Remember, this economics course is just an introduction. Learning economics is a lifelong task, and this course will launch you on this journey of new discovery!
You will need to purchase the following books:
Note, the Kearl text must be purchased new from the BYU Store. Used versions of the Kearl text will not work. The two other required texts can be purchased new or used.
You will also need to subscribe to the paper edition of at least one of the following:
You will also need access to a document scanner.
Econ 110 has the following course policies and requirements:
Each submitted assignment must be complete. Partially completed assignments will not be accepted and no credit will be given until all fully completed assignments have been submitted.
Please note that to complete each of the assignments numbered 1 through 13 in the Workbook section of the Kearl text you must find an article from the economic or financial press that deals with the materials you have been studying, write at least a one page (typed, 11 point font double spaced) analysis of the article you have chosen. You must submit a scanned copy of the article, a scanned copy of the completed workbook assignment sheets, plus your one-page essay. (Please look, for example, at the last question on Graded Assignment 1, page 526.) The articles that you are analyzing in the at least one-page essays must be taken from a recent (within a week or so of when you write the essay) paper edition of the Wall Street Journal, the paper edition of the financial section of the New York Times, or the paper edition of the Economist. This is not an Internet research project where you google the topic; short articles downloaded from the Internet will not be accepted toward meeting the assignment (the reason is that they simply do not go into sufficient depth for you to learn much about the application of economics).
The purpose of the essay is, in part, for you to be reading one or more of the above publications on a daily basis while you are taking Econ 110, using what you are learning to read more thoughtfully and critically, and looking for “real-world” applications of economic principles. The essay must be at least one page in length and use the economic tools, principles, and concepts you have been studying in preparation to complete the assignment. The article and essay that you submit to Graded Assignment 2, for example, must deal with marginal decision making; the article and essay you submit to Graded Assignment 13 must deal with macroeconomics; and so forth for each of the thirteen assignments in the Workbook section of the Kearl text. The purpose of these essay questions is to help you to learn how to apply economics to events and activities going on in the world about you. In your one-page essay you could, for example, discuss how the article illustrates a concept, idea, or principle that you have learned. Or you could discuss how the author used some of the economic principles or ideas you have been learning when he or she wrote the article. Or you could use economics to explain the ideas or information or data in the article. Or you could find an article in which the author made arguments that were inconsistent with what you have been learning and write a one-page essay discussing the mistakes or problems in the author’s analysis.
In addition to the thirteen assignments in the Workbook section of the text, you must write two papers, one on Buchholz’s book and the other on Wheelan’s book. The expectations for these papers are described in more detail in assignment 14 and assignment 15.
Economics is an analytical discipline. Developing analytical and problem-solving skills takes time—you will need to read, reflect, work assignments, puzzle about things, reread, reflect further, rework assignments, write analytical essays, work additional problems, and so on. It simply isn’t possible to develop analytical and economic problem solving skills in a week or two. Nor is it possible to develop these skills without working lots of problems. Doing so takes time and effort.
Generally, when students don’t do as well as they had hoped in Econ 110, I find that they have not devoted enough time to the course. Please understand that this is a three-hour university-level course. On-campus students enrolled in Econ 110 would be expected to devote 120–150 hours to a three-hour course, and you should not expect to do well in this course if you devote less time than this.
It’s not just “giving the course enough time” that matters, however; it’s also the effective and productive use of your study time. In this regard, I have found that there are some things that can make your study time more productive:
There is also evidence that creating similes, metaphors, or analogies in which you restate new ideas, concepts, or definitions in terms with which you are more familiar enhances learning. Try the following:
Finally, focus your study time on what you don’t know. An effective way of doing this is to keep an “I don’t understand. . .” note card handy. When something you read in the text, see in a newspaper or magazine, hear on the news, or encounter in a problem set or when writing notes doesn’t make sense, put it on the note card. When you sit down to study, you can use this note card as a guide, and your study time can then be focused on what you don’t know rather than on what you do know.
You cannot complete this course in fewer than 12 weeks since you cannot submit more than three assignments per week and there are fifteen assignments and three exams. The course will not allow you to submit more then three assignments at a time. Please note the following assignment restrictions:
In general, you should plan on the course taking at least eight to 14 weeks of sustained effort. Please do not put pressure on either me to help you overcome tight deadlines that you are experiencing due to your own procrastination. In addition, a course grade will not be available until at least two weeks after you take your final examination. Hence, if you have a deadline by which time you must have a course grade and Econ 110 credit, you need to allow no fewer than twelve weeks between when you enroll in the course and the deadline. Real learning takes time. You will learn, and retain, more if you work assignments carefully, including using what you are learning as you read the Wall Street Journal, NY Times Financial Section and/or the Economist over the minimum of eight weeks necessary to complete the course.
Note: You cannot take Mid-Term 1 until you have achieved a “Pass” grade on Assignments 1 through 5. You cannot take Mid-Term 2 until you have achieved a “Pass” grade on Assignments 1 through 8. And you cannot take the Final Exam until you have achieved a “Pass” grade on Assignments 1 through 13 and a B (83%) on assignments 14 and 15.
Since graphs are an essential expositional device in the materials that you will be studying and are also an essential tool that you will be required to use in problem solving, you obviously need to know how to both read and use them. You can refresh your understanding of graphs by working through the problems in the section of the Workbook entitled “Review: Using Graphs” (found in Part M: Additional Questions and Problems starting at page 651). Please do so now. (You do not need to submit your work for grading, but you should work each problem carefully.) If you are struggling with these problems, you probably are not prepared to take Econ 110 at this time, and you will need to complete a good college-level algebra course before you begin your study of economics. Once you feel comfortable with your ability to read, understand, manipulate, and use graphs, you should take a few minutes to look through the course materials:
You will note that the Workbook section of the text has three parts: parts A, M, and S. The first section (part A) contains thirteen assignments on tear-out sheets. You will be required to tear out, complete, and submit each of these assignments (remember that to complete each assignment you must also attach an article and a typed, one-page essay analyzing the article to the pages you have torn out of the Workbook). The second section (part M) contains additional problems for each chapter in the text. You should carefully work all of these problems, but you are not required to submit them to me for grading. The third section (part S) contains problems that I have worked for you. These serve as models of how you ought to work through both the problems that you are required to submit (part A) and those that you are to work and study on your own (part M).
The three books that you are required to read are quite different from one another. Economics and Public Policy: An Analytical Approach is a textbook. That is, it is written specifically for college-level students who are interested in learning economics. Economics is a fairly tightly-focused discipline; there is widespread agreement among economists about the fundamentals of economic reasoning, and, hence, a common set of basic economic concepts, assumptions, approaches, and modes of reasoning and analysis is employed by virtually all economists. Economics and Public Policy is a pedagogical introduction to these fundamentals and to the general economic approach to public policy. You will need to read and reread sections and chapters; write, wrestle, and think carefully about the ideas and their logical and analytical development; work carefully through the many graphs and little bits of algebra in each chapter; and test your understanding by working problems, writing essays, and looking for applications. You should do all of this with the goal of learning how to use economics.
By contrast, New Ideas from Dead Economists is an intellectual history written for a general audience. You should read it with the goal of understanding how economic ideas have evolved. This will require you to learn something about the personalities involved (e.g., Adam Smith, Karl Marx, John Maynard Keynes) and about the social conditions and intellectual currents that influenced their views of the world. Since you will be required to write a paper based on your reading of this book, you should review assignment 14 before you start reading New Ideas so that you have a sense of what to look for as you read.
By further contrast, Naked Economics is an extended economic and public policy essay that is purposefully provocative. Charles Wheelan “walks through some of the most powerful concepts in economics” in an intuitive, but provocative, way. You should read it with four goals in mind: first, to see how economics is used to analyze important public policy issues; second, to gain an understanding of the complexity of important policy issues; third, to evaluate the usefulness of economics in illuminating and cutting through this complexity; and fourth, to add intuitive understanding through case-studies of the analytical material in the Kearl text. Since you are also required to write a paper based on your reading of this book, you should review assignment 15 before you start so that you have a sense of what to look for as you read.
With this as background, it’s time to begin studying economics. The following paragraphs detail the sequence in which the course materials should be studied. Note that the material you are to study is divided into sections that correspond to the assignments you must complete and submit to electronically.
You should begin your study of economics by carefully working through chapters 1, 2, and 3 of the Kearl textbook. When you have completed your study of these materials, you should complete and submit assignment 1 electronically through the course from the Workbook section. All assignments must be scanned in and submitted through the course (scan the sheets torn from the Workbook section of the text), must include a newspaper article (photocopy) and a one-page, typed essay. Completed assignments should be submitted electronically with all parts of the assignment included when you submit using the instructions found here in the syllabus. You should also work through all of the problems for chapters 1, 2, and 3 in parts M and S of the Workbook section.
After you have completed your study of the materials in chapters 1, 2, and 3, you should carefully study the materials in chapter 4, complete and submit assignment 2, and work the problems for chapter 4 in parts M and S of the Workbook section. You should then read chapters 1 through 3 of New Ideas from Dead Economists.
Once assignment 2 has been submitted, you should study the materials in chapters 5 and 6, complete and submit assignment 3, work the relevant problems for these chapters in parts M and S, and then continue on this pattern through the remaining ten assignments.
The first midcourse exam can be taken anytime after you have completed and received a grade for assignment 5. The exam covers the material in the first eleven chapters of the text. An exam review outline for the first exam is provided in “Preparing for the First Midcourse Exam”.
The second midcourse exam can be taken anytime after you have completed and received a grade for assignment 8. This exam covers the material in the first sixteen chapters of the text, with greater emphasis given to the material that you will have studied in chapters 12 through 16. Once again, I have provided in “Preparing for the Second Midcourse Exam” an “exam review” outline, which should be combined with the exam review outline for the first exam in your preparation for the second exam.
Once assignment 13 has been submitted and you have completed the two midterm exams, you should turn your attention to writing the two papers that must be submitted before you will be permitted to take the final exam. The details for the two papers are outlined in assignments 14 and 15. Your papers must address the questions posed in these assignments, so please read the assignments carefully.
After you have submitted the two papers in fulfillment of assignments 14 and 15 and received a grade, you should prepare for the final exam. (You will not be permitted to take the final until both papers have been submitted.) A third exam review outline has been provided in “Preparing for the Final Exam”; it should be combined with the two midcourse exam review outlines in preparation for the final exam, since the final exam is comprehensive. You will not, however, be examined directly on material in New Ideas from Dead Economists or Naked Economics.
Summary: 13 written assignments, may be resubmitted once for a fee, 2 written assignments may not be resubmitted.
Assignments 1 through 13 are Pass or Fail. Most students do well on these assignments. This is to be expected, since you are free (and, indeed, encouraged) to refer to the textbook or other materials, discuss your homework assignments with others, and take as much time as you need to correctly complete each assignment. Please keep in mind you must Pass all of these papers to pass the course. You may resubmit these 13 assignments until you receive a passing grade.
The two short papers (assignments 14 and 15) will also be graded on an E-through-A scale. They can be submitted at any time but must be graded before you will be permitted to take the final exam. You must achieve a B (83%) on these papers to pass the course. You cannot resubmit these papers, please make sure your submission is your best work.
While your homework assignments will be graded, the course grade itself is determined by your performance on the three exams and not by your homework grades, except (1) you will not get credit for the course unless you pass assignments 1-13 and achieve a B or better level on assignments 14 and 15, and (2) in order to get an A or A– course grade, your two papers (assignments 14 and 15) must each have an A– or better grade.
You will submit your completed assignments electronically through your course. There will be both typed assignments, and assignments that need to be scanned in to make an electronic copy. To make sure that I can open and read your typed papers, please submit as a Word document or similar format.
Your workbook pages, your articles and your signed statements must be scanned with a document scanner and submitted through the course in PDF format.
There are three exams—two midcourse exams and a final. The exams are only available to be taken in a paper format. Please plan for shipping time. You can take the first midcourse exam twice, but the second midcourse exam and final can be taken only once. The exams focus on your ability to use economics. While you will be expected to learn the definition and meaning of technical economic terms, the exams are not based on memorizing definitions, principles, or concepts, but on your ability to use economic principles and concepts in solving problems. In short, this is not a course about economics, but a course in the use of economics.
The first two exams are worth 100 points each, and the final is worth 200 points. Exams are multiple-choice format. If you meet the minimum performance standard for homework described above, then your course grade will be based on your overall performance on these exams (that is, on the sum of your exam scores out of the 400 points possible). If you take the first exam a second time, the score from the second time (not the higher of the two scores) will be added to the scores on the next midcourse exam and final to determine your final grade. Your exams will be graded based on the performance of my on-campus classes on similar midcourse and final exams. That is, an A (or B or C) in the online course will be based on the same performance and mean the same thing as an A (or B or C) in the BYU Econ Department’s on-campus course.
In order to help you know how well you are doing, I will post a “grade” for each of the two midcourse exams. Please note, however, that these grades are just for the purpose of indicating how well you are doing and that the course grade is determined by your performance on the three exams taken together. Be aware that you cannot retake Midterm 1 if you have already completed Midterm 2.
You must pass the final exam with a 60% to pass the course.
The course grade is based on your performance on examinations. Graded Assignments are learning exercises, not grading exercises, but must be completed and show effort, particularly with regard to the required essay. The posted grades on these assignments do not affect your course grade, once you have met the minimum requirement for credit on assignments 1-13 you will receive a “Pass” grade. A “Pass” grade means that you have met the expectations with regard to effort and completeness and have met the minimum requirement. A “Fail” grade means that you have not met expectations with regard to effort and completeness and have not met the minimum requirement.
If you receive a “Fail” on Assignments 1 through 13, you must resubmit the assignment. The re-submission must be complete and give evidence that you have taken the assignment seriously. You are not permitted, however, to rewrite the papers submitted to meet the requirements of Assignments 14 and 15. Your course grade may be affected by the grade in either or both of these assignments. In particular, to receive an A or A- based on your performance on exams, the grade on these two assignments must be A or A-, that is, to get an A or A- in the course, in addition to performing at this level on exam, you must write A or A- papers.
|Assignments 1-13||Pass/Fail - You must achieve a passing grade on all of these assignments (these assignments can be re-submitted)|
|Assignment 14||You must achieve a “B (83%)” or better on this assignment, or you cannot pass this course. (You cannot re-submit this assignment)|
|Assignment 15||You must achieve a “B (83%)” or better on this assignment, or you cannot pass this course. (You cannot re-submit this assignment)|
|Midcourse Exam 1||100 Points (This exam can be re-taken)|
|Midcourse Exam 2||100 Points (This exam cannot be re-taken)|
|Final Exam||200 Points (This exam cannot be re-taken)|
|Final grade will be calculated out of 400 points. However, assignments 14 and 15 do affect your final grade.|
Please check your ability to read and use graphs and simple algebra by working problems found in Kearl Workbook section, pp. 651-652 (do not submit—for review purposes only)
An honor code of integrity and honesty is important at BYU, as it is in all educational institutions. Thus, you are expected to prepare your own work and not copy the work of others, and you may not give or receive help on exams. Though you may get help in preparing course work, your submission must be your own work and not that of others. The essay on each assignment and the two papers must be entirely your own work. Violations of the honor code will result in a failing grade in the course.
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Violations of the Copyright Policy may result in university disciplinary action including termination of university enrollment or employment.” (Emphasis added. Excerpt taken from the BYU Copyright Policy)
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