Economists Do It With Models

Warning: “graphic” content…

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Tales From The Road, Chicago Edition…

January 18th, 2012 · 1 Comment
Administrative · Press · Uncategorizable

Dear EconoDiary,

Sorry I haven’t written recently- it’s hard starting spring semester teaching the day after an 18-hour drive back from Chicago! (In related news, teaching graduate macro is an interesting challenge, to say the least.) Anyway, the conference went quite well, and Jarret and I even managed to put together a somewhat legit looking setup in the exhibit hall:

It was really nice to get to talk to people about the projects that I’m working on, and I think that people were really into not only the blog but also the videos and articles and such, which is good. What is less good is that Jarret is very proficient at not only selling but overselling- for example, check out the brochure that he made:

Who knew that Word could make text boxes? So far, I’ve gotten a few new videos up (with many more to come soon), and I’ve revamped the videos section into an “Econ Classroom” portal where users can search the videos and articles by topic, course or textbook chapter. (I’m clearly putting my computer science degree to good use. =P)

Despite how fun it was to meet and talk to random people (and even the person who is now in charge of the Simpsons book!), I think the highlight of the conference for me was dinner at Alinea. Oh wait, that’s not right, though it was impressive to have a meal that came with a certificate of completion at the end. 🙂 The real highlight of the conference was the blogs panel, largely because I was fortunate enough to share a table and microphone with the likes of Steve Levitt, Alex Tabarrok, and Jennifer Imazeki. I was really impressed by how similar some of the comments were to things that I’ve said in the past, and it’s always nice to be reminded that there are academics (even “important” academics) who are passionate about getting the word out on economic thinking.

Because Jarret is awesome, he took a Tweeted request to bring stickers and turned it into a video opportunity, so here’s a bit of footage from the panel. In case it’s not obvious, the projector wasn’t working properly, so I had to resort to rambling with only the aid of my trusty iPad:

The Chronicle of Higher Education even did a nice article about the discussion:

In an age of sophisticated social media and rapidly evolving technologies, blogs would seem to be about as sexy as a pair of sensible shoes. Yet as simple as they may be, blogs have also proven to be valuable to economists debating principles and policy, and to faculty looking to breathe life into the teaching of their discipline, speakers said here on Saturday.

The unvarnished and spirited discussions on blogs can also serve a pedagogical purpose, several speakers said, by allowing faculty to enliven their teaching beyond textbooks. Students can see firsthand that the discipline is relevant, hotly contested, and far from intellectually monolithic.

Still, Jodi N. Beggs, a doctoral candidate at Harvard, cautioned against plopping students from introductory-level courses into the middle of ongoing debates without guidance or context. “You want to curate the content you provide to your students,” she said. Ms. Beggs is one of the creators of the blog Economists Do It With Models.

First off, my blog is totally sexier than a pair of sensible shoes, and this is still true when accounting for the fact that even my sensible shoes are quite sexy. Second, “one of the creators?” Is Gizmo getting coauthor credit now? (My actual guess is that Jarret is getting creator credit here, since he was standing next to me when the reporter was asking follow-up questions, which is fine by me.)

On the other hand, I think I can guess what the highlight of the conference was for Jarret:

(The best part about this is that there are 5 other Krugman pictures that Jarret didn’t like and requested retakes of.)

Well, that’s about it…I made it home safe back to Boston, and I now know (via the radio only, I swear) that strip clubs in Toledo give free admission to holders of union cards or Harley keys. I look forward to a busy and productive spring semester!



Tags: Administrative · Press · Uncategorizable

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Norman // Jan 19, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    Blogs are even sexier than my entirely un-sensible plaid shoes! The blog panel (and meeting you guys at the booth) was a conference highlight for me.

    In related news, students seem to be liking the videos!

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