You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2012.

52 students taking Economics 1201 in Winter Session 2012 did just that.  Professor’s Harmon’s Online Principles of Microeconomics continued to be an attractive draw in the University’s ever-growing portfolio of Winter Term Online Courses.  First offered in Winter Term 2010, Harmon’s course drew 29 students and the same number in 2011.  This Winter Intersession, though, enrollment increased by 80%.  The jump may have been related to the recent UConn Today Article 11/16/2011, describing how mobile devices, Facebook, and Twitter are incorporated in the course. 

The course is offered entirely online and condenses an entire semester’s material into an 18-day period, beginning shortly after Christmas, and ending just before Spring term begins.  (See “Boot Camp Economics,” UConn Econ Blog , 4/19/2010, for a description.) The course has 2 proctored exams, and students can elect to take the exams at the Storrs Campus Homer Library or at alternate more conveniently located certified proctoring center.  This winter term 14 students (27%) took their exams at alternate off-campus proctoring centers.  Two of the students took their exams in locations far from Connecticut:  France, and China. 

Bern Dibner took his final exam in Paris, France.  He writes, “I am a dual major in Mechanical Engineering and German Studies and am in my final semester (10th) at UConn. This results in the requirement to take many classes including intersession classes. As a dual degree student, I have to fill the general education requirements of both the College of Liberal Arts and Science and the School of Engineering, which is my general reason for taking the class. I choose this class specifically among those which would fill the requirement, because I thought it would be an interesting departure from my normal course work and useful for my general education. I spent a year abroad in Stuttgart, Germany studying and doing an internship Daimler AG and my trip to France this winter was to visit friends I met in Germany, and, more concretely, to follow-up potential job opportunities in France and Germany after college.  Being able to take a course while away from Storrs is extremely advantageous, especially considering the limited offerings of the Storrs community, particularly when school is not in normal session.  More   importantly, online classes such as this allow students like myself to graduate on time while attempting more ambitious academic programs. I wish I could have taken more intersession courses as I am going to have to take 21 credits this Spring to graduate.”  Another student took the final exam in Chaozhou, Guangdong Province China.  She is a freshman majoring in accounting and visited her parents during the winter break. 

Winter Intersession online courses are increasing popular at Uconn.  University statistics show a steep acceleration in growth since 2010.  In 2010 the online enrollment was 102 students, in 2011 it grew by 70% to 173, and in 2012 it grew by 115% to 371.  Enrollments in the traditional face-to-face class have not increased as quickly, and the share of online enrollment in total winter intersession enrollment has risen from 20% in 2010 to 58% in 2012.

Here are pictures of the alternate proctoring centers in France and China:

(Left) American Library in Paris, France. (Right) Ceramics School in Chaozhou, China.


Professor Enrico Zaninotto of the University of Trento, Italy, is visiting the Economics Department for the Spring semester 2012. Enrico was educated at the University of Venice and at the Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve. He joined the University of Trento in 1994, after stints at the University of Venice and the University L. Bocconi in Milan. At Trento he has served as vice rector and dean, and helped start what is now a well-regarded doctoral program in Economics. Enrico’s research interests are in the economics of organization, especially coordination theory and entrepreneurship and firm dynamics. (His resume is here.) Enrico is in Room 418 Monteith. Please stop by and introduce yourself.

Professor Ross receives NIH funding to study the effect of friendship networks on the health behavior of adolescents.  Professor Ross with Professors Fletcher at Yale University and Cohen-Cole at the University of Maryland were awarded a major R21 grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.  Under this award, they will develop and implement new approaches to identify the causal effect of the friendships that a student forms in school on key health related behaviors, such as smoking, drinking, weight gain and sexual relations.  In the proposed research, the authors will attempt to isolate the causal effect of friends from confounding factors, such as students sorting into specific friendships based on their unobservables or choosing friends who exhibit similar behaviors by exploiting across grade differences in the environment experienced by students whose families selected into the same school, but who happened to have children of slightly different ages.  One aim of their study will be to compare students who made very similar friendships as other students in the same school, but due to their grade were exposed to friends who exhibited different levels of smoking or drinking. In another aim, their study will the examine differences in friendship network structure between adjacent grades and the impact of those differences on health behaviors.