My simple idea is to deliver fundamental content in an undergraduate macroeconomics course via Microsoft Excel® in a way that any economist can easily use for teaching purposes. My contribution is to provide a complement to conventional teaching that gives professors a different way to present macro models and incorporate data into their courses. The Excel files are meant for students, whereas the audience for this book is fellow professors.
A series of implications flow from the decision to target this book toward professors:
• A great deal of basic information can be safely omitted.
• Content is modular and stand-alone, so teachers can pick and choose what to use.
• Explanations are less detailed.
• Mathematics is used to present models compactly.
• Successful pedagogical practices or suggestions are included.
• Focus is placed on implementing models in Excel, including modifying the models.
• There is an emphasis on data sources and ways to quickly update data for class presentation.
• The writing style is more conversational because target readers are my peers.
The Excel workbooks and add-ins, available on the Web at www.depauw.edu/learn/macroexcel, are designed to be used by students with any textbook. Each Excel workbook contains links to screencasts: recordings of the computer screen, also known as a video screen capture, with audio narration. Each screencast is short, approximately five to ten minutes in duration, and walks the student through the steps needed to complete a task. All videos are grouped in a channel, available at vimeo.com/channels/macroexcel. A complete listing of all screencasts, organized by workbook, is available at www.depauw.edu/learn/macroexcel/screencasts.
This printed book describes each screencast, highlighting important points, as a way to minimize the time needed to choose which ones to use. It is recommended, however, that you view screencasts selected for your students to make sure you are familiar with the material, especially Excel functions and add-ins.
Although primarily designed with a course in intermediate macro in mind, many of the files and screencasts are useful for other courses. MaddisonData.xls, for example, could be used in introductory economics, development, and growth theory courses. Unem.xls could serve as a supplement for any labor economics textbook. Because the content is modular, the professor can pick and choose what, when, and how to use a particular Excel file or screencast.