Course Syllabus (cont.)
My goal is to create an environment with a
number and variety of learning experiences that will allow
you to discover and construct economic knowledge for yourself.
I endeavor to manage the learning environment so that you
can produce the highest quality learning. I consider it
your goal to take responsibility for achieving the highest
All course information, tutorials, Excel workbooks,
and project descriptions will be accessed using a Web browser.
You will use Microsoft Excel (version 5.0 or higher) to
manipulate microeconomic models to improve your understanding
of how to use them to answer questions. All out-of-class
communication with me will be via e-mail or WebBoard, an
on-line bulletin board.
This is an active-learning course... As a result,
- read carefully the relevant Tutorial(s) each week.
Do not get behind!
- post messages to Webboard about those aspects of the
Tutorials you do not understand and reply to those message
when you are able to explain a concept to someone else
in the class.
- hand to me your well thought out, written answer to
the "Good Faith Effort" question(s) twice a
- work with your study team on questions related to the
manipulation of key microeconomic models using Excel.
Post questions to Webboard about difficulties your team
is having with the problems or the computer software.
The readings and Excel workbooks for each chapter may be
found on the course schedule. (I recommend you bookmark that page
Working in Study Teams
You will quickly find that working in teams is an excellent
way to achieve the highest quality learning. As an active
member of your team you will learn how to establish a point
and defend it, or change it in light of sound criticism.
You will discover the value of accepting responsibility
for the effect your actions (or inactions) have on others
with whom you work. You will also develop a keener understanding
of economic concepts and models because you will be spending
your time "doing the thing".
Given the class format described above, reading the Tutorial(s)
each week and actively engaging in Webboard discussions
and problem solving question-and-answer with members of
your study team are crucial.
You will learn economics more effectively
by "doing the thing". This entails asking your
team members questions, answering their questions, helping
each other, and analyzing your mistakes. Remember that it
is rarely the case that one either "gets it"
or "gets it wrong" the first time; learning takes
place gradually and as a result of repeated attempts
to "debug" your thinking. This is where good team
work can be the greatest help.
I will establish teams during the first few
days of the course. The membership on each study team is
not sacrosanct. You are free to rearrange who you study
with so long as you try not to study alone. Remember that
you do not have to meet in person to work as a member of
a study team. I can set up Team Conferences on Webboard
so you may communicate with members of your team in private.
But you must communicate with them or the advantages of
team work will dissolve.
Daily Work (Tasks 1 and 2)
Most of your work time for this class will be spent reading
Tutorials and using Excel workbooks to solve problems designed
to clarify your understanding of the microeconomic models
and concepts in each Tutorial; i.e., you should be spending
most of your time "doing the thing".
Excel is a spreadsheet software program that
allows you to rapidly manipulate graphical models without
focusing on the underlying equations. The Excel workbooks
are assigned to help you develop a clear understanding of
how to manipulate key economic models as you learn key concepts.
This will give you a proper foundation for successfully
passing the online quizzes, in-class tests, and out-of-class
projects on your own.
As you work on the Excel workbook and Good
Faith Effort questions, don't seek my help the moment you
get stuck; work with the question for a while, go over your
notes, reread the tutorial, post questions to Webboard.
Remember, mastery of the economic way of thinking takes
a lot of practice. If you are stuck, then seek out your
teammates help by e-mail, Webboard, or a face-to-face meeting.
Keep in mind that you have succeeded in learning from these
workbook problems when you are able to "fly solo",
that is, to answer questions without your teammate(s) or
me to hold you up.
Daily reading of the tutorials and work on
the Excel and GFE questions, AND active participation with
your teammates and me in Webboard discussions, problem solving,
and computer work, is absolutely essential if you are to
master the key economic concepts and models taught in this