How to…

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, The 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.

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