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Principles of Economics
(Micro) for Econ Majors

Virginia Tech

Welcome to the Course!

With the start of the semester approaching, I wanted to share some important information about the course before we officially begin. My aim is to ensure that you are familiar with the course expectations, which will hopefully make you more at ease when classes officially start. 

In our Canvas course, there will be an orientation module that offers detailed information about how to signup for various platforms, assignment instructions, and official course policies. For the most part, you can relax for the next few weeks and take care of most things when you get to campus. I'll post an official course announcement when our Canvas course is unlocked and ready to access.

Econ 2005
Course Site

10 things you should know before the semester begins:

  1. Majors Only Section: This section of ECON 2005 differs significantly from other sections offered at Virginia Tech because you are enrolled in a section with other economics majors. Because you're already interested in the subject, we'll instead explore the topic in more depth than other sections. I hope to explore some more complicated topics so that you're better prepared for future econ courses.

  2. Class Preparation Expectations: This course will include more outside reading and activities so that class time can focus on problem-solving and simulations. We will cover the same material as other sections of ECON 2005 but in different ways. Keep in mind that Virginia Tech expects you to spend around 6 hours each week working on material related to our course in addition to the 3 hours we spend together each week. 

  3. In-Person Format: The lectures for this course will be held entirely in person, and there won't be an online/Zoom option this semester. Most of the assignments will be completed online, but a portion of your grade does come from daily quiz questions in class and simulations that we'll play together throughout the semester.

  4. Attendance and Participation: Active participation in class is important and contributes to a portion of your final grade. We'll use the iClicker Cloud platform to help keep the class interactive. Your homework platform (Achieve) will include access to iClicker Cloud. The physical iClicker remotes won't work with our course. You will be able to register for iClicker Cloud once our course officially opens on Canvas.

  5. Assignment Weighting: Instead of a few exams worth a large portion of your overall grade, our course will emphasize weekly small-stakes assignments. It's important to keep track of due dates throughout the semester and avoid a heavy reliance on the Canvas calendar. Now is a great time to get into the habit of using a planner to keep track of your busy schedule.

  6. Moblab Gaming Platform: Throughout the semester we'll play simulations in class to demonstrate some of the concepts we're covering. Moblab is an online gaming platform that we'll use for many of these games. I have negotiated a reduced price for your course, so it's important to purchase your subscription directly from Moblab instead of the bookstore. You don't need to sign up for Packback until our course is officially open on Canvas.

  7. Achieve Platform: Your textbook, homework, and exams will all be hosted on Macmillan's Achieve platform. The bookstore will offer an access code, but you can get it for much cheaper by purchasing it directly from the publisher's website. The total cost is around $110 if you purchase it directly from Macmillan.  Your online access includes a digital copy of the textbook, but you can get a used copy of an older edition on Amazon for much cheaper. You don't need to register for Achieve until our course is officially open on Canvas, but you should purchase a physical copy of the book before classes start if you want a physical copy.

  8. Saving on Books & Course Material: If you're searching for books for your courses, you can often find them online at significantly lower prices than the campus bookstore. For most classes, you can find used copies or older editions that work just as well. Be sure to check with your other instructors to see! Amazon offers discounts, especially with an Amazon Student account. You can even have packages shipped to your dorm.

  9. Canvas as Hub: We'll use a number of different platforms this term, but you should consider Canvas as the central platform for all course-related information. Configure your Canvas preferences for daily digests, and consider setting up email forwarding for your VT email address if you want to use something else. When you set up your online accounts (Achieve/iClicker/Moblab), you need to use your VT email address to ensure your grades are synced with Canvas.

  10. Technological Concerns: The semester is long and there is a chance you'll run into technical issues during the semester that prevent you from completing an assignment. Given the structure of the course, there will not be any opportunities to make up assignments you miss. The best way to avoid missing an assignment is to complete your assignments early.

I'm very passionate about economics and about education. I will share that excitement with you every class, and I hope you bring similar energy to class when it comes to learning and wanting to be successful. I occasionally post class-related stuff you may find interesting on Twitter & Instagram and I write a weekly newsletter that looks at how basic economic concepts can explain current events. Please do not feel obligated to follow any of these accounts, but you're welcome to interact with me as much or as little as you're comfortable. 

I am really looking forward to the upcoming semester and I hope you enjoy your next few months with m

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