If you want to try to better understand the economy, ask University of Nevada, Reno Economics Professor Brad Schiller. He wrote the book on it, literally.
Schiller's Essentials of Economics, first published in 1992, is the top-selling textbook for one-semester survey, or introductory, economics courses in the country. And now, in his latest (eighth) edition, being used in hundreds of colleges across the country for the first time this semester, Schiller is breaking new ground in the textbook industry. He has incorporated the use of YouTube into each chapter.
"We've cherry-picked YouTube videos that have some strong economics content or economics message, annotated each with one or two paragraphs of explanation, and provided some suggested questions for discussion," he said.
Each textbook includes an access card with URLs and codes that students use to access online lessons, including the YouTube videos. Some of the one- to five-minute videos feature work from unknowns, while others are clips from well-known pop culture, such as Saturday Night Live and Seinfeld. There are rap songs, skits, cartoons and more.
"It's the first time there's been a YouTube integration in a textbook in any field," said Schiller, who has been teaching economics for 40 years. "I expect many others will do this in the future. We're always looking for another bell or whistle to make it more interesting for the students, which hopefully results in them learning a little more."
In addition to the Essentials of Economics textbook, Schiller has published 12 editions of The Economy Today, one of the top-five selling textbooks in the country for courses in the principles of microeconomics and microeconomics. He is working on a 13th edition, which will also include the YouTube integration.
Schiller's The Economics of Poverty and Discrimination textbook is in its 10th edition and has been the top-selling textbook on that subject for almost 40 years, since he published his first edition, in 1972.
"Brad Schiller is a perfect example of how hard our faculty work to keep their teaching current, both in terms of content and delivery," Greg Mosier, dean of the University's College of Business, said. "Brad's always revising or updating his classes, textbooks and materials to make sure his students at the University of Nevada, Reno, and students around the country, are getting the most current information using methods and technology that will engage them and provide a head start for their academic and professional careers."
Schiller is also frequently quoted in the media about economics issues, and has published several op-ed pieces in high-circulation national publications, such as The Wall Street Journal. He is organizing the Third Annual Economics Teaching Conference to be held in Reno March 10 - 12, where teachers, technology companies and others will share effective economics teaching techniques and technology. Go to the College of Business website for more information.