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Research Articles

Teaching and Educational Methods

Facilitating Higher Order Learning: Examining Student Outcomes after a Course Redesign

Anna Josephson, Larry DeBoer, Dave Nelson, and Angelika Zissimopoulos

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Volume 1, 2019, Posted online January 7, 2020

Abstract: We study student learning outcomes following the redesign of an undergraduate macroeconomics course. Changes were made to focus students’ learning efforts and time in-class on the application and analysis of key concepts. To evaluate changes to student learning outcomes, we use thirteen questions that appeared on final exams both before and after the redesign. The analysis shows that after the redesign student performance on application and analysis questions improved, while performance suffered on memorization and understanding questions. With this paper, we provide a description of our experience and method for others to use in assessing changes in performance after redesigning a large, introductory-level course.

Keywords: Active learning, Bloom’s taxonomy, high-order taxonomy, macroeconomics, undergraduate instruction

Hedging with Futures: An Experiential Learning Game

John Michael Riley

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Volume 1, 2019, Posted online January 7, 2020
Supplementary material

Abstract: Hedging is often an integral concept in agricultural futures and marketing courses as well as extension marketing workshops. Textbook and chalkboard examples offer students of these courses the ability to understand the concept and learn the mathematics. However, this mode of instruction is less intuitive and does not have a real-world feel. The purpose of this paper is to present an interactive hedging game that was developed to provide students with a more realistic hedging experience that improves the understanding of the mechanics of hedging. Under the premise of an eastern Nebraska corn producer using actual data, a spreadsheet was designed that displays market information to the students who then must make decisions about the number of futures contracts to trade. Pre- and post-game results indicate a positive learning outcome, and students responded favorably when asked if the game enhanced their understanding of hedging.

Keywords: Experiential learning, futures, hedging, teaching

Teaching Information Literacy: A Case Study of the Ripple Effect in Teamwork

Christiane Schroeter, Lindsey Higgins, Hannah Hank, and Caitlin Stevenson

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Volume 2, 2020, Posted online, February 27, 2020

Abstract: The purpose of this study is twofold: (a) describe a teaching case study with college students at a large U.S. university, and (b) highlight how the ripple effect enhances students’ level of information literacy. An “information-literate” student recognizes the need for information and is able to locate, evaluate, and effectively use the needed information. We define the ripple effect as the knowledge acquisition through peer communication among members within a small student group. While interpersonal skills are of increasing importance in the workplace, formal incorporation of information literacy in undergraduate agricultural programs is still developing. Thus, it might be of advantage to rely on constructs of social support and active learning. Employers seek individuals with critical thinking skills and the ability to work and collaborate in teams. As a rapidly increasing portion of entry-level jobs in the agricultural industry are replaced with automation, it has become more important that undergraduate agricultural majors enter the workforce with a competitive edge and employable skills. Results suggest the ripple effect in teamwork aids to enhance the students’ knowledge of agribusiness information literacy concepts.

Keywords: Teamwork, information literacy, Kline’s team player inventory, active learning, team diversity

Case Studies

Teaching and Education Commentaries

The Do Now: A Simple, but Effective Active Learning Strategy

LaPorchia A. Collins

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Volume 1, 2019, Posted online: January 7, 2020
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Abstract: Students often have difficulty applying concepts discussed in lectures. Using practical guidance that allows for flexibility in implementation, I highlight the Do Now as a short, practice exercise that promotes just-in-time instruction. My approach stresses application of course concepts to improve student self-efficacy and performance. A supplemental teaching note provides additional guidance on implementation.

Keywords: Active learning, formative assessment, interactive lecture, self-efficacy

Case Study Special Issue