Labor Economics (Econ 315 at World Campus)

With the semester fast approaching, I wanted to bring your attention to a few things before we officially get underway. 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 opens. I have copied the syllabus from Canvas online so that you can see it before the course opens.

  1. I have very high expectations for all of my courses, which is good to know before we begin the course. All of your assignments and exams are set online in Canvas.  My main responsibility is to push you to be the best individual you can be. I ask that you commit at least 10 hours of work each week. If you do not think you can commit to that for the upcoming semester, please consider taking this course a different semester. Many students struggle because of time commitments and I don’t want to see you invest so much time in this course, only to fall behind because of the workload. This class 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. I will e-mail you A LOT during the semester. I take my online teaching very seriously because you pay the same rates as on campus students and you deserve the same level of attention as my on campus students. I will send emails through Canvas and directly to your PSU email address. If you don’t want to use your PSU address, please make sure that you’ve setup email forwarding so that you get all emails from me. Please check the announcements tab each time you login to Canvas. I will also email you when the course officially opens.

  3. Punctuality is critical for this course. 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. Working ahead of the due dates can help you when an unexpected event arises. This course has exam and project windows that allow you to complete the assignments in a range of days. Part of the projects involve commenting on other people’s work. Waiting until the last day of the window will result in a discounted grade because you are imposing an externality on others. My advice: Log in early & log in often

  4. 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 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. 

  5. You will need access to a scanner (but not a printer) for this course (here's an affordable and easy to use scanner). During the exams, one portion of the exam will require 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 the exam time should be used to scan and upload your answers.

  6. This course does have a written component that is completed throughout the course.  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 will provide some tips and tricks about 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.

  7. Our Canvas course is organized based on modules and includes videos, lecture notes, and discussion boards for help. If you wish to send emails, please use the Inbox in Canvas so that I can keep track of which section (and course) you are enrolled. I teach multiple sections of this course (online and on campus), so Canvas helps me organize the courses. 

  8. 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.

  9. I occasionally tweet economics stuff that can be beneficial to you. You can follow me on Twitter (if you want). Since this is a labor economics course, you may want to also follow the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Questions? Feel free to email me, but please remember to include your name and class. I look forward to a great semester at Penn State!