Survey of Economics

Syllabus Winter 2012



Sam Barker



Pearson Custom Economics, ISBN 9780558616847, is the required text book.  It is available through the Walla Walla Community College Bookstore.   



Computer with modem and e-mail capabilities.


Office Hours: 

I will be available Monday and Wednesday from 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.  You can reach my by phone, during the above hours, at 509-529-4342. 



I check my “Course Mail” each week day; however, please do not expect me to be online 24/7.  Furthermore, I will generally not be available during the weekends or holidays. 


You can email me from within the course website by clicking the “Communicate” tab, “Quick Message,” “To,” “B,” my name, and “To.”  My goal is to respond to emails within two business days. 


Course Description:

This course is designed to introduce economics and the economic approach to the problems created by scarcity. Specifically, the course will be economics for non-majors: fundamental concepts of economic analysis with application to contemporary problems.  You should learn what a market system is and how it has come to be the dominate economic system in the world today. Also, you should be able to evaluate free market outcomes as to their effectiveness and efficiency using the traditional tools of economic analysis. You will be asked to analyze possible social/political interventions into the market to solve contemporary problems, as well as the effectiveness of past interventions.  Finally, you should note that this course is not designed for economics or four year business majors.  While it will help prepare students in those majors, those students are expected to take a two class sequence in micro- and macroeconomics.



A proficiency in English, math, and reading all at a precollege level are prerequisites for the course. 


Since most of the communications in this class will take place over the Internet and email, computer access and computer skills are also prerequisites.  Specifically, proficiencies in both Excel and Word are required. 


There are a couple of resources on the home page which can help you assess whether you have the technical and skill requirements for an online course. You can access these resources by clicking “Prospective Students” at the top of the WAOL home page.  The resources include “Quiz: Is elearning for me?” and “Skills & Tech requirements.”



If you have any questions regarding these prerequisites, please contact me to make sure this class is appropriate for you.



This class represents an alternative method of teaching and learning economics.   While we will be using the Internet to communicate, our goal is to maintain as much of the traditional experience of the classroom as possible.  Therefore, the course objectives, course schedule, assessment criteria, and grading are much like the economics course offered in the actual classroom.  At the same time, we want to take advantage of the convenience, flexibility, and added resources that technology offers.  That means that you will be able to read lectures, work problems, ask questions, and provide comments according to your own time schedule, consistent with the time requirements that I will establish.


While online education provides flexibility and convenience, it also requires a time commitment at least equivalent to a traditional, face-to-face class.   A good rule of thumb for a college level class is to expect to invest three hours per week for every credit unit of the course.  As this is a five credit course, you can expect to invest fifteen hours per week, at a minimum, in reading, discussing, problem solving, and other class activities leading to your mastery of the learning objectives for this course.   Rather than spending time commuting to the campus at times that may not be convenient for you, you can participate in the class  from the comfort of your office or home, at times that are convenient to you.  But, you still need to do it in a disciplined and consistent manner!


We will be covering ten chapters, one chapter per week, during the course of the quarter.  The class week begins on Monday and ends on the following Sunday.  I will make an announcement when a chapter is coming to an end and a new chapter is beginning.  At the start of week, I will post the week’s assignments in the Course Materials section of Angel. 


Course Objectives:

By the end of the course you should be able to: 

·         read, interpret and evaluate information generated by the media about economics;

·         place those articles within traditional economic analysis, i.e. micro, macro, market failures, impacts on efficiency, etc.;

·         use fundamental tools in analyzing current issues, i.e. opportunity cost, marginal analysis, supply and demand, etc.;

·         define economics and state what function an economy serves in society;

·         state the fundamental economic problem;

·         explain the concept of opportunity cost and how economists use it;

·         read, interpret and use graphs, along with other quantitative tools, commonly used in economics.  These include, supply and demand, production possibilities, cost/benefit analysis, marginal analysis and business cycle model;

·         demonstrate an understanding of the economic, political, social and cultural responses to scarcity and place those responses in appropriate context;

·         recognize and use the three main paradigms (views of how the economy really works) used in economic analysis:  neoclassical nonintervention, Keynesian active intervention and Marxist/structuralist;

·         note and evaluate the role of government in an economy;

·         evaluate past and present attempts to intervene in market outcomes;

·         recognize market failures, their impact on efficiency and evaluate attempts to correct them;

·         understand the forces (demand and supply) that drive overall economic activity in market;

·         recognize the strengths and weaknesses of the commonly used measurements of macroeconomic performance (GDP, CPI and Unemployment rates);

·         explain the role of money supply in the macro economy;

·         explain the role of the Federal Reserve in developing and executing monetary policy;

·         note the increasing role of international trade in the world;

·         understand the gains from trade and specialization; and

·         recognize the institutional framework of the current international economy. 


Late exams, homework, or quizzes may be penalized unless I receive sufficient notice and adequate reasons prior to the due date.  Exams, homework, and quizzes are due by midnight of the due date.


The quizzes and exams are taken online.  You may use your book and any other reference material while taking the quizzes and exams.  However, you may not collaborate with classmates or other individuals while taking them. 


Homework assignments will be assigned in the week’s folder.  Most, if not all, of the homework assignments will be team assignments. 


Points Possible:

Most, if not all, weeks will have approximately 20+ possible points in assignments, quizzes, etc.  There will be three exams during the quarter each worth 100 points.  So, there will be approximately 485 possible points.  I say approximately 485 possible points because I reserve the right to add or delete an assignment(s) worth a few points during the course of the quarter. 


The scores for the quizzes and exams are recorded in the grade book instantaneously when you click “Continue” after completing the quiz or exam. 


My goal is to have your homework graded and recorded within two business days of the specific assignment’s due date.


I do not provide extra credit opportunities.


Grading Scale:

Final grades will be determined by taking the student’s total points earned divided by the total possible points and applying the resulting percentage to the following table.



93 – 100



90 - 92



87 – 89



83 – 86



80 – 82



77 – 79



73 – 76



70 – 72



67 – 69



60 – 66






ACA Accomodations:


To request accommodations related to a disability, contact Claudia Angus, Ph.D., Coordinator of Disability Support Services, at 527-4262 or email [email protected]


It is the student’s responsibility to identify with the DSS office and provide documentation to verify the functional impact of the disability. After a careful review of the documentation, reasonable accommodations are considered for the course. A letter, describing the accommodations, is then issued to the instructor. The student presents the letter to the instructor and discusses with the instructor how the accommodations will be implemented. Accommodations start when the instructor receives the letter and are valid for that quarter only. The letter is a confidential document and should be shredded at the end of the quarter.


A short video explaining Disability Support Services at WWCC is available by clicking