Every semester during the last week of classes, students at Northern Kentucky University pack into Griffin Hall’s Digitorium to screen Econ Beats videos. The event is high energy and attracts students from across all of the university’s colleges. It’s a fun way to end the semester, and it brings attention to how economics can be fun.
Econ Beats is an innovative, semester-long project that requires students to work in groups to remake a popular song and infuse it with economic content. The project requires collaboration between economics students, who work on the economic content, and students enrolled in media production classes, who help to create video and audio to match the content. These videos are high quality and engaging, and the interdisciplinary nature of the assignment exposes students to different ways of thinking about economics.
To increase the level of engagement, we have partnered up with CentSai. The financial education site has graciously sponsored the event and is providing prizes for the first-, second-, and third-place groups. The top three teams are chosen by the audience, and the final order of the winners is determined by an economics professor, a media professor, and a former winner of Econ Beats.
For instructors interested in adopting this assignment, rubrics and timelines are available upon request. And there are plenty of potential extensions and modification to the assignment.
The collaboration between classes can easily be adjusted to poetry, theater, music, or English. It can also be done independently as part of an economics or personal finance course, without collaboration from other classes. The goal of the assignment is to make the topics feel relevant to the students in a fun and engaging way and to share it with the community around you.
Here are examples of submissions from spring 2016 and fall 2015:
Dr. Al-Bahrani is the Director of the Center for Economic Education and an assistant professor of economics at Northern Kentucky University