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A Little More than Chalk and Talk: Results from a Third National Survey of Teaching Methods in Undergraduate Economics Courses


  • Michael Watts
  • William E. Becker


In 1995, 2000, and 2005, the authors surveyed U.S. academic economists to investigate how economics is taught in four different types of undergraduate courses at postsecondary institutions. They especially looked for any changes in teaching methods that occurred over this decade, when there were several prominent calls for economists and postsecondary instructors in other fields to devote more attention and effort to teaching and to make greater use of active, student-centered learning methods, with less use of direct instruction ( chalk and talk ). By 2005, although standard lectures and chalkboard presentations were still dominant, there was evidence of slow growth in the use of other teaching methods, including classroom discussions (especially teacher-directed discussions), computer-generated displays (such as PowerPoint), providing students with prepared sets of class notes, and computer lab assignments in econometrics and statistics courses. Internet database searches were used by a small but growing minority of instructors. Classroom experiments were used by a small share of instructors in introductory courses. Assignments or classroom references to the popular financial press, sports, literature, drama, or music were used somewhat more often. Cooperative learning methods were rarely used.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Watts & William E. Becker, 2008. "A Little More than Chalk and Talk: Results from a Third National Survey of Teaching Methods in Undergraduate Economics Courses," The Journal of Economic Education, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(3), pages 273-286, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jeduce:v:39:y:2008:i:3:p:273-286
    DOI: 10.3200/JECE.39.3.273-286

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