Midwest Conference on Student Learning in Economics:
Innovation, Assessment and Classroom Research



November 4-5, 2004                            click here for schedule

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Description
Who should attend
Call for Posters, Papers, and Workshops

See who has submitted posters

Registration

See who has registered

Hotel
Conference Location and Directions
Schedule


Featuring:
 



John Morton
Vice President for Program Development, National Council for Economic Education
W. Lee Hansen
Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Peter Kennedy
Professor of Economics, Simon Fraser University
Associate Editor, Journal of Economic Education

The Essence of the Economic Way of Thinking The Architecture and Artistry of A Proficiencies Based Economics Major Common Mistakes Made in Classroom Research
Thursday Night's dinner features reflections on the Presidental Election by Dr. John Green (see schedule)

Make Plans to join us next year as well.
(see 2005 site here)


Description:
This two day conference on the campus of The University of Akron features three giants in the field of economic education.

John Morton (more) is Vice President for Program Development at the National Council on Economic Education.  He is responsible for developing NCEE’s K-12 economics curriculum, including publications, professional development programs for teachers, and assessments.  He was President of the Arizona Council on Economic Education from 1997 to 2001.  Previously, he was Director of the Center for Economic Education at Governors State University and an economics teacher at Homewood-Flossmoor High School in Illinois.  Mr. Morton has over 35 years’ experience as a high school economics teacher, college professor, college administrator, and economic education writer and presenter.
 
W. Lee Hansen (more) is Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Over the years he has maintained a strong interest in economic education at all levels. He served as member and chair of the American Economic Association's Committee on Economic Education (1976-88) a member of the National Council on Economic Education's Board of Trustees (1983-2000), senior writer-editor of the NCEE's Framework for Teaching Basic Economic Concepts (1977), member of the Steering Committee for the NCEE publication Voluntary National Content Standards in Economics (1998), member of the Educational Testing Service's Advisory Committee on the GRE Writing Measure (1993-98), and Executive Director of the 1991 AEA Commission on Graduate Education in Economics.

Peter Kennedy (more) received his BA from Queen's University in Canada in 1965, and his PhD from the University of Wisconsin in 1968. Apart from visiting positions at Cornell, Wisconsin, London School of Economics, Deakin, Singapore, Cape Town, Canterbury, Curtin, Adelaide, Otago, and EERC (Ukraine), he has been at Simon Fraser University ever since. Author of four books, the best-known of which is his Guide to Econometrics, he has published in a wide range of journals, primarily in the areas of econometrics and economic education. He is the recipient of four awards for excellence in teaching, and the Villard award for excellence in economic education research. He is an associate editor of the International Journal of Forecasting and of Economics Bulletin, and since 1989 has edited the research section of the Journal of Economic Education.

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Who should attend?

Faculty and teachers interested in learning new approaches to teaching economics and assessing learning at the introductory and intermediate levels should make plans to attend.  Come and learn exciting ways to use experiments and other innovations in your classroom and to explore the value of classroom research and see what it takes to getting your classroom research published.

Call for Participation:

The Midwest Conference on Student Learning in Economics offers three ways in which you can share with other participants your teaching practices, classroom innovations, or scholarship of teaching economics.  If you or your colleagues have a teaching method that you will share in the form of a workshop, paper, or poster you are encouraged to submit a presentation proposal by September 22, 2004 for workshops and papers and by September 30, 2004 for posters.  Include teaching methods, and research and assessment tools.  All submissions must be through the website.  Notification of accepted posters will be given within one week of the end of the respective deadlines.  To submit click here.

Exhibitors:
This conference provides an opportunity for organizations to display some of their current economics textbooks and other teaching materials.  Display tables will be located in the hallway outside of the rooms where the conference sessions are held and the conference schedule provides ample time for participants to visit your display. 
Contact Michael Nelson at the address below.

Registration fee:
The entire two day event is $80.00 and includes all sessions, a dinner, continental breakfast, lunch, refreshment breaks and on campus parking.  Register before October 1, 2004 for a reduced rate of $69.00.  Otherwise the cost for Thursday alone is $40.00 and the cost for Friday is $60.00.  Hurry, space is limited. (register here)

For more information:  
Department of Economics
The University of Akron

Dr. Michael Nelson
Nelson2@uakron.edu
(330) 972-7546 

Dr. Steven C. Myers
myers@uakron.edu
(330) 972-7421

Sponsored By: The University of Akron Department of Economics, The University of Akron Institute For Teaching And Learning, and The H. Kenneth Barker Center For Economic Education at The University of Akron.

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Hotel Information:

A block of rooms are reserved at the Crown Plaza Hotel under the conference name.  The Plaza is a unique hotel carved out of the grain silos of the old Quaker Oats home in Downtown Akron within walking distance of the campus.  Rooms are at the special conference rate of $70.00 per night.  You must make your reservations directly with the hotel by October 12 at (866) 668-6689.
 
Conference name: Midwest Conference
Room price at special discount: (Single or double occupancy)
$70.00  (regularly $85 to $150) + tax
Deadline for Reservations: October 12, 2004
Phone Number to call for reservations to get the special rate: (866) 668-6689
Hotel Website: http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/cp/1/en/hd/akrqs
(this leaves this website)

 
Listed in the National Register of Historical Places this unique hotel boasts 190 guest rooms built in the original grain silos of the Quaker Oats Company. The hotel features 8 floors of perfectly round guest rooms with 6 suites available. All rooms offer two 2-line speakerphones with data port, voice mail, express check out,in-room movies, iron and ironing board, coffee maker and hairdryer. Also available is an indoor heated pool, fully equipped fitness center, 24 hr. business center, secretarial services, same day laundry (Monday-Friday) and shoe shine service. 
Breakfast is available in the Trackside Dining Room which features a breakfast buffet and ala cart menu, enjoy a Subway sub for lunch or try Trackside Grille serving lunch and diner and dine in an actual Pullman Railcar, grab a cup of coffee or piece of pie in our very own bakery and coffee shop The Pie Factory. The hotel offers room service from 6:30am to 11:00pm. Join us in our newly renovated Whistle Stop Tavern, a great casual restaurant with a pub feel. The menu features appetizers, salads, sandwiches, steaks seafood and delicious homemade desserts. The Trackside lounge is connected to the Trackside Grille and hosts weekly entertainment on Fridays and Saturday from 8:00pm to 11:30pm. Enjoy shopping in the unique specialty shops of the Quaker Square Mall located in the original factory and milling area of Quaker Oats.


 


 
 

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Conference Location:

The University of Akron Student Union, Akron, Ohio. Third floor conference rooms.
http://www.uakron.edu/studentunion/

Parking:
We recommend that you park in the Parking Deck numbered Lot #36.  however, you are permitted to park anywhere.  Make sure you have received your parking permit by email and be sure to display it in your car on the dash board.
 
 
Links to get you to the conference:
This link
www.uakron.edu/facilities/parking/maps.php
includes lnks to 
Driving directions
Map of Routes to UA (Important Construction Information)

We offer these detailed and annotated directions to the Student Union (pdf, 1.2 Mb)
http://www3.uakron.edu/econ/MidwestConference/2003/directions_Midwest_Conference.pdf

If you are familiar with the campus, this might be all you need (included in the link above, jpg, 187K)
www3.uakron.edu/econ/MidwestConference/2003/close_up_detail_map.jpg

 




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Schedule
 
 Thursday November 4, 2004
12:00-1:00 Registration - Room 314


1:30-2:45
Keynote
Keynote address
John Morton
"The Essence of the Economic Way of Thinking"


Room 312
Which principles of economics are important for high school graduates to understand in order to make more effective decisions as consumers, producers, and citizens?  What are the consequences of ignorance of those basic tenets of economics?  This address will make the case that a knowledge of the economic way of thinking presents a world view that is not offered in other disciplines.  Economics helps students gain a sense of order and interconnection among the events in the world around them.


2:45-3:15 Refreshment break


3:15-4:15
Workshops
A-1 John Morton "Great Stuff for Teaching High-School Economics" Room 316

The session describes effective curriculum materials for teaching high school economics as well as other resources that will help not only the high school economics teacher but also other teachers who wish to infuse economics into their discipline.  The latest teaching materials will be demonstrated.  This is hands-on stuff you can use.
A-2 Fred Carr "Teaching and Meeting Ohio Economic State Standards Through the Internet" Room 308

Dr. Fred M. Carr is Director of the University of Akron H. K. Barker Center for Economic Education.  He is the developer of the national website www.economiceducation.us and has presented extensively on assisting teachers in meeting the 144 Ohio Standards that require economic understanding.

Wireless Laptop Computer Classroom

A-3 Sucharita Ghosh and Fancesco Renna, The University of Akron
Using ConcepTests and Peer Instruction to Improve Student Learning in Economics,  Room 310

An important recognition in the economics education literature is the fact that current teaching practices which are heavily dependent on traditional lecture formats are not an effective way to increase the effectiveness of economics education.  Advocates of pedagogical change emphasize that there is a greater need for active-learning and collaborative-learning exercises that encourage students to assume a greater responsibility for their learning. 

A technique called peer instruction has been successfully used in disciplines such as Chemistry and Physics in increasing student learning.  Peer instruction divides class time between short lectures and conceptual multiple-choice questions (conceptests).  Conceptest questions are designed to evaluate student understanding of the fundamental concepts behind the lecture material.  Students are asked to consider a conceptest question and choose an answer.  An electronic personal response system registers students  answers and generates a histogram of responses.  Following their initial answer, students are given 1-2 minutes to discuss the reasons for their choice (peer instruction) in pairs or small groups before voting again.  This process results in an increase in the number of correct answers and an increase in student confidence in their answer choices.

During the workshop, we will demonstrate how conceptests can be implemented in any economics class.  A classroom atmosphere will be simulated and workshop participants will use keypads provided by eIntruction to answer multiple choice questions just like students would do in class.  Some preliminary results of the effectiveness of conceptests in two introductory classes of economics at The University of Akron will be presented. 

This research has been supported by the Center for Collaboration and Inquiry at The University of Akron.



4:15-4:30 Break


4:30-5:45
Workshops
B-1 John Morton "Great Stuff for Teaching High-School Economics" Room 316

The session describes effective curriculum materials for teaching high school economics as well as other resources that will help not only the high school economics teacher but also other teachers who wish to infuse economics into their discipline.  The latest teaching materials will be demonstrated.  This is hands-on stuff you can use.
B-2 Fred Carr "Teaching and Meeting Ohio Economic State Standards Through the Internet", Room 308

Dr. Fred M. Carr is Director of the University of Akron H. K. Barker Center for Economic Education.  He is the developer of the national website www.economiceducation.us and has presented extensively on assisting teachers in meeting the 144 Ohio Standards that require economic understanding.

Wireless Laptop Computer Classroom

B-3 Litsa Veronis, The Universiy of Akron
An Exercise in Hard Choices, room 310

For over 20 years, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (www.crfb.org) has been sponsoring An Exercise in Hard ChoicesSM, a budget debate that asks participants to role-play members of Congress as they deliberate over the current year’s budget. The University of Akron is now piloting electronic versions of the Exercise and the Exercise scorecard in order to increase citizen and student access to the debate. 

 We invite you to use the Exercise with your classes, either in a traditional face-to-face version (normally taking three hours to complete) or in one of three electronic versions:

  1. An asynchronous version using WebCT (taking place over several weeks).
  2. A synchronous, computer-to-computer version using a Macromedia Flash Communications server.
  3. A synchronous, site-to-site version using Polycom video-teleconferencing.

 
The University of Akron and The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget can provide staff to moderate any version of the Exercise.  For more information, contact Dwight Bishop, Manager, Design and Development Services, The University of Akron (dbishop@uakron.edu, 330.972.6025).




5:45-6:30 Reception (cash bar) - Ballroom A


6:30-8:30
Formal Dinner - Ballroom A

7:15-8:15
Keynote Speaker
Dr. Green's Photo
Keynote Speaker -

John Green
“The Political and Economic Consequences of the 2004 Election”

Dr. John C. Green is the Director of the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics and Distinguished Professor of Political Science.  Dr. Green’s political, economic and religious analysis of local and national elections have received wide national recognition and his work has been featured in numerous national media publications and popular television shows.








Friday
November 5, 2004

7:45-8:30
Registration and continental breakfast - Ballroom A
Poster and Technology Showcase set up - Ballroom B

8:30-8:50
Welcome and plan for the day - Room 312

8:50-9:50
Keynote Address
Keynote Address
W. Lee Hansen
"The Architecture and Artistry of a Proficiencies Based Economics Major"
Room 312
If we want to enhance student learning in economics and we conclude that developing students' proficiencies in the economics major is the most effective approach to doing so, it is important to pay attention to both the architecture of the curriculum and the artistry of the teaching-learning process. The work of developing proficiencies must ultimately be done in the classroom, but that work cannot be successful until the proficiencies approach is thoroughly embedded in the economics major and ideally in the college curriculum. At the same time, imparting these proficiencies requires a different and one might even say an artistic approach to classroom teaching and instruction. The essentials of this approach are elaborated in this presentation.


9:50-10:00
Break

10:00-11:00
Workshops
Concurrent Sessions
C-1 W. Lee Hansen "A Structured Approach to Discussing Economics", Room 316

Participants in this workshop will learn how to organize and conduct a structured discussion of an insightful reading that will advance their understanding of economics while at the same time enhancing their proficiencies in the major. The workshop will be based on the materials developed by Mike Salemi and Lee Hansen in a forthcoming book, Discussing Economics: A Classroom Guide to Preparing Discussion Questions and Leading Discussion (Elgar, 2005). A short reading will be posted on the Conference Webpage; participants should read this selection prior to the Workshop session. However, copies will also be available at the Active Learning Workshop session.
C-2 Peter Kennedy "A Suggestion for Engaging Students in Tutorials", Room 312

This session is free to SOTAL Scholars and faculty from the Institute for teaching and learning of the University of Akron.

Often a key concept can be consolidated into a question with a small number of possible answers. Such questions can arise in class by design or by chance. Asking students to vote on the possible answers typically does not work - students withhold their votes. This can be overcome by asking each student in turn to vote and then moving to discussion. This presentation will discuss the benefits of doing this, the details of how it should be done, and illustrate the approach.
C-3 Tod Porter, Youngstown State University
A Demonstration of MarketSim, an Internet-based Simulated Economy, Room 308

MarketSim consists of two economic simulations, a barter economy named Jeremy's Market and a market economy named Adam's Market. Students can participate in the two economies asynchronously over the Internet. In Jeremy's Market students are each assigned a household. Because the households have different utility and production functions they will find it advantageous to specialize in the production of one good and trade. In Adam's Market the student is responsible for both a household (which sells labor time and purchases goods) and a firm (which buys labor and sells output). Optionally, the instructor can also allow firms to purchase capital, change industries, and issue bonds.

This is a "hands-on" demonstration in a computer lab.



11:00-12:00
Workshops
Concurrent Sessions
D-1 W. Lee Hansen "A Structured Approach to Discussing Economics", Room 316

Participants in this workshop will learn how to organize and conduct a structured discussion of an insightful reading that will advance their understanding of economics while at the same time enhancing their proficiencies in the major. The workshop will be based on the materials developed by Mike Salemi and Lee Hansen in a forthcoming book, Discussing Economics: A Classroom Guide to Preparing Discussion Questions and Leading Discussion (Elgar, 2005). A short reading will be posted on the Conference Webpage; participants should read this selection prior to the Workshop session. However, copies will also be available at the Active Learning Workshop session.
D-2 Peter Kennedy "A Suggestion for Engaging Students in Tutorials", Room 312

Often a key concept can be consolidated into a question with a small number of possible answers. Such questions can arise in class by design or by chance. Asking students to vote on the possible answers typically does not work - students withhold their votes. This can be overcome by asking each student in turn to vote and then moving to discussion. This presentation will discuss the benefits of doing this, the details of how it should be done, and illustrate the approach.
D-3 David Wheat, Virginia Western Community College
MacroLab:  An Interactive Learning Environment for Macroeconomics, Room 308

       This workshop will demonstrate a highly visual simulation software tool that helps capture the elusive dynamics of interaction and improves the learning of macroeconomics.  Called MacroLab, it is an interactive learning environment driven by a system dynamics model of a national economy.  It is currently used to teach both distance learning and classroom macroeconomics courses at a community college in Virginia, where three experiments to test its effectiveness are underway.

        The model makes use of the traditional circular flow of income and spending recast in behavioral stock and flow terms as the nominal  demand side  of an economic system.  The  supply side  features a system dynamics representation of aggregate flows of real goods and services--production and sales--buffered by an inventory stock.  Sales trends and inventory conditions provide information feedback that affects prices, production goals, and employment of labor and capital.  With real sales driven by nominal spending, and with nominal income driven by real production, the reinforcing feedback loop is closed between the demand and supply sides.  Numerous counteracting feedback loops moderate the system s behavior, with some contributing to business cycles.  The interface allows users to switch model sectors on and off, trigger various  shocks  to the system, and modify key parameter assumptions.
          The model economy takes shape weekly as the  story  feature of MacroLab displays and explains the structure of sectors being added to the model, and suggests new behavior that can be expected. After reading each story, students participate in simulation activities that compare behaviors of evolving structures while exploring traditional macroeconomics topics. They answer questions designed to assess understanding of model structure revealed in the story, they model behavior observed during simulation experiments, and they explore the connection between structure and behavior.  Students post their work online and receive instructor feedback soon thereafter.
        Workshop participants will  test drive  MacroLab and hear what students have to say.  They will also receive a demo CD, plus  quick start  training in the use of STELLA, a user-friendly, model-building simulation software package.  Preliminary findings on MacroLab s effectiveness as an instructional tool will be presented, and workshop attendees will be invited to participant in future experiments.



12:00-1:15
Lunch - Ballroom A

1:15-1:45
Contributed Papers
Contributed Paper Sessions
E1-
Reza Oladi,Utah State University
A Simulated Experiment of a Customs Union, Room 314

We present a numerical simulation model, implemented in Excel, which can be used to expand student understanding of the theory of customs unions. The model allows examination of core customs union issues including trade creation, trade diversion, and the Kemp-Wan theorem. By responding to an experimental assignment that guides students through the simulation, students are able to learn the theory in a hands-on manner. We also attempt to measure the effectiveness of our simulation on students  learning outcomes.  Participants will see how to implement trade policy problems in Excel into classroom.

E2 -
Ileana Brooks, Aurora University
Education, Program and Course Outcomes, Room 310

With a new General Education Program at Aurora University stating specific outcomes and explicitly linking them to the university mission and values, Principles of Economics courses are not only now serving business students but university students that are supposed to achieve these new General Educations outcomes and values.  Since Business Program abilities/outcomes are also connected to the University Mission, the restructuring of the course outcomes, indicator and evaluations tools became more of a unifying task. In this paper, I present how General Education outcomes, program outcomes and course outcomes can be unified and achieved in principles of economics.  In addition, the challenges of finding effective evaluation tools of such outcomes are explored.  Students  perceptions of these tools are also discussed.

This presentation may offer a roadmap for those participants that are teaching Principles of Economics as a General Education course and have struggled in merging university/division/program outcomes.  Also, it will explore the different evaluation tools or assessment activities that have been used to assess these outcomes. 

E3 -
Joseph K. Cavanaugh,Wright State University - LC
Reducing The Workload Of Teaching Economics Online, Room 316

Although the online teaching format continues to grow in popularity, faculty members teaching these courses are finding that this type of course places much larger demands on their time then a traditional format course.  This paper outlines a number of ways to reduce these time demands while not making sacrifices to the quality of the instruction or the student experience.  Specific examples will be discussed of how course design changes have significantly reduce the time demands of teaching two principle economics courses.

Participants will leave with an outline containing specific examples of how to reduce the time demands of teaching economics online.  These examples will be particularly beneficial to faculty members who are considering developing their first online course.


1:45-2:15
Contributed Papers
Contributed Paper Sessions

F1 -
James B. Mosby, University of Detroit Mercy
Teaching National Income Accounting, Room 314

Students of Macroeconomics will be better able to handle the analysis if they have a good understandig of the nature and significance of National Income Accounting. Starting from the basic idea that a price of some good or service is simply a payment to the factors of production and and remembering that Macroeconomics is divided into four specific sectors (Personal. Private, Public, and Foreign), the computation of GDP (by both the expenditure and income methods), National Income, and Disposable Income follows more logically with no memorizing. Students develop an a more in-depth understanding of how the economy is organized.

Starting with the Natioinal Income Accounting foundation, teachers can more easily move to analysis of Consumption Spending, Income Determination, Monetary and Fiscal Policy, International Linkages, etc.

F2 -
James Luke, Lansing Community College
Adding Depth and Relevance to the Principles Course, Room 316

One of the major costs when Principles of Economics courses are adapted to an online-environment is a loss of perceived relevance, interest, and applicaton by the student.  In the tradtional face-to-face lecture format, the lecturers themselves contribute significantly to students' achieving the "ah-ha!" moment. This paper examines  a work-in-progress in modifying the course design and requirements of the online course itself to re-inforce economic decision-making and to help the student reflect on their own decision-making.  The course design  requires students to consciously optimizing and trade-off decisions regarding their own study activities and their own opportunity costs. What at first appears to be a very unstructured course, turns out to be very helpful in developing literacy and skill in applying basic economic concepts such as opportunity costs, marginal decision making, and optimization.

Instructors of economics will learn of successful course design and policies that help achieve the goal of enabling students to use basic concepts such as opportunity costs and marginal decision-making in their own lives. 

The course design has the added benefits of:  (1) reducing professorial workload, and (2) providing a sound alternative to the work-intensive  "active learning" and writing designs that have not successfully improved economics learning outcomes.


F3 -
Nozar Hashemzadeh and Ernie Wade, Radford University
Developing An OnLine Economics Course for MBA Candidates, Room 310

The authors have examined the pros and cons of on online course in basic economics for MBA candidates. The course will combine significant elements from both micro and macroeconomics. The main objective of the presentation is to highlight the importance of interactivity between the student and faculty, student engagement and assessment tools. A course has been developed and is scheduled for alpha testing in the Spring of 2004 academic year.


2:15-3:15
Technology Showcase

Technology Showcase - Ballroom B
Afternoon Break, food and coffee

Classroom Technology exhibits and demonstrations plus
  • Digital Pen Technologies in Lecture Presentations (live demonstrations of the Tablet PC and SMART Sympodium) - Steven C. Myers, The University of Akron
  • McGraw Hill classroom technologies
  • Pearson Education classroom technologies
Posters with their Presenters
  • Mary Ellen Mallia, RPI, Using Creativity to Teach Macroeconomic Indicators through Innovative Assessment
  • Dr. Veree Ethridge,University of St. Francis, Assessment through the syllabus
  • James B. Heisler,Hope College, Economics for Non-Majors: Using Literature and Creative Projects
Workshop presenters (a second look for classroom technologies presented earlier)
  • Sucharita Ghosh and Fancesco Renna, The University of Akron, Using ConcepTests and Peer Instruction to Improve Student Learning in Economics
  • Litsa Veronis, The Universiy of Akron, An Exercise in Hard Choices
  • Tod Porter, Youngstown State University, A Demonstration of MarketSim, an Internet-based Simulated Economy
  • David Wheat, Virginia Western Community College,  MacroLab:  An Interactive Learning Environment for Macroeconomics


3:15-4:45
Keynote and ILS Scholar Lecture
Keynote Address
Peter Kennedy
"Common mistakes made in classroom research"

ITL Visiting Scholar Lecture Sponsored by the Institute for Teaching and Learning

Student Union Theater

This session is free to the University of Akron community.

In his fifteen years editing the research section of the Journal of Economic Education he has been favorably impressed with the wide range of imaginative ideas for research based on classroom data. He has been unpleasantly surprised, however, by how often this research suffers from faulty logic or statistical blunders. This presentation will discuss several examples of these, with an eye to improving the quality of such research.  Some of this presentation will draw on his 2002 Ten Commandments paper from the Journal of Economic Surveys.  This address will have relevency for all who engage in the scholarship of teaching and learning regardless of discipline.


4:45-5:00
Final comments and farewell - Student Union Theater


Join us November 3-4, 2005 for the 3rd Annual Midwest Conference on Student Learning in Economics:  Innovation, Assessment and Classroom Research.

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