Classroom Experiments Using EconVision

April 15, 2013
Classroom Experiments Using EconVision

The goal for this project was to use EconVision, a web-based tool for classroom experiments, to develop interactive instructional materials for courses on political and economic decision-making. These materials would enable students to actively play the theoretical models that they were learning about and to discuss and explore the data that they created. In addition, statistical code would analyze the output of the games.

ATG staff developed 10 modules, each covering a unique concept, and a 250+ page manual on active learning and strategic interaction. The modules included instructions, specially selected EconVision parameters, and a debriefing document with discussion questions as well as graphics (generated by R code) displaying data from the experiment. PITF staff introduced the social experiments with screencasts. During the 2011–12 academic year, these materials were deployed in a fall General Education class taught by Ken Shepsle and in a spring Economics class taught by David Laibson.

According to Professor Shepsle, “The social experiments worked very well and provide an engaging and hands-on way for students to learn the concepts taught in the course. Online experiments, in particular, allow for more functionality and a better way to generate data…. Students really liked the social experiments and are asking for more. Students appeared more engaged with the online experiments than with the pen and pencil one.”

In addition to R code and the game play interface at, ATG staff used LaTeX and Stata to accomplish this project.

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