Tch-econ resides on a computer at Elon University and is maintained by Jim Barbour of the economics faculty. This is an e-mail based discussion list. The format is deliberate - this technology is most available to those at smaller schools and in remote areas of the world. Additionally, the subscribers have indicated that moving to a web-based discussion list, while more elegant, would be less useful since most of us do not take the time to actively seek out web conversations, but we do all read much of our email. All that aside I suppose it has not been converted to a Wiki or a Blog simply due to inertia on the part of the maintainer.
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a brief history of the list
This list grew out of an evening gathering at the Eastern Economic Association annual meeting in 1993. At that time several econ profs were having a conversation about teaching of the "this works and that doesn't" type. As the night wore on and the topics got more and more involved, someone pointed out that it would be nice to be able to continue this conversation over an extended period. This list is the result. Subscription to the list tends to hover in the 350-400 range with representation from all over the world.
the purpose of tch-econ
The topic here is very straightforward. This is a place to discuss ideas related to the teaching of economics. We particularly concentrate on undergraduate university-level teaching, but do occasionally foray into graduate or secondary-school teaching. This is also a place to make contacts and form collaborative teams to work on projects related to the scholarship of teaching and to multi-campus collaborative efforts. For example, several sessions at professional meetings have been initiated from here, at least two collaborative papers began here and there have been quite a few cross-campus teaching activities that began here.
There are only a few rules:
First and foremost - stay with the topic. This list has been very productive in part due to the willingness of the members to take conversations of a dogmatic or pejorative nature elsewhere.
Second - this is not the place to sell anything. It is quite appropriate for a book author to point out how they have dealt with a particularly difficult point in material presentation. It is not appropriate for a book author to post an advertisement for their book.
Third - be civil. We will find ourselves in disagreement (we are economists after all). That is fine. However, these differences are to be aired in civil discourse.
If you ever have any problems with the list, or with anything on the list, please feel free to contact me. I will help in any way I am able.
Jim Barbour, list manager
Department of Economics