The main mode in which WinEcon is likely to be used is the Tutorial mode. This does not mean, however, that in this mode it would merely act as an impersonal tutorial. There are many ways in which the Tutorial mode could be used, each fulfilling particular pedagogic requirements of particular institutions or students.

  • Directed study in students' own time. Here the tutor assigns particular modules or parts of modules to be completed by students. The on-screen 'tutor' acts as the first-line tutor, with the real tutor being available for consultation at a later date, either at a clinic or a workshop or a live tutorial, or through the network by use of a bulletin board.
  • Self-directed study. Used in this way, students plan their own programme of study and use WinEcon as a back-up to their reading or as a preliminary to it. A variant of this would be the distance learning student who nevertheless can come to the institution in the evenings or weekends to use the network, or who has a copy of the WinEcon Student Version available from Amazon.co.uk.
  • Pre-sessional or back-up work for ab initio students. Here the student can use WinEcon as a means of preparation for a course in economics. Tutors can specify which modules are required to provide the necessary foundation for the course. Using WinEcon in this way would be particularly useful for students on a mixed-entry course dominated by students with A-level or equivalent, and where tutors were unwilling to spend much time on basic principles for fear of alienating the A-level students.
  • Pre-sessional or back-up work for direct entrants to the second level of courses, where students who had completed the first level had done so to a higher level than the direct entrant, or who had covered different material. This could allow admissions tutors to operate a much more flexible admissions policy. In the extreme case, students could be admitted with no formal economics qualifications, subject to them completing various WinEcon modules.
  • Preparatory/preliminary work for classes. Students might be given WinEcon modules to work through before attending lectures or seminars or doing assigned reading. This could allow students to get much more from their classes/reading.
  • Workshops. Here a group of students in a PC lab would simultaneously work on a particular module, either individually or in groups of two or three round a computer. The tutor could direct activities from the front, maybe with the use of a projector to display WinEcon on a screen. Alternatively the students could simply work through part of a module, with the tutor merely being available to answer queries. This latter model could prove to be a particularly valuable way of using graduate teaching assistants who have limited teaching skills. The recently introduced Web-linking features make integrating WinEcon into VLE's such as Blackboard™ and WebCT™ or linking to course notes in Word™ or PowerPoint™ extremely easy.
  • Preliminary work for seminars. Here students would be assigned particular sections of WinEcon modules and the seminar would involve discussions and/or questions based on this work. The seminar could either develop the theory or look at policy implications.
  • Seminars. Here the seminar would take place either in a PC lab, or in a seminar room with the tutor operating a single PC and projector. Either way, the WinEcon tutorial would be just part of the seminar. It could be used as initial work for the whole group, followed by small group discussions plus a plenary session at the end or followed by general discussion with the whole group. Alternatively the tutor could take one screen at a time and, with the group having completed it, initiate discussions on it before progressing to the next screen.
  • Lectures. Here, using a projector, specific WinEcon screens could be used to add variety to the lecture. Screens with animations could prove particulary useful to illustrate points made by the lecturer.
  • Remedial sessions. These could be run as workshops (again with the possible use of graduate teaching assistants) or as self-study sessions in the student's own time. Either specific sections or topics from modules could be allocated to students finding difficulties. Alternatively students themselves could treat WinEcon as a clinic to where they could go for help on a specific topic.
  • Revision for first level students. Despite the Tutorial mode having been designed primarily as a learning mode, it can also prove valuable as a revision mode, especially if the student is having difficulty pulling his/her knowledge together and wants to work through material again in a structured form.
  • Revision for second level students. Students studying intermediate micro or macroeconomics could use WinEcon to refresh their memories of the basics and ensure that they are building their knowledge on firm foundations.
  • Dabbling. Browsing through WinEcon and having a go at modules or sections that take their fancy could be an important means whereby students gain an interest in the subject and an appetite for discovering more. The modular nature of the software allows students to dip in in this way.
  • Collaborative learning. Two or three students sitting round a screen and jointly working through the topics and helping each other can be both sociable and a fruitful means of learning. What is more it can be a means whereby stronger students can help weaker ones.

The self assessment tests included in Introductory Economics open up additional uses for WinEcon.

  • Non-assessed tests: feedback for students. One of the costs of large numbers of students is the reduction in (or abandonment of) set pieces of work that are marked by the tutor but which do not count towards assessment. Yet students often find the feedback that they obtain from tutors' comments and marks to be very valuable. By using WinEcon, tutors can set tests and give exercises for students to complete and the software will provide a measure of feedback to the student.
  • Revision. Working through the self assessment questions can help students to test their comprehension and to identify areas where more work is required. Links from each question to the most relevant tutorial topic allows students to focus their revision on areas where their understanding is weakest.