Ready to Rock? Econ Beats allows students to vote for best video

"I am proud of the work the students have done and want to share it with our campus and community."

By Becky Weatherford
Marketing + Communications

Q: Where do the worlds of economics, videography, and hip-hop collide? 

A: Here at NKU!

On Wednesday, Dec. 2, NKU students, faculty, and staff are invited to the Econ Beats screening event, where audience members will have the chance to vote on the top five video projects submitted by students this semester. 

Still confused as to what Econ Beats is all about? Here we talked with the Econ Beats project founder, Dr. Abdullah Al-Bahrani, to learn about the project’s beginnings, its purpose, and how it’s transformed into a transdisciplinary project between Economics, Electronic Media & Broadcasting, and Music

INSIDE NKU: Describe Econ Beats and its origins.

Abdullah Al-Bahrani: Econ Beats originally started off as an end-of-semester creative quiz. Students were required to write a poem or haiku using economics content. Over the years, the assignment evolved to a semester-long project where students picked a song and remade it into economic content. The best song and video every semester was submitted to a national competition called rockonomix.com

INSIDE: How is the project different this year? 

AA: In collaboration with my colleagues Brad Libis, John Gibson, and Sarah Drabik from Electronic Media and Broadcasting, we have created an interdisciplinary project. Students in Principles of Macroeconomics (Eco 200) and Single Camera Production (EMB 210) worked together to create the music videos. Econ students focused on the lyrical content while EMB students are responsibility for the video and audio production 

INSIDE: What do you hope students take away from Econ Beats? What is its ultimate goal?

AA: For Econ students the goal is for them to learn how to use economic language correctly, to better understand economic concepts, and to enjoy the learning process by connecting class projects with students' interests. EMB students learn to produce a music video and work with their first "real world " client. Both groups get to learn how to work in a group environment.

INSIDE: What other learning opportunities arose from the project this year? 
 
AA: I got to work with Davis Hannah on creating a logo for the project. Davis is a sophomore graphics design major enrolled in Econ 200. He took on the initiative to create a brand for the project. Davis worked directly with Becky Weatherford, the College of business marketing manager, and learned new design techniques. 

INSIDE: Talk about the music videos that your students are creating. What message(s) are they trying to get across?

AA: Students have the flexibility to pick their own economic topics and themes to discuss. Some topics that are discussed this semester are employment, economic growth, the role of government, income and measures of happiness..etc. I am excited about how students have approached the projects.

INSIDE: Can you briefly describe one of your favorite video projects, and what the student(s) did to set it apart? 
 
AA: Over the years I have been impressed by the projects students submitted. I use the previous video submission to start off class and help explain new concepts. I am partial to the first ever winners of rockonomix.com competition "99 Problems”. (Click here to watch the video.)

INSIDE: How will these learning experiences help students in their professional careers?

AA: Students are learning how to use economic language and concepts in an everyday context. They are learning how to work in groups. More importantly, they are learning how to seek help when they need it. It has increased the communication between my students and me. 

INSIDE: Anything else about Econ Beats that you’d like to share?

AA: I am excited about the screening on Dec. 2! I am proud of the work the students have done and want to share it with our campus and community. It's important for us—faculty and students—to enjoy the learning process.