Retired econ professor's website continues to help students succeed
Retired UA economics professor Steven Reff's online textbook and study resource, Reffonomics.
Even in retirement, Steven Reff likes to bring a cheerful excitement to the world of economics, always hoping to provide students with fun, useful and free economics resources. It's that pursuit that keeps Reff active in building his online site Reffonomics as a means to achieving this.
Reff, executive director of Reff Enterprises and a University of Arizona graduate, retired from being a professor at the UA after 10 years of teaching economics. Though retired, Reff is continuing his work in economics education.
“I just retired, but I really want to be involved in economics and help students and teachers all over the world,” Reff said.
The Reffonomics site, reffonomics.com, houses an eTextbook which is completely free to students and the public. The site features interactive free response questions, supplemental videos and links to informative economics blogs and news sites.
“College costs were escalating and my class sizes were getting very large, I had two classes of 750 students,” Reff said. “If I chose a textbook that cost $250 a piece, that decision was gonna cost kids over $400,000.”
In response, Reff went to the head of his department, requesting permission to use the Reffonomics textbook, free of cost for students. The department approved Reff’s proposal, and the text has been utilized by economics students at the UA for a few years now. Students worldwide are beginning to take advantage of this resource.
In an attempt to stay busy during retirement, Reff is working on additional resources for teachers and students and staying involved with the Eller College of Management. Reff released a review site for students taking Economics 200, a course he launched online in 2015.
Reff has produced a paid, e-workbook available online as well a site containing teacher resources, which is expected to be released in October.
“I wanted to make all of these resources interactive to make reading fun. It is economics which doesn’t tend to be an exciting course,” Reff said.
In 2002, Reff sat down to write his textbook with around 40 years of teaching experience behind him. At the time, the textbook was solely online and ran like a movie. The Thomas R. Brown Foundation gave Reff a grant to catalyze completion of his economic learning resources.
The Thomas R. Brown Foundation gives millions of dollars to the UA community to support the development of community projects. According to the foundation, grants are given to projects that mature existing resources and advance community capacity.
“In an online course sometimes it’s hard to ask questions or get additional help. My teacher linked the Reffonomics resources to our course, and it helped me learn the course material,” said Kaley Richardson, a UA sophomore and Economics Major.
Currently, all Reffonomics materials are active online and available through reffonomics.com.
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