Syllabus Economic Problems and Policies: EC101-740, Summer 2013 The Online Experience NOTE: Be sure to read the entire syllabus!!
II. TEXT: Michael Mandel, Economics: The Basics, Second Edition
III. PURPOSES AND OBJECTIVES OF THE COURSE As part of this course, you will: A) Use the concept of opportunity cost in making decisions involving scarce resources. B) Use supply and demand analysis to explain what happens to equilibrium price and equilibrium quantity when there are exogenous changes such as in income, resource prices and technology. C) Understand the role of markets in allocating scarce resources. D) Understand the role of market failure as a reason for government intervention in markets. E) Be able to analyze important social issues from the perspective of an economist. F) Be able to evaluate policy decisions with respect to important social issues. G) Be able to read and understand economic news as reported in various media. H) Identify the effects of monetary and fiscal policies on macroeconomic conditions.
EC101 is a University Studies course; therefore, we will address the nine objectives of the University Studies program, some more than others. We will be particularly concerned with the first three objectives: Locate and Gather Information, Communication Skills and Thinking Critically. This is a course about economic thinking. That is, we look at and demonstrate how economists think about things. This is not a memorization course where you will be expected to learn a lot of facts and figures. Rather, you will learn how to think like an economist. Homework and bulletin board assignments will give you practice and experience in thinking like an economist. Quizzes will emphasize the application of economic thinking. When doing homework, do NOT quote from the textbook. Rather, put the answer into your own words to demonstrate your understanding of the topic.
IV. GRADING AND EXPECTATIONS OF STUDENTS Your grade will be determined by your performance on five major components of student activities in this course.
First component: There will be two homework assignments each week based on the assigned readings for the course. These will include short readings and applications of chapter material to specific problems or issues. Homework assignments will normally be due on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Late assignments will lose 10 points for every day late. Do not copy verbatim from the text when answering homework questions and problems. You must show your understanding of the material by using you own words. You will be allowed to drop the lowest homework score. Weekly assignments will constitute 30% of your grade.
Second Component: There will be 14 online quizzes concerning the material for each week. There will be an online quiz each Tuesday and Thursday and they will be available from 12:01 AM until 11:59 PM. These will be multiple choice quizzes. You will be allowed to use your texts, etc., but they will be timed quizzes (20-25 minutes allowed) such that if you have not read or studied the material previous to taking the quiz, you will likely not do very well. You will be allowed to drop your lowest quiz grade. Quizzes will count as 35% of your grade.
Third Component: Two short papers will be assigned during the semester. There will be 2 articles assigned during the semester that will require you to read and then do an economic analysis of the article. These will be articles available online and will be of some length (2-3 pages). You will demonstrate your understanding of economics through your analysis of the articles. Papers will be graded using the following scheme: 20% Writing, 20% Organization and 60%, Economic Analysis. Late analyses will lose 10 points for every day late. The papers will constitute 10% of your grade. Organization refers to how well the paper is organized. Main ideas should be set off into paragraphs and the paragraphs used to develop the main ideas. The paper should “flow” well with appropriate transitions between main ideas. Writing refers to several things: correct grammar usage, clear presentation of ideas, appropriate word choice, etc. Economic analysis is the most important element. There should be use of appropriate economic ideas and theories and they should be used correctly. Always remember that this is an economics course and economic theories and ideas should be used to support your point of view on a particular topic.
Fourth Component: There is a bulletin board for this course and you are expected to use it on a weekly basis. The bulletin board is to be used for discussing questions that may arise from the reading of the text; for answering questions on the week’s material that are posed by the instructor; for making comments on the week’s material and relating the week’s material to your personal experiences. Your grade on the Bulletin Board will be determined by both quantity and quality: how often you use the Board and the relevancy and importance of your comments. To earn a minimal grade of ‘C’ on the Bulletin Board, you must use the Board on a regular basis for making relevant comments. The Bulletin Board question for a given week will be posted by the morning of the Monday that the week starts. YOU MUST RESPOND TO THE POST BY SUNDAY OF THE FOLLOWING WEEK IN ORDER TO RECEIVE CREDIT. POSTS AFTER THE DEADLINE WILL NOT BE READ OR GRADED. You must keep up with the pace of the course and make comments on that week’s material during the week it is being covered. Also note that since you have a week to post your response, I will not be very sympathetic if you wait until Sunday evening and find there is a problem with your internet provider that prevents you from making your post. If you wish to avoid such potential problems, make your post early in the week. There will be a total of seven bulletin board assignments and you will be allowed to drop the lowest score. The Bulletin Board will be 10% of your grade.
Fifth component: There will be a final exam available all day Thursday and until noon on Friday of the final week, August 1-2. The test will be 15% of your final grade.
GRADING SCALE FOR ALL ASSIGNMENTS: 90-100 A 80-89 B 70-79 C 60-69 D 0 – 59 F
EXPECTATIONS 1. It is expected that you will use the bulletin board on a regular basis and make weekly contributions to the discussions. 2. It is expected that all work you submit in this course will be your own work. By enrolling in this course, you agree to submit only work that you have completed. You will not copy someone else’s work and will not submit work that has been completed by another person. 3. It is expected that all homework will be neat and easy for the instructor to read and to understand. 4. Article analyses will be typed or submitted online in a file in MS-WORD format or as a text file. The grading of this component of your grade will be as follows: Writing: 20% Organization: 20% Economic Analysis: 60% 5. It is expected that you alone will complete online quizzes. You may use your notes and text for the quizzes, but since the quizzes are timed, it is important that you be prepared for the quiz at the time of taking it. You will get only one chance to complete the weekly quiz. It is further expected that you will not divulge the contents of the quizzes to other individuals in the course. 6. VERY IMPORTANT: BE SURE TO READ!!!! Due to difficulties experienced in the past and other reasons, students MUST (absolutely no exceptions) use an Southeast email address in this web course. A SE Key is a computing account that is used for email, accessing protected portions of Southeast’s website, printing in the open computer labs, and to register a computer on the residence hall network. To activate your SE Key, go to the University’s webpage, click on current students and then webmail, and select SE Key activation and follow the directions. This SE Key will be active as long as the student continues to enroll in courses at Southeast. If you choose to have your email forwarded to another account, the instructor is not responsible for email that does not get forwarded properly. I usually have one or two students each semester who forward their email to an outside account (Hotmail, AOL, etc.), but for some reason or another, they do not receive their email from me. 7. For TECHNICAL problems there is a special site for students in online courses: http://online.semo.edu/help This site can offer assistance if you are experiencing technical problems such as accessing the site, taking a test using the Utest Browser software, etc. 8. TAKING QUIZZES ONLINE When taking quizzes online students need to exercise a degree of care. Do not submit the test until you are finished with all of the questions. Save the quiz periodically to be sure that your responses are registered. NOTE: when using the secure browser, the test will be automatically saved when you proceed to the next page. If for some reason your computer is disconnected from the Internet, just reconnect, go to the test once again and resume taking the test from where you left off. As long as you are within the time frame allotted for the test, you should be able continue from when you were disconnected. 9. Assignments, etc. Be sure to place your name on all assignments. I print out assignments so if the name is missing, it can create problems. Also, be sure to SINGLE space all assignments, including papers. This saves on paper, which is always a good thing. 10. It is assumed that you have the minimal computer skills necessary to take this course: use of a word processor, able to locate information on the Web, able to upload files to an account (in this case the DropBox), how to use and respond to email. 11. CHEATING You are expected to complete all assignments, quizzes, etc. entirely on your own. It is assumed that any work you submit is your own work. It is also assumed that you know what plagiarism is and will avoid such acts in the writing of papers and submission of homework. Instances of cheating will be dealt with in the following manner: first time, a grade of zero for the assignment, quiz, etc. AND final grade is reduced one letter grade. Second time: a grade of F for the course.
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