Thursday, May 14, 2009

"An Economist, an Academic Puzzle and a Lot of Promise"

Source: Steven Pearlstein, The Washington Post, May 8, 2009

Aplia, a courseware company founded by Paul Romer, has produced interactive exercises that students do in conjunction with the most widely used college economics textbooks.
"Aplia's team of young Ph.D. economists and software programmers also devised laboratory experiments in which the entire class could participate in simulated markets that give students a practical understanding of concepts like money supply and demand curves.

"Students seemed to like Aplia's engaging and easy-to-use software, as well as the feedback. Professors liked Aplia even more. It allowed them to leverage the grade-grubbing instincts of today's college students to get them to do homework -- but without having to spend countless hours reading and correcting the assignments. They also got reports from Aplia identifying which students were having the most trouble with the material and which concepts were stumping the class as a whole......

"Today, Aplia is used at more than 815 colleges by 170,000 students per term, with course offerings covering more than a dozen subjects. A quarter of all students enrolled in college economics classes work with Aplia."
Romer is a first-rate economist associated with the recognition that there are positive returns to investments in innovations in technological systems. This may be an equally important contribution to the economics profession and to those interested in learning economics. It is nice to see some of the promise of ICT in education being realized.

No comments: