A key part of this course is learning not just about economics, but how to think like an economist. In order to give you practice doing this, we will have three types of homework assignments over the course of the semester. These are mini-projects, formative assessments, and minute papers.
For now, I have the following assignments in mind, which we will talk about in detail later:
- What are your goals in taking this course?
- Did Hurricane Katrina result in price gouging?
- What is government?
- How does the government spend your tax dollars?
- What is the state of the U.S. economy?
An important part of your learning should be assessing how you are doing in the course. This type of assessment works best under two conditions: first, it is done on a regular basis and second, the stakes are low. Note that the exams for this course, which only occur three times during the semester, and which account for two thirds of your final grade do not satisfy these conditions.
For each chapter we study, you should do the Graded Problem sets on the course Aplia site (www.aplia.com).
For each problem set on which you earn 70% or better, I will give you full credit for the assignment. Remember, the primary purpose here is to help you assess how well you are learning the material. It’s not to give you a grade. If you do well on the problem sets, that’s a signal that you should do well on the exams.
Each week, I want you to let me know what course material we covered that you don’t understand. At the end of each week, after you’ve read the chapters in the text, I want you to send me an email identifying what it is you don’t understand from the week’s material. (If you don’t understand, but haven’t read the book, read the book first. and then if you still don’t understand, send the email.) If there’s nothing you don’t understand from the course material, put that in your email. If you tell me what you don’t understand, I won’t call on you in class to explain it. If you say you understand everything, I will assume I can call on you. The purpose is not to trick you or catch you out, but to give you incentives to be accountable. It’s easy. As long as you send me a message at least once a week, I will credit you with the homework points.
Class participation requires that you come to class, ask questions, and make comments on a regular basis.
Your Homework Grade for the course will be the average of the grades you get for the mini-projects, Aplia problem sets, and minute papers. Your homework grade can be raised or lowered (unlikely) based on your class participation as described below. The grading criteria for class participation are explained here.
If you receive:
- An A in class participation –> Your homework grade will be raised one letter grade
- A B in class participation –> Your homework grade will be raised one half a letter grade
- A C in class participation –> Your homework grade will stay the same
- A D in class participation –> Your homework grade will be lowered one half a letter grade
- An F in class participation –> Your homework grade will be lowered one letter grade