Introducing money: a just-in-time teaching activity
In this just-in-time activity, students submit responses before class to demonstrate their ability to use concepts from a textbook reading on money. Students are presented with a hypothetical situation in which a group house distributed certificates to allow residents to exchange assigned chores. However, residents are hoarding the certificates and not exchanging them. Students are asked to compare this situation to the role of money in a national economy and to propose a remedy for the failure of the group house residents to use the certificates. In-class follow-up activities are recommended.
Context for Use
This activity is intended for use in an introductory course after students have read textbook material on money, but before in-class work on the topic. It is based on the "babysitting coop" experience described in "Monetary Theory and the Great Capitol Hill Baby-Sitting Co-op Crisis." Joan and Richard Sweeney published it in the Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking 1978 and used by Paul Krugman in Peddling Prosperity, The Accidental Theorist and http://www.slate.com/articles/business/the_dismal_science/1998/08/babysitting_the_economy.single.html
For traditional age college students, the example of a group house may be better understood than a babysitting coop.
Description and Teaching Materials
Using a course management tool, the just-in-time activity should be posted at least one week before it is due (if not at the semester start.) Students need to be aware of the due date, and understand how the assignment will be assessed. For full explanation of the technique see http://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/justintime/index.html
and http://www.jitt.org The just-in-time question (Microsoft Word 21kB Feb15 07) Sample student answer and instructor response (Microsoft Word 21kB Feb15 07) In-class follow-up activities (Microsoft Word 21kB Feb15 07)
In our experience, students take JiTTs seriously only if there is an incentive, even it is a small percentage of a final grade, say 5%. We recommend that each JiTT be graded on level of completion, not accuracy of the answer. In other words, students who demonstrate that they have thought about a question receive full points even if the answer is wrong. As soon as possible after the JiTT is submitted, it should be assessed and sample student work chosen for use in class.
References and Resources
On babysitting problem: "Monetary Theory and the Great Capitol Hill Baby-Sitting Co-op Crisis." Joan and Richard Sweeney published it in the Journal of Money, Credit, and Banking 1978 and used by Paul Krugman in Peddling Prosperity, The Accidental Theorist and http://www.slate.com/articles/business/the_dismal_science/1998/08/babysitting_the_economy.single.html