Welcome to ZOLE – Zicklin’s Online Learning and Evaluation Initiative

A letter from Ted Joyce, Professor of Economics & ZOLE Director

The mission of ZOLE is to promote and support the use of technology to enhance learning and to promote the scholarship of teaching and learning. We interpret technology broadly, from courses delivered purely online, to the use of Excel in a traditional classroom format. The unifying theme is the application of new technologies to engage students, build skills, save resources, and advance learning.

The purpose of this website is to keep the Baruch community up-to-date on pedagogical innovation taking place in Zicklin. But ZOLE is also about evaluation. We want to know what works and, equally important, what doesn’t. We have a group of fellows who will work with faculty to design and assess the effect of changes in classroom instruction. The goal is to create a repository of results so that we can recommend changes based on data and not anecdotes.

Our initial posts go back to 2013 in which we describe the randomized experiment in economics that tested whether students meeting once a week do as well as students who meet twice if both have available the same level of online resources and support. Since then, we have undertaken annual evaluations of student performance on a course-wide final in the introductory class of microeconomics. We are encouraging other departments to organize course-wide finals in their large introductory classes as a way to insure student progress across multiple sections. This year the Accountancy Department has organized course-wide finals in their two, huge introductory classes.

We at ZOLE encourage and will support faculty interested in the research of teaching and learning. We have published research in top economic field journals evaluating online and hybrid formats. We have compared results from randomized designs to those from observational studies in order to assess the effect of student choice of format on performance. The scholarship of teaching and learning is an exciting way to combine rigorous analysis with our vocation as teachers.

ZOLE has run an online Excel learning model since the Spring of 2014. In the fall of 2018 more than 5600 students in ACC 2101, ACC 2203, CIS 2200, FIN 3000 and MGT 3121 will learn Excel online as part of their course work. ZOLE administers the entire program. In collaboration with the Student Academic Counseling Center (SACC), we run a help desk, organize workshops, and do all the grading for faculty. Exit surveys conducted each semester indicate that over 70 percent of students describe the module as a valuable learning experience.

Finally, we must thank Larry Zicklin and Joseph Pignatelli for their support of ZOLE. Their generous donations have enable us to expand our services and support faculty efforts at innovation and evaluation.

We welcome your feedback.

Ted Joyce
Professor of Economics &
ZOLE Director