Project Focus: student tests and decision making in economics lectures

Curo Martinez Mora and Nathaniel Patel

Project Team

Icon- group of 3, animated

Nathaniel Patel (Digital Associate)
Curo Martinez Mora (Digital Innovator)

Department: Economics



This project intends to increase the use of technological tools (mainly Tophat) in teaching Intermediate Microeconomics (EC2012 – 350 students) and Economics of Education (EC3044 – 18 students). Our objectives are to promote active learning and to increase student engagement and participation inside and outside the classroom. The final goal is to increase student learning and satisfaction.

How it works

Icon - activity (1)

Two main interventions will be carried out: During lectures, students will have an opportunity to connect a device (mobile, tablet, laptop) to Tophat and actively participate by: (i) Answering questions to test their understanding of the material explained in the lecture; responses will be recorded; a weekly league table could be published in Blackboard and the final winner will receive £20. (ii) Voting about aspects related to the module (e.g. holding a vote on a relevant economic problem studied, on whether I should do a piece of algebra or solve a problem, on the format of the revision lecture). The other proposed interention is to run several class experiments (at least two in Intermediate Microeconomics and one in Economics of Education).

The experiments are “Voting and Agenda Manipulation”, “Beyond the Tragedy of the Commons” and “Catchment Areas and Socioeconomic Segregation”. Depending on time availability, we could additionally decide to run a quick experiment on public goods in Microeconomics and another on student assignment mechanisms in Economics of Education. To simulate real life conditions, rewards will be awarded depending on the outcome of the experiment. These could take the form of extra marks or money (e.g. £20 to the winner). Less than £100 per year would guarantee sustainability.


This project led to an observed increase in attendance, engagement and student preparation. The student evaluations were positive, commenting on how Tophat had been used effectively. Additionally, this more interactive philosophy carried over into a more collaborative form of learning, with students coming up to complete questions on the board, instead of the tutor.

“…the use of Tophat engages students and… [having] games with incentives for increased grade is very useful.”

“Curro Martinez-Mora made the lectures very informative and easy to learn from, he also made it interactive using Tophat making us feel engaged and challenged to learn content.”

Find Out More: