Welcome to the Course!

The start of the semester is coming up soon, but I wanted to let you know a few things about the course before we officially begin. My hope is that you're aware of the course expectations before we begin so that you're more comfortable when classes start.

 

World Campus courses often don't officially open until the weekend before the semester begins, but I wanted to provide some early information to make sure you're ready to start the course as soon as it does open. I have copied the syllabus from Canvas so that you can see it before the course opens.

WC Econ 315
Course Site

10 things you should know before the semester begins

  1. This course is unlike many of the other online courses in the Economics Department. There will be something due most weeks, and the university expects that online students are committing at least 10 hours of work each week to each class they are enrolled in. This includes reading material in the textbook and online, asking questions in discussion boards, working on practice problems, and completing assignments. Many students struggle in this course because of time commitments associated with "new" assignments that aren't part of other courses. This course has a larger reading component than most economics classes, and you’ll be asked to interpret and analyze news articles. You'll also be expected to work on practice problems and end-of-chapter questions on your own.
     

  2. This course is considered an asynchronous web course. This means that all of the material will be available online at the start of the semester with regular due dates throughout the course. There is no official meeting time for the course and you are generally free to work ahead on the vast majority of the material in the course. I do not hold regular office hours for this course, but you're welcome to reach out if you would like to set up a meeting. 
     

  3. I will post announcements in Canvas regularly. I take online teaching very seriously because you pay similar rates to students taking courses in person and you deserve the same level of attention as my on-campus students. I will post at least two announcements each week in addition to other announcements related to course material. If you don’t want to use your PSU address, please make sure that you’ve set up email forwarding so that you get all emails from me. Please check the announcements tab each time you log in to Canvas or update your Canvas preferences to receive email notifications.
     

  4. Punctuality is critical for online courses. For those of you new to World Campus, I recommend utilizing a schedule or the calendar system in Canvas so that you can keep track of due dates and exam windows. The flexibility of online courses is that you can work ahead of due dates, not that you can turn in work after the deadline. This course has exam and project windows that allow you to complete the assignments over a range of days rather than on a single day. A portion of the projects and all of the discussion boards require you interact with others. This is not a course that you can complete only on the weekends. My advice: Log in early & log in often. 
     

  5. You do need the book for this class! We will be using Modern Labor Economics by Ehrenberg & Smith this semester. Every week has 1-2 chapters of reading from the book in addition to online readings. World Campus has selected our course to include a digital eBook available through the Penn State Library. Whether you chose the eBook option or a printed version, you will need the book to start working on the material during the first week. If you have Amazon Prime (or you're interested in Amazon Prime), consider switching your account over to Amazon Student. Amazon Student Prime is a discounted service that includes free shipping on many orders and access to Prime movies, music, etc. 
     

  6. You will need access to a scanner (but not a printer) for this course. There are a number of affordable and easy-to-use scanners available on Amazon or you can use various scanner apps for your phone. A portion of each exam requires you to upload hand-written material for the exam. You need to familiarize yourself with how to operate your scanner before you take the exam. Part of your exam time should be used to scan and upload your answers.
     

  7. This course does have writing assignments that are completed throughout the semester. There are 4 small projects and 4 discussion board posts that require you to write about various economic topics. I recommend reading through Deirdre McCloskey's book, Economical Writing. It provides some tips on writing that you may find helpful. At 112 pages, most of you should be able to read it fairly quickly. While geared toward writing in economics, some of the lessons can be applied to writing in other business-centric fields (like LER). This book is not required, but previous students have told me they found it helpful.
     

  8. Our Canvas course is organized based on modules and includes videos, lecture notes, and discussion boards for help. If you wish to send emails about personal matters, please use the Inbox in Canvas so that I can keep track of which section (and course) you are enrolled in. I teach multiple sections of this course (online and on-campus), so Canvas helps me organize the courses. If you have questions about the course material, you'll be asked to post that in a General Questions discussion board.
     

  9. If you are looking for a quick refresher of material that was covered in ECON 102 (the prerequisite for this course), I recommend checking out MR University's online course. They have a section on labor markets that will also give you a brief overview of some of the topics will cover in our course. If you'd like a study card that covers a lot of microeconomic topics, I'd recommend a QuickStudy card, which is less than $10 on Amazon.
     

  10. I occasionally tweet economics stuff that you may find interesting and I also write a weekly newsletter on economics in current events but you shouldn't feel obligated to follow me on either. ​I am really looking forward to this upcoming semester and I hope you found this page helpful. If you still have questions, feel free to email me. Please remember to include your name and class.