Applied Economics Teaching Resources

an AAEA Journal

Agricultural and Applied Economics Association

Teaching and Educational Methods

Teaching Water and Sanitation Economics and Policy with a Focus on Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Dale Whittingtona(a,b) and Duncan Andrew Thomas(c)
(a)University of Manchester, (b)University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, (c)Aarhus University

JEL Codes: I23, L95, Q25
Keywords: Water, sanitation, Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector, massive open online courses, MOOCs, low- and middle-income countries

Publish Date: August 10, 2023

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This paper describes our experience from 2010 to 2018 developing and delivering a multidisciplinary graduate course on “Water and Sanitation Policy and Planning in Developing Countries.” This course was synchronously taught at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Manchester, UK. We describe both our learning objectives and the conceptual framework for policy analysis that were used to structure the course. We discuss our problem-based learning approach to case studies and policy memo format assignments. We summarize eleven key messages that we want students to think hard about when reflecting on the course materials. This aligns with our aim to prepare students to address key challenges of water and sanitation access and provision that they could encounter in careers in the global Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) sector. We discuss how our teaching was improved from 2012 after we converted our in-person class for parallel delivery as two massive open online courses (MOOCs) on Coursera. This afforded more class time to use a “flipped” classroom format, enabling more active participation because students could watch recorded lectures outside class.

About the Author: Dale Whittington is a professor with the Department of Environmental Sciences & Engineering at Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Global Development Institute at the University of Manchester, United Kingdom ( Duncan Andrew Thomas is a Senior Researcher, Department of Political Science, Danish Centre for Studies in Research and Research Policy, Aarhus University

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