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Exploring Economics collects course descriptions, syllabi and slides so that lecturers can share resources and innovate their teaching.
The course will teach students to analyze the goals, implementation, and outcomes of economic policy.
This is an advanced Bachelor’s-level class in economic policy. The course will teach students to analyze the goals, implementation, and outcomes of economic policy. The particular topics and policies covered will be selected by the group in the first two weeks of the semester. The class will meet once per week. The first four sessions are based around the instructor’s lecture. Remaining sessions will be structured around a group discussion of assigned readings and presentations and teaching by the students. Along with information based on the main content of the class, students will be encouraged to develop their general academic skills. On the first day of class, the instructor will review the most important aspects of academic writing. A central goal of the course is for students to develop their critical thinking and writing skills, and their ability to present their (written and verbal) academic work in a clear, convincing, and appropriate fashion. These goals will be highlighted throughout the course, and students will be graded in part on their improvement in this regard. The response papers are an excellent way for students to practice honing their academic thinking and writing skills. The students will develop an ability to understand the goals and implementation of economic policy, and analyze its ability to meet said goals.
Attendance and participation are an important part of the course. Participation points will be distributed immediately following class. Students are responsible for all course material, even if they have missed a class. Twice in the semester, students should briefly and informally share with the class something that they have come across that is relevant for the class. This can be a song, a newspaper article, a viral tweet, a political campaign, a video... honestly, whatever. The main idea is that you explain how this thing is connected to concepts and ideas we are discussing in the course and how you understand this thing differently now that you are taking the course.
Students can write three response papers to weekly readings throughout the semester. The reading for each class should be completed before the class meets. A response paper on a particular reading is due on the day that we discuss the reading in class (the day it is listed below). Response papers must be submitted in class. No late assignments will be accepted for any reason. If your essays run longer than one piece of paper (which they should not), please make the world a better place by stapling your pages together.Here is the grading system for response papers. They should:
Each group of 3-4 students will pick one of the eight topics decided on by the class, and provide an in-depth analysis of the issue/policy in question. The group is required to present the main ideas from the paper read by the whole class as well as other relevant literature on the topic - at least three extra academic papers per group member. The group will lead much of the class on their assigned day. The requirements for leading the class are to (1) clearly state the economic/social problem, (2) name and briefly discuss several potential solutions and policies to combat it, (3) inform the class on existing implementation of one of the potential policies, (4) report on the effectiveness of the policy selected to study in depth, and (5) suggest necessary amendments to make the policy better. The group should actively teach their classmates in their presentation! The presentation should be creative and engaging – NOT reading from slides while the rest of the class gets bored. The group will also submit a paper covering the same points in written form. The paper should be about ten pages (minimum eight, maximum 12), double-spaced. The paper is the purely academic presentation of your research results; the teaching in class can and should take a less formal form. At the end of the group teaching session, each member of the group will tell me (confidentially) how many points each other group member should receive, out of 5 for the paper and out of 5 for the teaching session. Thus, of the total 50 points for group work, 10 will be determined by the average of the other group members’ ratings.
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