.

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