Professor Brianna Halladay uses MobLab in her principles & behavioral economics courses at Trinity College in Connecticut. We had a chance to catch up with her to discuss how she uses MobLab experiments!
1. Can you tell us more about your background? How did you come to be an economics professor?
I graduated with my Ph.D. in Economics from UCSB in 2017 where my dissertation, advised by Gary Charness, focused on behavioral economic questions relating to gender differences observed in the labor market and questions about experimental methodologies. I began my first tenure-track position in 2017 and just recently began a new tenure-track position at Trinity College.
2. Were MobLab’s games your first foray into bringing in-class experiments into your lectures, or had you previously used experiments in class?
While at UCSB, I was a teaching assistant for Principles of Microeconomics. I was lucky enough to be in one of the initial groups testing out MobLab. Through this experience, I observed very early on in my academic career how these types of hands on, interactive activities significantly supplement and support student comprehension. I knew from that point that when I was an instructor with my own course, I would incorporate in-class experiments as often as possible.
3. What attracted you to MobLab that you decided to use our technology in your class?
I’ve found that technology, visuals, and immediate feedback are essential for the success of the current generation of students. MobLab combines all three of these features while also being a fun way to break up the monotony of lectures!
4. Do you have a favorite MobLab game to play with students?
That depends on the course I am teaching. In my Behavioral Economics course, I always really enjoy the anchoring exercises. They are incredibly simple but extremely informative. When I display the results, it is so fun to see the shock on my student’s faces! In my Principles course, I really enjoy running the Pit Market game. Sometimes the notion that a perfectly competitive market will settle at equilibrium simply through “market forces” can seem a bit vague and hand wavy. Running even just one round of the Pit Market allows the students to concretely observe this phenomenon. Because supply and demand are the foundation for much of the analysis we cover, using the Pit Market to solidify my student’s grasp of the material sets them up for success as the course progresses.
5. What advice would you give a new instructor who wants to use games in their class?
Start simple. Don’t feel like you need to run a game in every class. Pick a few opportune times to introduce the games. Over time, as you become more comfortable, you can expand how often you use the games in your classes.