I’m working on the first day email to students in my 2000 level in-person environmental econ class

Class starts on Tuesday (1/17) and the email should go out on Friday or Monday. 

Welcome to ECO 2620!

This course is about environmental (air and water quality) and natural (oil, fish) resources. It is an economics course so the focus is on the efficient allocation of these resources. Efficiency is when the benefits minus the costs are maximized (much more on this later).

This semester I am teaching two sections of ECO 2620:

Section 101 is asynchronous online
Section 102 is in-person

This class meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3:30 to 4:45 where I’ll lecture using a mix of Powerpoint slides (yawn!) and the chalkboard along with some classroom activities (with inspiration from this book).

Last semester I taught an in-person section of this course for the first time since Covid. The in-person section mirrored the online section in terms of textbook, lectures, problem sets and exams. On the first day I told in-person students that all of the online resources were posted on AsULearn* and they could use those in case they had to miss a class.

So far so good, right? But, that plan didn’t go so well for several reasons. First, on the second day of class attendance fell from 25 to 10 and never recovered. I was expecting this but the magnitude was still a surprise. Second, using the online course material was too constraining. The online course was lecture heavy (I’ve somewhat reduced the lecture material for this semester) and I had to use most of the in-person class time to cover everything. I knew that you could cover more material in a recorded lecture than in-person but the difference was a surprise.

So, this semester I am totally revising the in-person section with a new book** and I’m going back to more in-class activities beyond the lecture. I’m excited about this semester!

Some background: During the Covid-19 summer of 2020 the powers that be decided that this course would be a likely candidate for online delivery. I submitted a proposal to do so which was approved. I took a course in online teaching during Fall 2021 and began developing this course for online delivery. As a result, one section this course has transitioned from in-person instruction to fully online. During the Fall 2020 semester I taught the course using synchronomous Zoom with recorded lectures posted after the class meeting time. During the spring 2021 semester I revised the slides and recorded lectures which were then delivered asynchronously but “just in time”. The first time that the course was delivered asynchronously fully online was during summer 2021. I also taught the course asynchronously and fully online during Fall 2021, Spring 2022 and Fall 2023. During the Fall 2023 semester, for the first time, there were two sections of ECO 2620 with about 45 students in an asynchronous online section and about 25 in the in-person section.

Pre-pandemic teaching was much easier. 


*App State’s learning management system is supposed to be pronounced “as you learn” but many call is “ASU learn” even though Arizona State University thinks they have dibs on ASU.

**I still really like the old book and the online section is still using it. But, I need a jolt to get me to reorganize my old lecture material and a new book will do that.

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