The curriculum of macroeconomics has been evolving with global economic development. Faced with an expanding curriculum, Dr. David Chow (right), Dr. Fred Ku (centre) and Dr. Andrew Yuen (left), senior lecturers from the Department of Decision Sciences and Managerial Economics, determined to create animated micro- modules to engage students in the fast-paced society exploded with information. ‘Students know that the US will increase the interest rate, but they might not know the whole picture. We envision using multimedia to arouse students’ curiosity in exploring the current affairs and delve into the economic phenomenon,’ said Dr. Ku. In this sense, animated real-life scenarios and graphical elaborations are the catalyst to knowledge acquisition, but not the endpoint per se.
Every topic in the micro-modules was carefully selected. Dr. Yuen said, ‘The aggregate demand–aggregate supply (AD-AS)’ model is often used to explain some macroeconomic events. We chose this topic for students’ pre-lecture preparation due to its applicability and room for discussion.’ In large classes, students are used to responding to questions via the classroom communication system uReply with their mobile devices. ‘Students in my class are divided into 10 groups, with each containing around seven people. The leaders will input their collective wisdom on the system and the real-time answers will be displayed by groups,’ said Dr. Ku. They observed that atmosphere and interaction were thereby encouraged.
The ‘Flipped Classroom with Micro-modules for Macroeconomics in Business’, together with other e-learning projects run by the teachers, is supported by their department and the Micro-Module Courseware Development Grant. From topic selection, script writing and storyboard planning to the actual outcome, the production of the animated videos takes one year to complete. The micro-modules are hosted on the cloud-based KEEP platform, where teachers can create online quizzes and review individual students’ performance from the analytics. Dr. Ku said, ‘The majority of students find the modules interesting. They facilitate class dynamics and enhance understanding.’
‘We’re trying different modes, such as lecture recording, animated videos and simulated gaming, to learn which works better for certain content delivery and teaching objectives. For instance, I’m experimenting on an online game in which students could forecast the trend of the US interest rate by capturing real-life data, doing investment and trading,’ said Dr. Yuen. To the teachers, e-learning is not merely entertainment but a springboard to arouse students’ learning motivation. Authentic and sustainable motivation lies in the pleasure of understanding the theories and their applications in life.
Adapted from the Chinese University Bulletin No.2, 2016