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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


House Price Determination

by
 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

4.25 stars
Content Quality: 4.25 stars
Effectiveness: 4.25 stars
Ease of Use: 4 stars
Reviewed: Feb 02, 2012 by Business Editorial Board
Overview: This interactive simulation helps students to get a numerical visual on what the effect is and by how much on the concepts of demand, supply, equilibrium and elasticity based on the real live changes in the household income, in government regulation and in the economic climate. There is an opportunity for the student to respond to both objective and subjective questions that is followed by concise explanation as well. In addition, there is provision of a variety of question type ideas where the simulation could be used and appreciated. This simulation is based on how the price of a house is determined in the United Kingdom.
Learning Goals: • The student will be able to solidify his/her understanding of economic concepts on supply, demand, equilibrium and elasticity that is applied to the housing market. • The student will be able to interact and see how much [any by what percentage] the market equilibrium price and quantity changes given a change in 3 factors – change in household income, change in government regulation and a change in economic climate. • The student will have an appreciation of the effect of the 3 real life settings provided and accompanied with succinct explanations.
Target Student Population: • Beginner/Introductory/Survey Economics, Introduction to Macroeconomics, Principles of Macroeconomics, Introduction to Microeconomics, Principles of Microeconomics and/or Business Students • Non-economics or Non-business students taking an Economics and/or Business course as a minor
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: Basic computer skills and foundational knowledge of the concepts of home pricing in the UK. Will need to have access to databases to collect specific data required for the simulation. Access to the Internet
Type of Material: Online Interactive Simulation
Recommended Uses: • This is useful as a teaching tool that can also facilitate discussions when covering the application of the concepts via the real life exercises in class. • The simulation can also serve as a study aid when reviewing the concepts away from the classroom or class time.
Technical Requirements: Browsers: Internet Explorer 8 & Firefox, Flash

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 4.25 stars
Strengths: • The simulation is very focused on the defining of the cost of a house in the UK • Provides easy to understand of principles • Identifies a clear and succinct set of learning objectives based • Provides essay questions, interactive data, data questions, and additional study questions • The main strength of this content piece is the availability of a variety of content and accompanying resources to illustrate the identified concepts.
Concerns: • Had very little introduction to presentation • The author provided little background on the topic, no real explanation of economic impact • Very specific course content, difficult to use outside of the housing industry in the UK • Website was not very clear and consisted of one page • This simulation could be further enhanced by showing the visual effect on the demand and supply curves both before and when the variables are changed.

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 4.25 stars
Strengths: • Simulation will demonstrate economic concepts and principles that will affect the valuation of a home in the UK • Learners are able to learn home valuation pricing from this presentation • A very quick, useful and effective as a teaching tool to show in class on how changing the numerical values of various determinants of demand and supply can have the corresponding effects on equilibrium and the elasticity of price and quantity. • The instructor can further complement this with graphical illustrations of the supply and demand curves on the side.
Concerns: • Did not find an indication of what perquisite knowledge would be required for this presentation • Learners need to understand the web site presentations are designed around a simulation where the numbers are provided by the learner to define the home valuation • Single focus presentation, did not define learning to be accomplished • If the course is geared more for economic analysis, then its misses the understanding of how the calculations were done behind the scene. Perhaps the site can be further enhanced by providing links from the simulation model to a page that shows and explains how the calculations were done.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 4 stars
Strengths: • Website was easy to connect to and easy to maneuver on the page • Webpage had a link to other optional websites that discuss “Background Information, Effects of Policy changes and explanation of the input variables” for example • A plus point is the inclusion of both objective and subjective questions for the end user to respond to and check their response with short concise explanation. • Another advantage would be the ‘Further Questions’ section that provides ideas on how to use the simulation in different question types.
Concerns: • Needed to be more explanation as to how the presentations would or could be applied to an academic setting • Introduction to the simulation needs to be better explained and defined. • The Learner needs to be able to understand not only impact but potentially the effect on the housing market in the UK if any • The linear organization laid out on a single page with links that the end user needs to go through each links to understand and appreciate the simulation can be daunting to the initial user. It takes some time getting used to the format. • Also, once you click on the links on the page, there is no ‘back’ button.

Other Issues and Comments: An up-to-date interactive supplemental piece that helps in learning the fundamental economic concepts of demand, supply, equilibrium and elasticity better relative to the static textbook. Although the housing market scenario is from the U.K. with the use of pound for currency, it can easily be applied to understand the housing market of any country with similar model setting.