Welcome to the latest issue of CHEER. I make this the 40th issue of the Review, which originally started back in April 1987, published by the CALECO Research Group, part of what was then the School of Economics at Portsmouth Polytechnic. The early issues were just numbered sequentially, but by 1995 we had moved to a Volume system for each year, so issue 24 became Volume 9 No 1.
Since 1987 the CALECO Group has joined with various partner groups at the University of Bristol to produce CHEER. First it was CTI Economics, or the Computers in Teaching Initiative Centre for Computing in Economics to give it its full name. Then, in 2000, that group was replaced by the Economics Learning and Teaching Support Network (Economics LTSN). In April this year all the 24 LTSN subject centres were incorporated into the new Higher Education Academy. As a result Economics LTSN is now known as The Economics Network of the Higher Education Academy, or Economics Network for short. See http://www.economicsnetwork.ac.uk/about.htm for more details.
Meanwhile at Portsmouth the Polytechnic had become a University in 1992, and the School of Economics was renamed the Department of Economics within the business faculty (Portsmouth Business School). Earlier this year the Business School moved to a brand new building on the university’s central campus.
Through all these changes CHEER has continued to be published, originally just in printed form, but now of course appearing online as well. With some of these changes and other disruptions you may have noticed that the gaps in between issues of CHEER occasionally lengthened a bit. But now that we are a bit more settled both in Bristol and Portsmouth we plan to get back to a more regular pattern!
So, what is in store for you in this issue? One thing that CHEER has become known for is interesting spreadsheet applications for learning and teaching, and this issue has four papers looking at various uses of spreadsheets such as Excel. John Gilbert describes a Trade War Simulation/Experiment, Chris Hand demonstrates a spreadsheet implementation of a cellular automaton model (arising from the interaction of agents), Michael Backus shows how to incorporate explanatory variables into risk simulation models in Excel and Javier Faulin and Angel Juan describe SimuCall, their Excel Add-In for call centres simulation. Alejandro Hazera prefers to use the Mathcad solver for teaching portfolio optimisation and he illustrates how he goes about it in his paper. We have another interesting contribution from Jocelyn Paine, who proclaims the virtues of story telling (linked to a Virtual Economy). Lastly Angela Joyce provides a useful update on how SOSIG can help students of economics.
So I am sure that you will find something to interest you in this issue of CHEER and to stimulate you to try something different in your own teaching. And remember if you have used computers or associated technology in your teaching, or in supporting students’ learning, and you would like to share your ideas or your experiences, please write it up as a paper and send it to me for inclusion in CHEER. You can submit your paper via the online web form.