Welcome to this issue of CHEER, which will be my last as Editor. Earlier this year I decided that twenty-one years is quite long enough for me to occupy this role, and that it is time to hand things over to a younger person!
I won't bore you with too many reminiscences, but there are a few points that I would like to make about CHEER's development over the years. CHEER started out just as a printed news and reviews sheet but has now developed into what, I hope you will agree, is a proper journal. Submitted papers are sent to referees for review and then either rejected or accepted for publication with minor or major amendments as necessary. Of course this prolongs the publication process but leads to a higher quality of material appearing in the journal.
Readers will notice that CHEER is now truly an international journal. In this issue the authors of three of the papers are based in the USA and we have one paper apiece from authors in Australia, Japan and Greece. Other papers in recent issues have come from Germany, Spain, Norway and Qatar. This is greatly to be welcomed as it increases the flow of knowledge across the world and opens us up to new thinking and fresh ideas. Almost certainly this process has been assisted by the publication of the journal online, which has meant that CHEER has come to the attention of a greater number of people in more and more countries.
However, the increasing number of submissions from people from outside the UK seems to have been accompanied by a reduction in the number of papers coming from UK-based economists. I'm sure that this is not because innovations in teaching and learning economics with the assistance of ICT have died down in the UK so, please, get to your keyboards and write some papers about what you have been doing! If you have been using blogs, podcasts or plagiarism analysis software like Turnitin, or computers in parts of the economics curriculum not usually associated with computer-based learning (for example, the history of economic thought), or if you have been getting students to author material for Wikipedia, you may have some insights or results that the rest of us would find interesting.
Submissions (from in or outside the UK) can be made to CHEER via our website at http://www.economicsnetwork.ac.uk/cheer/submit.htm
This issue of CHEER includes two more papers that illustrate the way that Microsoft Excel can be used to assist the teaching and learning of relatively complicated models in economics: Ernst Juerg Weber shows us how to implement optimal control models on the spreadsheet and Toru Hokari et al. discuss the use of Excel for simulating Real Business Cycle models with the software. Then there are two papers that make use of computer algebra software: Hazera et al. show how Mathcad can complement the spreadsheet construction of binomial option trees and Kochanski looks at the use of Mathematica for analysing dynamic Cournot models.
Lovett describes the way in which software that he has developed can assist the teaching of some international trade models, and also comments on the (comparative?) advantage of using off-line software rather than the increasingly available on-line applications. Finally Ioakimidis reports on a study of student attitudes towards distance learning as compared with traditional classroom learning, examining the various psychological costs faced by students in each setting. She identifies the types of students who benefit most from each form of learning, or from a more blended learning approach that incorporates elements of both.