In Class Exercises

This page gives ideas and examples of in class interactive exercises that can help students to engage with the material.


Give students a short publication, examples include:

- Joyce and Norris Keiller (2018) "The `gender commuting gap' widens considerably in the first decade after childbirth' IFS Observation

- First part of David Autor (2015) "Why are there still so many jobs? The history and future of workplace automation" Journal of Economic Perspectives

- Cribb and Emmerson (2016) "What happens to workplace pension savings when employers are obliged to enrol employees automatically?" ITPF

- Britton, van der Erve, Shephard and Belfield (2018) "Where is the money going? Estimating government spending on different university degrees", IFS Briefing Note BN244

Students will work together in groups of 2 or 3 to develop a storyboard for a talk to your boss in a firm, your boss is not an economist. Identify a key message, make a storyboards for how would you communicate this key idea to your boss if you worked in a firm and you had 10 minutes. Get one student to present to the class and have a class discussion. Then make a new storyboard if you had only 1minute. Get a different student to presents. Discuss the differences. The point is to get students to think about how you can distil you key message down. Note that the average person speaks 125-150 words per minute. Gome guides on creating storyboards: Royal Roads Universityboards.comstoryboardthat.com

I use this in the first lecture to get students talking, gets them to know each other and get them working together. It gives you some idea of their writing and economics skills.

I use the final part of the lecture to get students to complete the exercise for the tutorial.



I get students to do talks of different lengths and to different audiences. This works very effectively to help them to improve their speaking skills. I insist that they write a story board for every presentation.

- 1 min no slides to policymaker;

- then the same topic 1 min no slides to general public

- 2 mins with 1 slide

- 5 mins with 2 slides



Produce a single slide that conveys a key fact or figure to different audiences. This gets students to engage with the facts discussed in lecture Lecture 2, and in particular that most people don't understand percentages.


Critique of infographics

Print out infographics. Hand them out and get students to critique them in pairs. Get students to stand up in pairs and make comments on each infographic, then open up for discussion. Gives students practice in public speaking. Also gets them to think about communicating visually. I select some that are very good, some that are very bad, and some in between.


Written exercises

This course is mainly about verbal and graphical communication. However, it is useful to get them to do some writing. I get them to write a short email in the first lecture/tutorial. This is useful to learn about their writing skills. It is also a useful learning experience for them to understand that email is a form (and an important form) of communication.

I get them to write either a policy brief (aimed at policy makers) or a blog (aimed at the general public).


IGM poll

I get hand out several questions from IGM polls. http://www.igmchicago.org/european-economic-experts-panel

I get them to answer the poll them selves. I get them to do it in pairs so they talk to someone else about it.

I collect the responses and graph them then show what the economists answered. We then have a discussion about the issue. See notes. With larger class you could use polling software.

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