Case Study: Connect Economics - Bryant University
Published February 24, 2017
Digital Product in Use:
Principles of Economics
Textbook in Use:
Macroeconomics by McConnell, Brue and Flynn, 18e
100/year (instructor total)700-800/year (university total)
Case Study Term:
Connect Economics has given me substantial time savings in grading and transposing grades online. I also have more focused lectures and a better organized course. It is a tool that, if students are properly incentivised to use it, can help learning and make instructors’ lives less stressful!
-Professor Sam Mirmirani
Digital Course Solution Increases Instructor Efficiency
Professor Sam Mirmirani needed to free up the considerable amount of time he was spending grading homework exercises and reviewing assignments. He also wanted his students to take on more responsibility for completing homework, while providing them with a resource to review for exams rather than take up valuable class time for review prior to the midterm and final. By implementing Connect Economics, Professor Mirmirani has shaved his grading time from 10 hours per week to one hour per week, and his students have ample review opportunities to prepare for exams on their own. Now, Mirmirani reports, he sees far less traffic during his office hours and when students do come to his office, they know exactly what they need help with based on the feedback they receive from Connect.
A private institution located in Smithfield, Rhode Island, Bryant University serves 3,600 students yearly. The University offers five baccalaureate degrees and three master’s degrees in the Graduate School of Business.
This course introduces students to the principles of microeconomics, including economic methodology and philosophy, the role of the private and public sectors and decision-making processes. Emphasis is placed on the firm, market structures, and resource allocation.
- 25% of the final grade based on homework assignments within Connect Economics
- 25% of the final grade based on video reports and short research papers
- 25% of the final grade based on one midterm exam
- 25% of the final grade based on one final exam
Implementation of McGraw-Hill Connect
Professor Mirmirani requires his students to complete one Connect Economics assignment each week, usually consisting of 25-30 questions. He finds that this ensures that they read and study on a weekly basis as opposed to cramming before exams. The homework assignments count as a significant portion—25%—of the final grade. All homework is done online and graded by Connect Economics.
Since using Connect Economics, Professor Mirmirani has reduced the time he spends grading by 90%! Prior to using Connect he spent about 5-6 hours per week for each of his classes reviewing homework and providing feedback for his students. With an average of two classes per semester, this added up to at least 10 hours each week. Now he spends about 1 hour a week posting results from Connect into Blackboard.
He is also finding that his students spend more time engaged in the course content outside of class. Professor Mirmirani reports, “Students now have the ability to do homework wherever they are, yet they no longer have excuses for not doing it!” Fewer students now show up during his office hours, and for those that do, they have specific and clearly defined problems and questions to ask.
In a course which covers such a depth and breadth of content, Professor Mirmarani greatly appreciates the ability to more carefully craft his lecture time to focus on key topics, while also making them more applied. The reports within Connect Economics show him the topics that students need the most help with, so he is able to update his lecture notes accordingly. “I now have more frequent and systematic information on how my students are doing,” he says. The detailed reporting on class performance enables him to “re-assess and revise my lectures. I now know which areas to emphasize more and which ones less.”
Professor Mirmirani plans to expand his use of Connect Economics by integrating the LearnSmart™ adaptive study modules and Tegrity lecture capture into his classes. He also sees potential for using Connect in his upper-level classes, and is looking forward to eliminating all time spent grading through the new Blackboard Learn™ integration, which will automatically sync grades in Connect with his Blackboard gradebook. Professor Mirmirani recommends that other instructors not only use Connect Economics, but require completion of these assignments in order to maximize the impact on student outcomes.