New online courses offer interactive, monitored learning

New online courses offer interactive, monitored learning

Econ Ed graphicIn September, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis education team unveiled Econ Ed Live Online Learning, a collection of new and readapted classroom resources. The online courses feature pre- and post-tests, discussion boards, real-time polling questions, and interactive assessments that allow teachers to monitor their students' progress and mastery of the content. Students can either complete the courses in a computer lab or as homework assignments. An instructor management tool captures student results.

The St. Louis Fed also offers a podcast series, Economic Lowdown, that teachers can use to introduce concepts to their students and that students will find valuable as study aids.

Econ Ed Live Online Learning currently offers four courses:

  • "GDP and Pizza: Economics for Life," the first online learning course developed by the St. Louis Fed more than two years ago, can be used to teach GDP (nominal and real), per capita GDP as a measurement of standard of living, economic growth, and the components of GDP.
  • "Time Value of Money" introduces students to the concepts of opportunity cost, interest (nominal and real) and inflation in order to teach them the importance of sound financial investment on the road to wealth accumulation. This module engages students through interactive games and assessments.
  • "It's Your Paycheck" is a personal finance curriculum covering the significance of developing human capital, analysis of a typical paycheck, checking and savings accounts and balancing an account register for accurate budgeting, money management, calculating compounding interest, the "Rule of 72," credit reports, how to establish credit, payday lending, calculating APR for short-term lending, and rent-to-own contracts.
  • "Great Depression" is a six-unit curriculum that teaches students lessons in economics through one of the 20th century's most compelling periods. History teachers and economics, business, and middle grades social studies teachers will find this comprehensive online learning experience an invaluable asset. Students will watch interviews of men and women who share their stories from the Great Depression. The units cover economic indicators, the causes of the Great Depression, New Deal programs and their impact, an analysis of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's fireside chats, and the role of the Federal Reserve System during the Great Depression.

The Economic Lowdown podcast series has three episodes currently available: "Opportunity Cost" (episode 1) is a five-minute explanation of scarcity, opportunity cost, and choice. "Factors of Production" (episode 2) features "the building blocks of the economy." "The Role of Self-Interest and Competition in a Market Economy" (episode 3) highlights the forces of the invisible hand, competition, and self-interest in the economy. The series ultimately will feature economics, personal finance, banking, and monetary policy topics. Teachers can sign up to receive e-mail alerts for additions to the series.

For additional lesson activities and classroom resources, visit the Federal Reserve System's education website. Be on the lookout for lesson suggestions and educational offerings in upcoming issues of Extra Credit.

By Amy Hennessy, economic and financial education specialist, Public Affairs


October 15, 2010