The final online discussion is now open at http://bit.ly/1dy8qIx . The question asks whether or not you think the Federal stimulus package was an effective response to the Great Recession. Please note that the discussion is divided into 4 parts and that you should respond to each part separately. (In other words, don’t post a short essay responding to all 4 parts!) the discussion will run until 5pm, Wednesday, December 4.
Let me know if you have any questions.
Here is the intro video to Topic 6, which I created in 2012 on the eve of a hurricane. The hurricane references are the only dated part of the video, so enjoy!
Some of you asked for additional help with supply and demand problems. Here are some samples to work through. When you’re ready, we can go over them together. Just let me know when you want to do that.
I’ve just finished reading the reflection papers you submitted at the end of the first contract period. This is a new thing in my course. I’ve never really done this before so it’s very much a work in progress. Here are some thoughts:
- What is a reflection paper? Before you write your next reflection paper, please read the description here. The purpose of the reflection papers is for you to think about what you are learning, drawing connections about what you’re learning and what you already know. A good reflection paper will spell out what these connections are!
- Reflection pieces can’t be right or wrong; they can only be thoughtful or less thoughtful. Saying “I learned this and I liked it,” or “I learned this and I found it interesting” is only a start and should never be the extent of your reflection. Why did you like it? What was it about the topic that resonated with you? What parallels did you find between the topic and your life or other subjects you’ve studied? Generalities suggest that you’re not putting enough effort into the work. Add specificity and examples to your reflection to make it more meaningful to the reader. Inexperienced writers tend to be impatient and don’t take enough time to figure out what they want to say. Instead of thinking “I don’t have anything left to say,” put that out of your mind and just sit there until something pops into your head. If, after a while, you still have nothing left to say, put the paper aside for a while and let your subconscious work on it.
- Reflection vs Summary. A few if you turned in papers that were summaries of the topic with little or no reflection. A reflection paper must have some reflection. If there’s no reflection, it’s not really a reflection paper.
- A good reflection paper shows that you care about the subject. It explains why you care, why the subject interests you, what bigger thing you’ve learned from studying it. For example, if you’re not an economics major (and few of you are), you might see some connection between the subject and your major.
- Finally, if you want good feedback, you need to submit your work on time. If you dump a bunch of reflection papers (or any assignments) on me at the end of the contract period, they’re not going to get the attention they deserve. If you try to write a bunch of reflection papers long after we’ve covered the material, you will likely have forgotten some of what you thought about the material. Reflection papers should help with your learning of the material. If you write your reflections after the exam, then your learning won’t be reflected on the exam. Many of you send me all or nearly all your reflections in the last week. You need to turn in reflections no more than a week after the material/test, etc. If you turn something in later than that, I won’t accept it. I thought I said this in the reflection papers page.
The purpose of twitter is to demonstrate that you are regularly engaged in what the class is studying. Some of you seemed to wait until the last minute in the contract period and then tried to pump out half a dozen or more tweets to get your points in. That is defeating the purpose of twitter. When you tweet multiple times in a day (say more than 2), I will reduce the number of points you get per tweet. The more tweets in a day, the less the last ones will be worth.
Some more thoughts about twitter points:
- If you post something substantive that will help other people in the course, you’ll get 3 points per tweet. This is most likely to be content, but it could be procedural, like if the course website is down!
- We are transitioning in the course from introductory economics to macroeconomics. You will earn 3 points if you tweet about something macro in nature, for example, whatever we are currently studying. If you tweet about Apple’s profit report (a micro topic), you won’t get the full 3 points.
- If you simply agree with what another classmate says, you’ll likely only get 1 point.
- Many of you have tweeted links to interesting articles or sites, but without any explanation of what they are. From now on, you’ll get more points if you provide some explanation (even a title), and less points if you don’t.
- It would be nice to see you responding to other classmates’ tweets, so that we had an actual conversation or discussion. You’ll get mucho points if you try this.
Finally, one major mea culpa: For some reason, the widget on our course website which is supposed to capture all your tweets with the #econ201online hashtag isn’t catching them all. For a few students, it’s not catching any. I am in the process of going back to each of your twitter accounts and making sure I found all your tweets. When I find things that I missed, I will update your twitter score on Canvas.
Postscript: The mystery appears to be solved. If you set up your tweets to be private then they won’t be captured on the course website, and I won’t easily be able to find them. If at all possible, please make your tweets public. If you can’t, let me know so I can give you credit for them.
I have finished reviewing your second essays, and the grades are posted on Canvas. (I graded hard copies of the essays, so you can pick them up with my specific comments by visiting my office hours.) Here are some thoughts I have about what you wrote.
Read the Guidelines to the Essays carefully and follow the directions specified in the Guidelines.
- Make sure your paper is double-space with one inch margins and reasonable-sized fonts.
- Make sure you include a cover sheet with your name on it.
- Make sure someone carefully proofreads your essay. Put their name on the cover sheet.
Beginning with the next paper, I will give explicit credit for doing these things right, which means if you don’t you will not earn all the points available for the assignment.
Read the directions for each assignment carefully and make sure you answer every question posed in the assignment. Each question corresponds to a certain number of points. If you don’t answer the questions, you don’t get those points.
Your grade is also based on the quality of your writing. Writing quality is explained in the Guidelines to the Essays. Flawed writing means you won’t earn all the points for writing quality. A number of the essays so far have shown the signs of inexperienced writers. Inexperienced writers need to think more deeply about the assignment. It’s not enough to just answer the questions posed. You need to explain your reasoning. Keep asking yourself why you think what you wrote. Add that reasoning to your essay. Deeper thinking will enable you to write in more detail. Whenever possible, use specifics rather than generalities. Assertions without evidence are not convincing. If I indicated problems with your writing or if you just want to write better, you should consider taking your next essay to the Writing Center for them to review. It’s better for them to discover any problems with your writing so that you can fix those problems before I discover them.
Do you know the difference between analysis and research? I ask because many of your essays about Katrina seemed to be research (which I said in the assignment I wasn’t looking for), rather than the analysis you were supposed to do. Research means looking up what experts think. Analysis means figuring out what you think using the tools (e.g. Supply and Demand) that you have learned in this class. The essays in this course are mostly asking for analysis, not research. Please keep that in mind when you write your next essay.
One final note: *Anyone* can learn to write more effectively. All it takes is practice.
I should have made these points before our online discussion started, but I haven’t tried this in a while and so didn’t think about it. Apologies!
The purpose of an online discussion is not for you to show the teacher what you know, but for the class to figure out the answer to some question. In our current discussion, the question is are Deli-Dollars in the Specter article an example of money? In order to answer this question, at a minimum we need to define what money is, explain deli-dollars and then figure out if deli-dollars have enough of the characteristics of money to be considered an example of money.
An online discussion is not a short paper. Some of the early posts on the online discussion basically summarized the entire Specter article and then posed an answer to the question. Imagine a conversation you were having with a classmate. Would you say what was said in one of those posts to your classmate in a face to face convo? Almost certainly not! Why not? Think about it.
Don’t repeat what others have already said! This requires that you read what everyone else has said. Otherwise, how can you be sure you’re not repeating? When you repeat what someone else has already said on the discussion, you get no credit for saying it again. Instead, try to add something that you possibly understood better than the original post.
An online discussion is not a dialog between individual students and the instructor. It is supposed to be a conversation among all participants to use our collective wisdom to figure out an answer to the question. This is not a case, where I have “the” answer and you have to figure it out. There is no unique correct answer to this question. Instead, you have to build a case supported by evidence for what you believe.
The answer is not the point. The thinking which leads up to the answer is the point. If you skip the thinking, you miss the point.
So what should you do to participate well in an online discussion?
- Read what everyone posts.
- Respond to what your classmates are saying.
- Answer questions posed by me or your classmates.
- Call out things that you don’t understand and ask for clarification.
- Help the group draw a conclusion.
P.S. Even though the online discussion goes over the contract period, all the points earned will count towards your first contract.
It’s time to expand our bag of learning tricks and try out electronic discussion. This discussion revolves around a short newspaper article from the Washington Post, written by Michael Specter. The article is under the Readings tab above on the course website. The purpose of the discussion is to determine whether the Deli-Dollars described in the article are or are not a form of money. Whatever conclusion you come to should be based on evidence which you present as part of your argument. (You may want to check out the reading list for Topic 4, which this exercise is the beginning of.) But before you jump to a conclusion, it’s necessary to sketch out the story, define what we mean by money and only then take a stab at the “answer”.
The electronic discussion is at http://economooc.com. I have registered everyone with a user id of your first name and a password of your last name. (Lyle is Lyle and Nick is Nick.) You may want to change your password to something stronger after you login. I expect this electronic discussion to last about a week, but if you wait until the end to jump in, someone else may have already posted the easy stuff (like what’s the story about?). Your grade on the electronic discussion will be based on both the quantity and the quality of your posts. If you haven’t done this kind of thing before, you should plan on checking the discussion about once a day to see if you can add anything. The directions are on economooc.com. I will be following along.
Here is the recording from this week’s Google Hangout:
The purpose of this quiz is just to get you to explore the course website so you know what’s there. Think of it as a scavenger hunt.
Here’s the question:
What is formative assessment and what is the context in which it is used on the course website?
Please email me your answer by Friday!
I mentioned that we will have a weekly Google Hangout on Wednesday nights at 7pm. The purpose of our weekly hangouts is to give us the opportunity to talk in real time about any questions you have about the course, questions about assignments, grades, concepts we’re learning, anything. In future weeks, I plan on asking you to submit discussion topics by Wednesday morning so I can plan for the hangout, but for tomorrow we will “wing” it. Here is what you need to do to participate:
- Get an account on google (Most of you have done this already).
- Go to http://plus.google.com
- Login to Google Plus using your google account login and password. (You have to be logged in to google plus to participate in a google hangout.)
- Look for a Hangout invitation URL on twitter. Click on the URL. The first ten people to click on it get to do video (assuming they have a webcam). The rest participate using chat only.
I will also try to record this hangout “on air” so that anyone who can’t participate tomorrow can replay it.
If you want a little background information about google hangouts, check out this link:
As you read/watch this guide, remember that learning google hangouts is a lot like learning to ride a bike. It’s much harder to explain than to actually do it. You’ll see!
Final point: This will be my first “group” usage of google hangouts so if we run into any difficulties, don’t worry; we’ll figure it out.
As always, I’ll be in twitter during the hangout in case you have any questions. Just remember to use the #econ201online hashtag in your message.
Welcome to ECON 201, the online section! School starts four weeks from today. Hopefully, it is not a surprise that you have registered for an online course. The purpose of this email is to get you started thinking about the course, so that we can hit the ground running when the semester starts.
If you’ve never taken an online course before, it’s hard to overestimate how different it is from a face-to-face course. Think about this: There are no regular class sessions like all your other classes have. How are you going to learn the course material when there are no lectures? How are you going to ask questions about things you don’t understand, be they content or questions about when things are due, etc.?
Many many things that are done in class in a face-to-face course have to be done differently in an online course. Just basic communication takes longer. We will need to do some orientation to the course, things that typically happen pretty seamlessly the first week in a face-to-face course. Last year, which was the first time I taught this course online, we tried to do them the first week of classes, and that’s all we got done, so we spent the semester a week behind the other ECON 201 classes. This year, if at all possible, you need to do these things before classes start.
First, you will need a computing device (PC or Mac, Tablet or even a smart phone) with dependable (ideally high speed) internet access. A student tried to take this course last year without internet access at home. It’s an online course. What was she thinking? Don’t do this! You will need daily access to the course website! Also, your computing device should have word processing software
For day-to-day communications this semester, we’ll be using twitter. If you’ve never used twitter but have heard of it, the way we will use it is probably not what you think. If you’ve never heard of twitter, that’s fine. It has a very easy learning curve. The most important thing is that twitter allows you to send short (no more than 140 character) messages to people you specify, for example, others in the class. We will discuss how we’ll be using twitter at a later date. For now, please sign up for an account on twitter (www.twitter.com ). From your twitter homepage, search for “sgreenla” (without the quotes). When you find me, click on the name and it will take you to my homepage. On the right hand side, click the button with the blue twitter bird that says “follow”. When I get your request, I will do the same to you. Then everything you tweet I will see, and everything I tweet you will see. It’s that easy.
The next thing you need to do before classes start is make a short video introducing yourself to the class. If you’ve never used video, it’s easier than you think. All you need is a smart phone with video capability or a webcam with your computer. I’ll be sending you detailed instructions for how to create the video, so if you’ve never done this before, don’t worry—it’s not that hard. I’m well over30 years of age and I figured it out.
Ta ta for now. If you have any questions, feel free to email me.
I look forward to working with you this semester!