Faculty-led Inquiry into Reflective and Scholarly Teaching (FIRST)


Date of this Version


Document Type



Fischer, Tammie. "Digging Economics--ECON 200: Economics Essentials and Issues" (2019). UNL Faculty Portfolios.


This portfolio examines student engagement in Econ 200: Essentials of Economics course. Econ 200, a large lecture format, serves as a requirement for completing a minor in Business and fulfills the ACE 6 or 8 categories. Much discussion and research exist around the importance of student engagement in large lecture sections which can often be a challenge. Engagement is important in the process of increasing knowledge with added peer effects. At the same time, activities designed to increase engagement often come at a cost, both in terms of precious class time and to faculty in the form of additional grading. The goal of this project is to assess the use of YellowDig, a new technological software through Canvas. Specifically, whether students’ perception of using current events, in a social media platform, impacts classroom engagement and motivation to learn a new content area. Using a survey, students self-reported their degree of perceived value relating course content to their major, current events, everyday life, connection to fellow students and overall motivation to learn more about economics. The results were overwhelmingly positive. Having students pin current event articles and commenting on other student posts is perceived as adding value in connecting the course content to their everyday lives and understanding the economic world they live. These connections, in turn, motivated the majority to learn more about economics, which anecdotally appeared as slight improvement in the average exam scores compared to a similar course one year earlier. Students also reported the use of the assignment as adding value in terms of connections to other students.