Vecon Lab Hints for Large Classes

I. Print a Student Guide Sheet for Distribution in Advance:
  • Tell students to Google "Veconlab login" to log in from any browser using the address http://veconlab.econ.virginia.edu/login.htm
  • Provide them with your session name to be used in the login screen.
  • For medium size classes with wireless service, it is usually easy to arrange for enough students to bring laptops so that students can work in groups of two or three.
  • If the experiment is to be done in the evening, e.g. individual decision experiments or those with "stop" buttons for the instructor, you may have to give people the option of participating in some subset of the experiments, or of doing something else if they are not available in the evening.
  • Tell them that they will receive an error if they use the wrong session name.
  • Specify a login time or time window for logging in.
  • Remind them to confirm decisions and to hit the update button to get new results or messages that you may send about starting times and delays.
  • You should become familiar with the Send Message option on the View Logins page where you can see which participants have connected.

II. Select Appropriate Games for Large Classes
  • There are asynchronous options for the Call Market and the Production and Gains from Trade program. If this option is selected, students participate in a market with "other" decisions being retrieved from a database table for a prior experiment. The on-ling demonstration for the Traveler's Dilemma is also set up this way.
  • The Limit-Order Asset Market and Political Event Markets (both under the Finance/Macro menu) have been desiged to be used outside of class, and the admin-results pages have a Stop buttons that you can use to terminate trading in a market period even if some participants have failed to enter decisions.
  • The Double Auction (DA) and Call Markets (CM) are set to allow people to start making bids and asks as soon as they log in and finish instructions. In each case, you can stop a round by pressing a Stop button on the admin results page, which is useful if some participants log off. The theoretical predictions are calculated only using the values and costs for those who actually log in. These predictions will be a little misleading, however, if some people log in and then do not actually participate.
  • It may be best to start with an individual decision problem like a monopoly setup for the Cournot game (CR). Other individual decision problems are: production and gains from trade (PGT) with the "production" setup, sequential search (SR), lottery choice (LC), or the probability matching prediction game (PM). Beginning with an individual decision problem enables students to become familiar with the software, and erratic behavior will not slow others down.
  • A one-round setup with correspondingly higher payoffs will minimize delays, as in programs like the Guessing Game (GG) or the Voting Game (VT). In addition, it is easy to specify a single-round market for the Call Market (CM), which can run overnight. But you will have to terminate ("call") the market manually from the Admin Results page of that program. The guessing game (GG) also has a Stop button that you can use in a large class to stop a round and go on to the next if some people are lagging behind, have logged off, or have lost their connections.
  • If you wish to have multiple rounds, select the Go at Own Pace setup option that is available for most games. This lets people go ahead and begin without waiting for a specified number of others to log in. In addition, it ensures that people who log in at about the same time will continue to be matched together (fixed matchings) and can continue at their own pace in subsequent rounds.
  • Use small groups, even of size 2, which will minimize the effects of a slow decision maker.

    Vecon Lab - November 17, 2018