Flex Courses

What is a flex course?

To redefine the limits of online and blended learning, GOA is creating a series of “flex courses” that teachers can embed in their curricula, bringing to schools the globally networked learning that is our hallmark. These courses will focus on timely and important topics that lay outside the frameworks of traditional disciplines. Previous flex courses include “U.S. Elections in the World,” “The Truth about Fake News,” and “Do Monuments Matter?”

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Registration is now CLOSED.

How do you know you’re making good decisions? Advertisers, social media, colleges, even your family, friends, and teachers, might be affecting the way you make choices. This course will allow you to explore the ideas, strategies, and tools to help you understand the hidden influences around you. Leveraging concepts of psychology, behavioral economics, and neuroscience, you’ll learn how others affect the choices you make and how you can have an impact on the decisions of others. You’ll test some tips out on yourself (and on willing participants) as well as interact with some expert guest speakers and students from many different schools. We want you to leave this course more aware of and better at the art and science of decision-making.

Who should take Designing Decisions?

This course is for students and educators interested in:

  • understanding the hidden practice of persuasion.
  • uncovering invisible influences on our thinking and behavior.
  • applying psychology and behaviorial economics to make better decisions.

What will I learn in Designing Decisions? Here’s a quick sample…

The status quo — or the default option — is a driving force in how we make decisions. We all have a tendency to choose the option that is recommended or preselected, even though we can change the default.

The next time you do one of these three things…

  • Download a new app
  • Set controls for a video game
  • Complete an online form

…ask yourself: What’s the “default”? What is being made really easy for me to ignore that I should be paying attention to? Is it a checked box I need to uncheck? Am I agreeing to something without reading it? Look out for these influences over your behavior and consider: should I make the extra effort to change the default? Come to the course with an example to share! Want to learn more? Check out this TED Talk by Dan Ariely, an expert on behavioral economics. 



Lavallee, Adam

Adam Lavallee, Mathematics and Economics Teacher, Episcopal Academy

Adam Lavallee teaches Mathematics and Economics at Episcopal Academy in Newtown Square, PA. Adam holds a PhD in Economics from Temple University and undergraduate Mathematics degree from Hamilton College. His interests and research include analytics, behavioral economics, sports, the labor force, and personal finance. He has presented at the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Annual Meeting, Pennsylvania Association of Independent Schools Biennial Conference, and Online Education Symposium for Independent Schools Conference. Follow Adam @adamlavallee.


Key Details

  • This two-week online mini-course is designed for students in grades 9-12. Middle school students are welcome but should be led by an adult from their home school.
  • Students will spend about two hours per week exploring content, engaging in discussions with guest speakers and each other, and completing coursework.
  • Most of the work of the course is asynchronous, with weekly opportunities to join synchronous events with guest speakers and/or discussion facilitators. You can tour through our recent flex course “The Truth About Fake News” to learn more about the format of these courses.
  • Students will be from many different schools and locations, and will participate in mixed discussion groups.
  • Flex courses are ideally suited for groups of students led by a teacher who wants to embed the online class into on-campus coursework, though individual students are welcome to enroll.
  • Unlike semester and yearlong GOA courses, flex courses are not offered for credit. While facilitators will be active in discussions and responsive to questions, they do not grade work nor do they offer personalized feedback on student work.

Flex courses are free for GOA member school students and educators.

Non-members are welcome to join (25.00USD/participant).