Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Explaining the Financial Crisis, Assuming No Prior Knowledge

. Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I was a guest lecturer in a large undergrad lecture class yesterday, for Intro to International Politics. It was the first time I've gotten to speak for 50 minutes to an audience of several hundred, so good practice/preparation for me. I gave a talk on the financial crisis. Before that, I'd done an informal survey of some students to find out what they knew about the crisis, and the consensus was that some of them had some vague idea that a crisis had occurred, and a very small minority of those knew that it had something to do with housing, but that's it. The majority have no economics training at all. So the lecture was very much geared towards explaining to them why this was important, and how and why we can think about it in political terms, in ways they could understand.

I had to cover a lot of ground pretty quickly, but I think I covered my bases fairly well, given the constraints. I would've liked to spend more time on the politics than the brush-clearing, but I just couldn't assume enough prior knowledge to make that happen. Ideally, this would be split into two or three lectures, at minimum. Anyway, the students didn't complain to my face, so it couldn't've been too bad.

No video/audio, unfortunately, but here are the slides. Since I had so much to cover in 50 minutes, I made the slides pretty detailed, and gave them to the students so they'd be able to just listen to me rather than furiously scribble notes.


Note1: In the pdf version of the slides, there's a time series animation of banking integration embedded in slide 18 that probably won't show up in Scribd. That can be found here. The students seemed to like that part especially.

Note2: The gorgeous Beamer template was created by the excellent Skyler Cranmer. Technically, I think I'm using it without his permission -- I got it from a grad student who got it from a grad student who got it from a grad student who got it from him, or something -- so credit to him, and hopefully he doesn't mind my free-riding. Whenever he gets back from Europe I'll ask him if there's a favor I can trade in exchange.


Explaining the Financial Crisis, Assuming No Prior Knowledge
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