ExCEN has partnered with the Andrew Young School’s Digital Landscape Initiative to assist in the development and operation of AYS Open, an open access philosophy geared to reducing the cost of knowledge generation and dissemination; establishing a digital press; moving to open source classroom and research materials. One of the enduring lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic is that institutions of higher education must innovate to best serve students in a swiftly-changing learning environment, and this effort is a direct response to this new landscape. While the pandemic creates uncertainty about the logistics of traditional classroom education, online learning resources bridge the gap and give flexibility to both teachers and students in learning, even when face-to-face engagement is not always possible.
To this end, ExCEN-affiliated faculty and staff have engaged in a program of online and blended teaching support for economics courses. Associate Director Kevin Ackaramongkolrotn oversees the technical overhaul and establishment of a new server for online research and teaching experiments. Concurrently, Operations Director Todd Swarthout is working with a team of graduate students and affiliated faculty in the development of new pedagogical resources and IT infrastructure to support those resources. The resources created by this team (fully integrated into the existing iCollege LMS framework utilized by GSU) support both synchronous and asynchronous participation as well as individual and class-wide learning environments.
The pedagogical underpinnings for these resources are developed by world-renowned GSU faculty Vjollca Sadiraj (microeconomics and game theory) as well as Susan Laury and Shelby Frost (macroeconomics and special topics). Once completed, students will be able to access high-quality, completely-virtual learning resources, and teachers will be able to fully integrate these resources into existing classwork without the use of additional software.
These exciting new developments push AYS and ExCEN to the forefront of meeting the needs of economics students and instructors during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.