Adam Olivier, Department of Social Policy
I started a series on Twitter called ‘Behavioural Economics on a Post-It’, where, during the lockdown, I’ve been relaying one behavioural economic concept per day (on a post-it). I did this partly for student interest; partly for laypersons.
During lockdown, I figured that people might be using twitter a little more, to inform and entertain themselves. So, I thought it might be a good idea to try to inform (and perhaps entertain) people about some of the main behavioural economic concepts. Application of behavioural concepts to public policy issues - through nudges, budges, boosts etc. - has been one of the main developments in the social sciences over recent decades, and a basic presentation of some of the main findings/ideas lend themselves to a short format, and a short format is required due to the limited attention span that twitter exacerbates. I thought post-its might attract people’s attention - and they can copy them out and stick them on their fridges!
I’ll eventually give a fairly comprehensive series on many of the behavioural economics/policy basics. I cover most of these in a course that I teach to postgraduates at the LSE.
I’m not sure if my own students or LSE staff have read them, but many people in general seem to like them. If your course material lends itself to this format, and if you have the time and inclination to write up post-its, then why not? It’s one more way of trying to help people who might be interested in what you yourself are interested in
Rishita Nandagiri, Department of International Development
I’ve been trying to pull together a series of informal events for our MSc in Health & International Development (HiD) students. Apart from all the stress that covid-19 has caused and the subsequent disruptions etc, students (whether in halls where they are often ‘solo’ or with their families/partners) miss the social aspects of their degrees and the camaraderie that we’ve been working hard to foster. The specific ‘HiD’ identity and their cohort identity seems to be quite important to them- they’ve mentioned this in pre-Covid19 times too, so I think it’s important we try to keep that going.
I first asked students if they’d be interested in a few social events (an informal hangout session, a film evening etc) and they responded positively. Shortly after we all moved online (and before the Easter break), I organised the first informal event (stressing the informal nature is also quite important) which went quite well. A student (Eva Siegel) suggested a pub quiz along the lines of quizzes I’d administered in their seminar groups. It was a bit challenging technically, but we managed it. Here’s what I did:
- We used Zoom (advertised over programme Moodle + shared via e-mail w/ a reminder on the day), and I tried to account for as many time zones as possible. 1500 BST is 2200 in Beijing and 1000 in New York (although some of students joined us at 0700 their time!).
- Once we have enough students (we were at 15, and then more joined in over the course of the hour), I explained the rules and divided them into groups (Zoom breakout rooms)
- Round 1 was conducted via Kahoot (ran into some technical difficulties with this as I needed to set up the correct mode where they can answer the questions themselves w/o needing a screen, but we moved to round 2 and 3 and I came back to this later on once I figured out how to run it). Each group needs to elect one person who will key in the responses.
- Come back to the main group to get scores (automatically tallied by Kahoot). One bonus question (worth extra points) that they respond to via chat (private message to quiz master). Bonus question is tied to one of the questions just answered.
- For rounds 2 and 3, the question pack (a pdf) is e-mailed to the nominated person from each group. They have a certain amount of time (five minutes per round in their breakout rooms) to respond, after which I will just bring them all back to the main chat. Each group private messages me their answers and I go through the answers after this. Bonus question follows previous method.
- Round 2: picture round, and round 3: a cryptic round.
- Most of the content related to their degree, drew on some ‘general’ knowledge on health
- The breakout rooms are quite important, I think- allows them a chance to chat and laugh over their responses.
I think the students enjoyed the session- they’re hoping I do a few more! Colleagues who joined in seemed to enjoy it too- they didn’t know any of the questions or rounds so were along for the ride too. I think it fosters a sense of ‘informal’ socialising which students have often said they value, and when there’s such physical distancing; I think it’s important we hold on to the social ties if we can.
Two lessons learnt:
- learn how Kahoot works when you aren’t all in the same room! It caused a bit of stress, but was ok in the end and everyone was more than patient!
- Have fun with the questions- I think students were as amused by some of the questions as I was!
Hyun Bang Shin, Department of Geography and Environment
I had my first Zoom-based live workshop (2 hours), which involved me giving a short presentation (using sharing function to display my PPT), and discussing how to prepare for assessments, which involved sharing of Safari screen as well as Word documents and spreadsheets.
- I have to say the experience turned out to be far better than I expected. Looking at the student faces in gallery view were not quite the same as looking at them in the classroom setting, especially when the gallery view on my laptop screen can accommodate only up to 25 individuals, so I have to swipe to the next page to see the rest of the students. Yet, it was good to see them during this difficult time.
- Student attendance was quite high. 30 students out of 38 registered. If I take into consideration those students who told me they were travelling and couldn’t attend, this was a very high turnout, similar to in-person lecture attendance.
- I’d recommend setting up rules at the start, in the same way you’d tell them what class rules are. At the start, I have asked them to switch on their cameras so that I don’t feel as if I speak to a wall. I think it did make a huge difference in terms of my performance, and it was great to see the facial expressions of some students while delivering my talks. I understand bandwidth can be a problem, but it worked fine today with 30 students who connected from literally across the world.
- I have booked Zoom sessions for the remaining teaching on Moodle so that students can see the Zoom session information with the Zoom session address displayed on the Moodle course.
- I have also asked them to try the ‘raise hand’ function at the start so that they know how to use it when they have to ask questions. I stopped from time to time to ask for questions, and checked the list of students to see if any ‘raise hand’ signs appeared.
- It’s more important to pause and ask students if they have comments and questions when giving a Zoom talk than when you deliver your talk in person.
- I have muted them initially so that unnecessary background noises do not filter into the Zoom session.
- Please practice how you can use the Zoom’s ‘share content’ function so that you can change between different shared contents (web browser, spreadsheet, PowerPoint, PDF, etc.). I did a practice run using another equipment, which was helpful.
- I provide a PPT handout file on the Moodle, which I do anyway, but this can be more helpful under the circumstances.
Finally, I think today’s session worked very well because a degree of rapport has already been established between myself and the students during the first 8 weeks of LT. I feel that online teaching can be a good supplement that allows us to overcome distances, but I don’t think that it can be a complete replacement of our in-person physical teaching, as a complete online teaching only would probably not create the same kind of relationship that builds up in physical classroom settings.
Ken Lee, Department of Accounting
Now in isolation for 14 days and so this is my LSE lecture theatre! I can imagine the teachers, academics, professional trainers and coaches all trying their best to deliver quality content to their students. I wish you all the very best with your efforts. Thanks to the LSE Eden centre - Claire Gordon and team - for all the help with tools like Zoom in double quick time. Thanks also to LSE PG students for their patience and engagement. Naturally, I am still learning - I was really pleased with a 20 minute session I had recorded, going through a detailed model, until a student told me they could not actually see the model! Stay well everyone...hashtag#lseaccounting hashtag#partoflse
Sandhya Fuchs and Itay Noy, Department of Anthropology
AN101 Sandhya Fuchs and Itay Noy are offering their students discussion forums first, and then a single Zoom chat (for all seminar groups) for clarifications / further discussion / summing up. The synchronous part (the Zoom chat) is scheduled when the lecture would have been, to fit the schedule of as many students as possible. They hope it’s a good compromise between different students' preferences (and their capacity to ‘attend’) either forums or Zoom sessions.