Landmark College

Case Study

The flexibility of the CORE Econ curriculum is ideal for the neurodiverse students at Landmark 

Name: Tamara Stenn
Name of Institution: Landmark College
Type of institution: Private college
Location: Putney, Vermont, United States
Course: Communication and Entrepreneurial Leadership (view syllabus; view a sample adapted unit; view a sample workbook)
CORE textbook: The Economy
Number of students: 35
Length of course: 15

For a college that exclusively caters for students who are neurodiverse, including ones with a learning disability, ADHD or autism spectrum disorder, the CORE Econ curriculum is ideal teaching material. The colour coding of the six main themes, the ability to download files that are suitable for text readers, and clickable links all assist with their learning.

Dr Tamara Stenn, Assistant Professor at Landmark College, uses CORE Econ’s The Economy textbook for microeconomics, macroeconomics and 21st century issues in economies that are part of its Communication and Entrepreneurial Leadership BA degree.

“The clickable links really helps them with their learning, and other students love the search function in CORE Econ and how easily they can just bounce to the area that they’re looking for just by using the search,” she says.

“I’ve been using it for three years now and it’s just been really fascinating hearing and learning from students how this has become such an accessible go-to resource for them.”

For Dr Stenn, who is part of the human development and capabilities economic approach, the CORE Econ curriculum offers a more global outlook to economics that cannot be found in traditional textbooks that rely almost wholly on American and European examples.

She has used an example of a family in China that has experienced inequality and compared that to a family in the US that is experiencing inequality, which she says eliminates a lot of the preconceived ideas that people have of others. “You can have a sophisticated economic story coming out from 16th century Morocco which actually has a lot more complexity than anything we’re seeing in the United States,” she says.

Landmark has small classes and teachers go through a course more slowly, for example taking two weeks to cover a unit that a conventional college might cover in a week. This enables teachers to go into more depth and take advantage of the data behind the charts and graphs that lend them to set more complex assignments. “I find I use it a little more slowly than maybe other people use it but we’re more thorough in how we use it,” she says. “You can do applied learning throughout the semester, going back to that same database.”

One element that works particularly well at Landmark is the Capstone units that can be taught as standalone units at the end of a course.

Dr Stenn took the Economics of the Environment unit and worked with her class to apply that to the Comprehensive Energy Plan developed by the US state of Vermont.

“We actually identified that micro wind was an underutilised resource in Vermont that could easily be built into the landscape so that was kind of cool. We presented that report to the state,” she says. She hopes that at some point CORE Econ will be able to include a timeline of the history of economic thought that would benefit her students.

Stenn is herself part of a project called Catalyst 2030, a collaboration of NGOs, social entrepreneurs, intermediaries, funders and academics that is mobilising efforts to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. She is using CORE Econ materials as part of a mapping project.

More recently she had made use of the CORE Econ COVID-19 Collection that brings together teaching resources focused on the pandemic. It includes materials for remote teaching using CORE’s e-books, an analysis of the Covid-19 outbreak using CORE concepts, as well as assignments, exercises and literature.

“I can use the CORE materials to explain the pandemic and they then reference back to particular chapters in the book. So, it makes it really easy for me to teach the students, some of whom have already done those chapters in other classes,” Dr Stenn says.


Published on 15 September 2021