Syllabus- The Professor’s Cut (Spring 24)

Every professor, myself included, tells students to “Read the syllabus”.  Heck, even Snoop Dogg tells you to read the syllabus.

There’s good reason to read it. It tells you how the class will run, what you’ll study, and what your responsibilities are. It tells you what to expect and how to plan your time. Unfortunately most syllabi are grey, dull, boring, and approximately as interesting to read as the terms and conditions page on your cell phone service.  I want to make an effort to change that.

The thing is, few professors explain why the syllabus and the course is the way it is. Truth is, there’s often a reason why things are as they are. It’s really not all random and arbitrary, although I know it can often feel that way to a student.  I’m also aware that different professors do things differently and for different reasons. Learning to navigate the differences in courses and professors is part of your learning in higher education.


So with all that in mind, I’m offering this version of the syllabus. It’s what I call the “Professor’s Cut” version. It’s like the “Director’s Cut” version of a movie or a video game where the director explains why certain shots were done the way they were.  I believe if you understand where I’m coming from in the rules, etc, you’ll be able to learn better and use your time better.

What you’ll see here are direct quotes from the official syllabus in the LCC Concourse system. The entire official syllabus is quoted here in the parts that are indented and prefaced by the black side bar like this:

Principles of Economics-Micro  ECON-201

Fall 2024
Section 50113 and 501639

4 Credits

01/08/2024 to 05/06/2024
Modified 01/01/2024

Then in the regular text, like this sentence, you’ll read my commentary on the official syllabus.  Why do it this way instead of just adding my commentary to the official syllabus?  Well, I’m not allowed.  The school requires the “Official syllabus” to be in a certain format on the Concourse Syllabus System and I’m not allowed to call anything else like this page “the Official Syllabus”.  In addition, I’m not allowed to embed GIF’s and videos in the Concourse version of the official syllabus and what fun is that?  Let’s keep going.

Contact Information

Professor: Jim Luke

  • Email:
  • Office: I am not on campus this semester due to disability and I no longer have an office on campus. However, I am easily available and eager to talk via telephone, online chat, Webex, or other video connections. Contact me and let’s set a time to talk. It doesn’t have to be during official office hours.
  • Office Phone: 517-483-5384 Since I’m working remotely, this number is guaranteed to go to voice mail. You’re better off with my cell phone and identifying yourself as an LCC Micro student
  • Cell/texting: 313-550-8884 – please let me know not only who you are, but that you’re an LCC student and you’re in my 201 class.
  • Department Phone Number: 517-483-1546
    NOTE: Department support staff are located in GB 1222
  • Website: blog) (note: these are not the sites used in this course. This is my professional site on the Web. Sites used in the course are described below in Required Materials)

Office Hours: Wednesday ONLINE, 12 noon to 2pm and other times by arrangement

I can meet online or talk by phone when it works for you– just ask me! I can talk via phone, video conference, or chat online.

I’m required to list an hour of official office hours. The reality is I’m very available and flexible -especially during this stay-at-home pandemic time. I mean, I’m an old guy with asthma, some disabilities, and some other health issues. Where else do you think I’m going to be during these Covid times? I’m most likely in my home office, researching the economics of higher ed for a book I’m writing or doomscrolling on social media while procrastinating the work I should do or otherwise driving my recently retired wife nuts.  If you need help or if you’re just curious or if you just want to chat some econ or higher ed stuff, I’m available. I teach all online. So call me. Email me (that’s often best). Text me. Tell me you want to chat or ask a question or meet. Let’s find a time and do it. Remember, calling my LCC “office” number is guaranteed to go to voice mail. Better to email or text my cell and mention who you are.

The one thing I ask is that when you text me or leave a voice mail, please let me know who you are and that you’re a student in my LCC macro class.  You see, that’s my cell phone and relative to you, I’m “an old”. And us “olds” get lots and lots of spam phone calls and spam texts because all kinds of scammers think it’s a great idea to scam old folks out of their money.  Help me recognize that you’re somebody I really, really want to call/text back because you’re my student and not some “foreign prince” that’s trying to sell me more Medicare insurance or tell me my account at The Federal Reserve Bank is being cancelled unless I tell them my Soc Sec number (these are all real scam calls I’ve heard). Students are the good folks. Scammers, not so much.

If there are specific days-hours listed, they’re “tentative”.  I just picked it more or less at random. I have no idea if that’s when most students could meet.  If it changes, I’ll tell you.

My normal routine is to open this course first thing in the morning each week day and answer emails, questions in forums, do grading, and monitor what’s happening. If all’s going well and you don’t have a specific question, I’ll let you keep at it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  But please don’t think that any silence on my part means I’m absent. I’m not. I’m just letting you all do your thing and follow the process.


This course is designed to develop objective consideration of economic issues and provides information and understanding of how resources are allocated by prices. Topics for study include price theory, consumer demand, cost and market structure, the role of government in the market, resource pricing, and international trade. (F,Sp,Su)


Prerequisite Course: None
Placement Scores: Reading Level 5 and Math Level 4

Contact Hours







Total Hrs


Student Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Explain the basic problem of scarcity faced by all societies and the resulting need for choice, and list and explain the three fundamental questions (what, how and for whom) that must be answered in any economy because of scarcity.
  2. Use a production possibilities curve to illustrate opportunity cost, economic growth, underemployment of resources and increasing costs.
  3. Use a graph or a numerical example to explain how supply and demand interact to determine the price and quantity sold of a product.
  4. Use supply and demand analysis to show and explain the directions of movement of the price and quantity sold of a specified produce that would occur as a result of a hypothetical event or an event in the news.
  5. Explain and illustrate with a graph the effects on a market of a government action preventing the price of a good from moving to equilibrium and maintaining that price either above or below the equilibrium price.
  6. Explain price elasticity of demand and the relationship between the price elasticity of demand for a product and the effects of a price change on total revenue.
  7. Explain marginal utility, the utility maximizing rule, and the income and substitution effects of a price change.
  8. Explain the law of diminishing returns and how it affects production and costs in the short run.
  9. Explain implicit and explicit cost, the calculation of pure economic profit and the difference between economic profit and accounting profit.
  10. Compute average fixed cost, average variable cost, average total cost and marginal cost when given total cost data.  Sketch a family of typical short run cost curves and explain the relationships between those curves.
  11. Show the typical company’s long run average cost curve and explain how it is derived.  Explain economies and diseconomies of scale and the causes of each.
  12. List the characteristics of the four market structures (perfect competition, pure monopoly, monopolistic competition, and oligopoly) and give examples of each.
  13. Explain and show, using both tables and graphs, how companies in each of these market structures determine the price and quantity that will maximize profits in the short run.  Use the table and graph to show the size of the profits or loss.
  14. Explain the forces that affect each of these markets in the long run and explain and show graphically the long run equilibrium situation.
  15. Explain the goals of productive efficiency, allocative efficiency, and incentives for innovation and how successful each market structure is in achieving those goals.
  16. Describe how markets fail due to positive and negative externalities or other causes.
  17. Describe and analyze the concept of comparative advantage and the effects and costs and benefits of both restricted and unrestricted international trade.
  18. Identify the characteristics of public goods and explain the need for government involvement in their provision.
  19. Compare and contrast the similarities and differences between Goods and Services Markets, Labor Markets, and Financial Capital Markets.

Blah, blah, blah, blah. This is all required boilerplate text from the college. I don’t have any authority to change it or add to it. As one of the econ faculty I have some minor influence in changing some the wording here for all ECON 202 classes but that’s a bureaucratic process that often takes over a year. Most of this is here to communicate what the course was about to any school to whom you transfer your credits.  It won’t surprise me if many of the things listed here don’t mean much to you now at the start. I hope they do once you finish. You want to know what we’re going to study this semester? Browse the textbook or the site we’re going to use.

For the really good stuff about how to conquer this course (if not the world), keep reading.




Required Online Sites

We will use two websites for this course.

All graded activity such as quizzes, your answers to worksheet questions, required discussion forums, and midterm/final exams are located in the LCC D2L website.  You must login to the D2L site using your LCC user id.

“Content”, meaning the stuff you read and study like “Jim’s Guide” readings, textbook readings, tutorials, worksheet materials, and other study materials are located at (opens in new tab).  Links to your textbook readings online are available from, as well as other resources about economics. There is no need to login at the It is a permanent, public website maintained by me, your professor. An annotated copy of this syllabus is also available there where I explain the rationale behind some policies (see under the Unit 1 tab).

There are links from D2L to those readings and resources at, You can get there either by going to D2L first and finding the appropriate links under “Content” OR by just entering the URL in your web browser directly. Personally, I suggest you bookmark the site and navigate to it directly in your browser.  You’ll do most of your reading and work in the site and only really need to go to D2L for quizzes and forum postings.  I recommend just starting at the site, especially since it works very well on all devices including phones.

  • Availability: online the Web
  • Price: free

Your textbook for this class is available for free online and links to the textbook readings are included in the course online readings/website (, therefore there’s nothing you really need to do to “get the textbook”. It will be linked in the website.

If However, if you prefer to download your own PDF copy of the entire book or even order a good-old print-on-paper copy, here’s what you need to know.

Textbook:  Principles of Economics 2e

  • Author: Steve Greenlaw, David Shapiro, and Timothy Taylor
  • Publisher: OpenStax
  • Edition: Publish Date Oct 11, 2017
  • ISBN: Print: ISBN-10: 1-947172-36-0 ISBN-13: 978-1-947172-36-4 Digital: ISBN-10: 1-947172-37-9 ISBN-13: 978-1-947172-37-1 iBooks: ISBN-10: 1-947172-48-4 ISBN-13: 978-1-947172-48-7
  • Availability:
  • Price: free for online or pdf; print available at $38 or less

For-profit publisher economics textbooks are outrageously priced. For example, a new, printed edition of the popular Krugman text is over $300. The Mankiw text is over $325. We, the economics faculty at LCC, think that’s unjustified and it represents a monopolistic abuse of students. So we choose to use an Open Educational Resource (OER), an openly licensed (Creative Commons) textbook. I do happen to know the author, Steve Greenlaw, fairly well personally. My personal assessment is that nearly all economics principles texts are pretty crappy.  Maybe I’ll write a non-crappy one when I retire, we’ll see.  This one is much less crappy than most. And it’s free (online or download). That’s why it’s assigned and I add a lot of my own stuff on this website.  For more details about how to use this public website I’ve created for this course, see the Unit 1 Jim’s Guide.

Easy buttonNow just in case you haven’t fully gotten this message yet, I’ll be real clear:  Not only is the textbook free, you don’t have to do anything to “get a copy”. I have put links to the online textbook chapters in my site. Just work through the units on my site and you’ll be given the links to the part of the textbook you need to read when you need to read it.  EZ-PEAZY. 

I’m a huge advocate of openness in education. I spend a lot of time researching it, presenting at national and international conferences about it, and writing about it on my blog and I’m working on a book about it.  This site is open to all and stays open because I think I better walk my own talk.


Student Electronic Access to Grades

Students will have access to their grades through D2L in order to receive feedback on their progress in the course at any time. These grades will align with the Evaluation Criteria listed in this syllabus. D2L is accessed through the MyLCC page.

Whenever practicable, results for graded items should be posted electronically within 48 hours after the instructor has completed the grading process for the items, and final grades for the course should be entered no later than the specified grading day.


Methods of Assessment and Learning How Well You Are Learning

Quizzes – 180 points

Quizzes are multiple-choice and true-false question tests with only one best answer for each question. Some graphs and minor calculations may be involved. The last unit, unit 14, doesn’t have a quiz. Quizzes are administered online through Desire2Learn. Students will be shown their score (# correct) immediately and which questions they missed, but not correct answers.  Quizzes do not have time limits. Any quiz may be re-taken, but each quiz may only be taken a maximum of two times. The highest of the two quiz submissions will be counted. Note: Unit Quizzes do not all have the same number of questions. Some are longer than others. Check the Suggested Schedule for guidance as to how many questions (each 1 point) to expect in the Unit quiz and plan your study time accordingly.

Worksheets – 70 points

There will be 7 worksheet assignments. These worksheets are assigned in various Units, but not all units will have a worksheet assignment. A worksheet consists of a table of data and/or graph about an economic situation or problem. Some initial data is provided and students are expected to calculate the remaining data. After completing the blank parts of the worksheet, you will answer a short series of questions online. The data you calculate will be needed to answer the questions. Worksheet answers may submitted as many times as the student chooses. The last submission counts. In addition, students are encouraged to collaborate and discuss the worksheet problems on the discussion forums.

Worksheets involve both the use of the open course website and the D2L site.  The data, problem description, preview of the questions, and tips are on a  page on the site.  Once you solve that worksheet there, you submit your answers to be graded/recorded on D2L.

Midterm Test – 35 points

A midterm exam of 35 questions (35 points) is taken at the conclusion of Units 7.  This test may only be attempted once. There is a time limit of 100 minutes for completing the test. Once a test is opened, it must be completed – it cannot be saved, closed, and re-opened later. When you open a test, be sure you have time to complete it. Some graphs and calculations may be involved – you may want to have a simple calculator and/or scratch paper available when you take the test.

Required Forum posts – 15 points

In D2L, there are three forums with required posts reflecting on your learning. In Unit one there is a “Who are you? And Why Are You Here?” forum. In Unit 7, just before the midterm is a self-reflection on how things are going at that point. Finally, at the end of the course, there is a reflection on how you handled your studying choices.  You get 5 points for posting in each of these forums. All forums are in D2L.

There are also “HELP” forums available for online help in D2L. These are entirely optional and do not count towards course grade. The HELP forums are for you to help each other or ask me for help with problems, issues, or to clarify course problems. HELP forums are very useful if you struggle with a particular worksheet.

Final Review Exercise – 5 points

An online exercise to help review and prepare for the final exam will be available in the last two weeks of the course. It is worth 10 points. Answers are not graded but students will receive 10 points credit for completing the exercise.

Final Examination – 100 points

The final exam will be comprehensive and will have two parts.
Part one is an objective test (i.e. multiple-choice or problem-solving) that is taken on D2L and is timed.  Part One will be available online during the last week of class. More information about the exam will be available in the weeks before it is open.

The second part is an essay you will write and submit during the final week.  The essay is worth 50 points.  The “writing prompt” or question you’ll be asked to write on will be announced sometime 2-3 weeks before the essay is due.

Extra Credit

Extra credit is not available in this course. Students’ time is better spent reworking worksheets and quizzes. It produces more points for your time investment.


Types of evaluations and related weights
Type Weight Topic Notes
Quizzes 45% each unit

180 points total from all graded quizzes at end of each unit; best of two attempts for each

Assignments: Worksheets (listed as “quizzes” in D2L) plus Final Review Exercise 17.5% Seven selected units

70 points total from 7 worksheets. Unlimited attempts are allowed, but only the Last submission of each worksheet counts. Plus 5 points for Final Review Exercise.

Midterm Test 8.75% Midterm covers units 2-7

MC midterm exam online. Total of 35 points. Only one attempt allowed. Maximum 100 minutes timed.

Required Forum Postings 3.75% Forums in Unit 1 and Unit 14

5 points for posting in each of units 1, 7, and 14

Final Exam (both parts together) 25% comprehensive on all topics

Includes both the multiple choice portion that serves to replace the “departmental final” during the pandemic; and the essay-based instructor portion


Course Grade % of Possible total points Minimum Points Earned
4.0  — Excellent  93 – 100% 372
3.5  — ——— 86 – 90% 344
3.0  — Good  81 – 85% 324
2.5  — ——— 76 – 80% 304
2.0  — Satisfactory 71 – 75% 284
1.5  — ——— 66 – 70% 264
1.0  — Poor 60 – 65% 240
0.0  — ——– 0 – 59% 0


Most of the above, at least the details, are self-explanatory, I hope. (if not, PLEASE ASK!).  What’s not obvious is why I do it this way.  Put simply, I do not believe in grades. To be more specific, I think grades and grading get in the way of people learning.  Students get focused on short-term regurgitation of details for some test. Students get anxious. And don’t even get me started on how imprecise and arbitrary the measurement is.

I want you to learn about economics because the more you know, the better you can navigate your life – regardless of your chosen profession.  It can be interesting, but grades just get in the way. More importantly, my research on learning and pedagogy tells me that we can’t quantify and reliably measure learning. I am firmly convinced that learning, real learning – the kind of learning where you feel the lightbulb go on and go AH-HA!- cannot be quantitatively and objectively measured (there’s a very similar problem in economics: how to measure ‘value’ which we’ll see when we study “GDP”).

If I had my way, I wouldn’t have grades.  But I can’t do that. The school requires that I do grades. The schools you transfer to expect that LCC professors are assigning grades. So here’s my solution. It’s a modified version of a practice called “contract grading”.

I can’t measure directly what you’ve learned.  I can’t identify or measure the AH-HA! moment you’ll have.  What I can do, is lay out a process – a sequence of steps and activities – that I know with high degree of confidence will lead to learning about economics.  (for you budding business majors, this concept is actually the core concept behind continuous quality improvement processes and statistical process quality control). The process I’ve laid out is largely readings and doing the worksheets in a particular order, followed by periodic self-reflection. Some concepts in economics aren’t well grasped just by reading. You actually need to try to use them to analyze something. That’s why the worksheets. That’s also why the worksheets can be repeated as many times as you wish. Do it till you get it or until you’ve given up and decided the opportunity cost of seeking those last 2 points isn’t worth it.

But what about the quizzes? Isn’t that an attempt to “measure what you’ve learned”?  Not really.  I hope you learn a lot of things that aren’t on the quizzes. I can’t write questions for everything I hope you learn. What I’m doing with the quizzes is basically doing a sampling to see if you did the readings and thought about them.  They’re also as much feedback to you as to me – and that’s why you can repeat them.  The quizzes are an imperfect indicator to me (and you) of whether and how seriously you did the readings. That’s their purpose. I also provide practice quizzes that don’t count. Once you get into the course, you’ll see that practice quiz questions are similar (but not identical) to graded quiz questions. If you can do well on the practice quizzes, you’ll do well on the graded unit quizzes. And if you actually remember longer term what you did on the graded quizzes, you’ll do well on the exams.

The final exam is a bit of an experiment. We used to have a mandatory, departmental final that was proctored and no-notes. It was all multiple choice in my class.  However, with the Covid pandemic we haven’t been able to proctor exams for online classes. Each instructor is on their own. I’ve opted for a split , two-part final exam: one part is involves 20 online MC questions and  the other part is a self-reflective essay you’ll write. You’ll have plenty of advance notice and time for the essay topic.

That leaves us with the forums and review exercises.  Writing is a way to help us think. I am not judging or grading what you write in the forums at all. I’m interested in what you’re thinking.  I have tried to create forums and prompts that will help nudge your thinking while you’re doing the course.  Please don’t treat this as “I just gotta say some b.s. with some buzzwords” type things. That doesn’t help you and it wastes my time reading it. Again, I’m not trying to measure what you’ve learned. I’m trying to see if you complete the process. I’m curious what you think. So write your posts and replies. You get the full points for writing – whatever you write.  In forums, I’m not looking for finished product. I’m not looking for you to write the next great economics research paper. I’m looking for you to “think out loud”. The only way to “fail” the unit one forum or the journaling forum is to not write it. Period. Oh, and BTW, for the reflections “journal”, your entries don’t have to all be sentences-paragraphs, etc. If you think a video or a haiku or GIF or an image with some text explains what you’re thinking at that point, feel free to do it.

Regarding your overall grade, I can assure you this. I’ve been doing this a long time. Trust me. If you simply follow the process, do the work, and don’t procrastinate, you will succeed in this class.  I cannot remember a student who failed or didn’t succeed “because they just couldn’t get it” or “because they’re not good at math” or “because they were stupid”.  The only students who don’t succeed are the ones who don’t follow the process or don’t do the work, procrastinate, and try to do the whole course in 3 days.  And there are very, very few of those students.  I want you to succeed and I want you learn econ.  Work with me and I’ll help you all I can.


Course Policies


Since this is an asynchronous online class that, as explained above, really only has four “hard” deadlines, this class/course isn’t really affected by “snow days” or other physical closures of the campus. If a campus closure somehow does interfere with your ability to meet one of the four “hard” deadlines, please email me and we’ll work out arrangements.

I hope this is self-explanatory. This is an online asynchronous, partly self-scheduled course. The idea of “closing” for a “snow day” isn’t real meaningful and doesn’t really change much, but I’ve got to include this here.

Faculty and Student Engagement

In this course, I will engage with you by providing grading and feedback two business days after your assignments are due, responding to your emails within two business days and through the following methods of engagement.

  • Providing a regular schedule for submitting assignments.
  • Posting regular course announcements.
  • Utilizing technology tools, strategically and purposely, to improve the understanding of course topics (for example, presenting course materials using various techniques and approaches, including text, audio, video, or screen capture).
  • Creating assignments and activities that are engaging and relate to the learning outcomes of the course.
  • providing an extensive supplemental website written in casual, personal voice to explain each topic and unit in the course. These are called “Jim’s Guides” and have proven to be extremely popular with students in the past.
  • responding to direct student inquiries posted on the HELP forums and via email 
  • providing customized tutorials on “Closer Look” pages of the supplemental website
  • timely reading and, response if necessary, to students’ “Connecting with Macro” personal journals about their learning progress and reflections.

The above “policy” is a new part of the syllabus required by the school. It’s as much a communication to accreditation reviewers as it is to you. Let’s move on to the course policies I’ve created that you’re probably really interested in right now:

[more course policies]

Class Attendance/Participation

Students are expected to be active online every week and do their best to meet the suggested schedule dates. Students who find themselves unable to do so are strongly encouraged to contact the professor so we can figure out how to get back on track.

Students who do not complete Unit 1 assignment (quiz) by the required Unit 1 deadline will be reported as not having attended and will be dropped as part of the Attendance Verification process.

Scheduling and Due Dates: Flexible Schedule

Planning and scheduling your own work is integral to learning economics. In particular it helps you experience concepts of scarcity, opportunity costs, production possibilities, and other economic principles in your own life.  Therefore, I’ve designed this course to provide a significant amount of flexibility to you in scheduling your own work.

There are four “hard deadlines“, as listed below. The “hard deadlines” or “mandatory deadlines” are the only deadlines where there are required negative consequences if you don’t meet them.  Typically, if you miss a “hard deadline” you either get dropped or you have missed any opportunity to complete certain assignments (Unit 1 or midterms), or both.  Either way you risk not finishing the course or at least making your grade lower.

Mandatory “Hard” Deadlines:

  • Last day to complete Quiz 1, (and post to the two forums). Jan 18 end of day
  • Last day to complete midterm test- Mar 22 end of day  (but recommended earlier)
  • Last day to complete everything including the final exam: May 6 end of day.

Organization of Course and Suggested Work Schedule

The course is divided into 14 Units. The Units of the course does not exactly follow the chapters in the textbook and not in the same sequence. Similarly, a “Unit” can be thought of as taking approximately a week’s activity, but students are advised that some units will take more work/time than others. Consult the Suggested Schedule for optimum timing. For more information and details see the Lessons tab of the course and the “Jim’s Guide” for each unit on the Desire2Learn course website or at the website. Unit numbers in the course do NOT correspond directly to chapter numbers in the book.

In addition to the required “hard” deadlines listed above, a schedule of suggested completion dates for each of the 14 units plus midterms and final is provided via the link below. This suggested schedule is also available in D2L and can be bookmarked for your convenience. Suggested dates are provided as a convenience to you so you can plan and monitor your progress.  If you don’t meet certain suggested dates, the only consequence is that you fall a little bit behind and will need to “pick up the pace” as you move forward. It’s important to not fall seriously behind. In my experience the single greatest cause of poor grades in this course is procrastination. On the upside, if can discipline yourself to work regularly at a nice pace and not fall seriously behind, experience indicates you are virtually guaranteed to succeed in this course. More information about scheduling and deadlines is in Unit 1 of the course, and by checking the Suggested Schedule.  Plan your own pace and schedule accordingly. To help you plan your scheduling, look at the Suggested Schedule of Work Assignments (click on this link to view Schedule as a web page in a new tab or window).

Discussion and Collaboration

Students are encouraged to assist each other in learning and mastering the material, particularly when dealing with the problem worksheets. A discussion forum will be provided for this use. Collaboration, however, is only for students to help each other understand the material. Trading, sharing, or publishing of specific answers to specific quiz or exam questions is prohibited and will be considered a violation of academic integrity

I encourage discussion between students and the sharing of ideas and information. One of the best methods for learning and truly grasping economic concepts is to explain them to others. Students are welcome to assist each other in learning. However, the direct exchange of answers to questions without discussion, argument, or reasoned explanation is viewed as academic dishonesty. I reserve the right to reject the score of any assessment that I suspect may have been obtained dishonestly and not through student learning, even without proof of any dishonest actions by the student.

Note on Use of “AI” Systems such as ChatGPT, etc.:  My above policy encouraging discussion and collaboration extends only to actual other human beings enrolled in the course or that otherwise might be reasonable sources of actual real human intelligence such as a tutor from the Learning Commons. Given the hype we’ve heard in the past year or so about the “wonderous” and “intelligent” AI systems that Silicon Valley has created  (clue: they aren’t), I understand how it might be tempting to use such systems to formulate answers for forums (like your journal assignment) or the final exam essay portion. Don’t do it. Please. You will be wasting your time, you’ll learn nothing, and you’ll get garbage back from a stupid computer that’s wasting enormous energy and water just to have a pretend dialog with you.  I’m serious.  I have a much better idea.  If you’re stumped or lost or even just feel hopelessly behind in the course and desperate –instead of checking with the AI things, CALL ME!  Yes, me. The instructor. A real human being (I’ve got lab reports from my doctor as proof!). I can help you do the assignment AND learn something. And I like to talk about economics.

Extra Credit

Extra credit is not available in this course. Students’ time is better spent reworking worksheets and quizzes. It produces more points for your time investment.

Electronic Gradebook

The “Electronic Gradebook” is actually the D2L gradebook function. Students will have access to their grades through D2L in order to receive feedback on their progress in the course at any time. These grades will align with the Evaluation Criteria listed in this syllabus.

Results for quizzes and worksheet submissions (which D2L also calls “quizzes”) are autograded when submitted. Required forum posts, which earn points just by posting, are manually entered and generally posted within 2 “school” days of posting. Final exams are graded as a batch process the day after classes end.

Students are cautioned that D2L overall percentages-converted-to-“course grades so far” may be misleading if a student is behind the suggested schedule.  See the course announcement on “Calculating and estimating grades so far”

The above are my personal policies for the class. I think they’re largely self-explanatory, but if not, please ask.  My reasoning for the flexibility in dates is simple. There’s a trade-off from my perspective. Putting all this flexibility in regarding dates for completing units puts students who aren’t disciplined in time management or their scheduling at risk. I know that. I try to nudge those students to learn to manage better. But I also know that setting what I consider “artificial” deadlines – things like “do unit 2 by x date or it won’t be accepted” poses a real problem for many students.  You all have complicated real lives. There’s a life outside this econ class. You have families, friends, jobs, activities, and on and on. It’s tough to manage. You also have other courses that don’t have time flexibility in deadlines. Often those other courses have deadlines for good reasons: the activities in the class require all students to be reading the same thing at the same time. This course material doesn’t really demand that. So I try to provide as much flexibility as I can.   I trust you.


Brown M&M Clause

It is not advised to provide me, Jim, your professor, with brown M&M’s.  If you view this YouTube video you will get an idea as to why this clause is here.

This is my clause. Of course it’s silly. Just like it was silly of the band Van Halen to make a similar demand of their concert venues. But if you listen/watch the video, you’ll understand.  It’s kind of like the reasoning behind my quiz questions. It’s not so much the question per se, just like it’s not so much about brown M&M’s. Instead, it’s a short-cut way to see if the reading was done.  It’s also an example of more sophisticated concept from game theory economics called “signaling”. BTW, here’s the video:

Institutional Policies



For transfer information, please consult the LCC Transfer Center webpage.  In addition, the Michigan Transfer Network website allows students to search how courses transfer to colleges and universities statewide.

The Michigan Transfer Agreement (MTA) simplifies the transfer of students from one Michigan institution to another. For the most current information, see the LCC General Education webpage.

Students interested in transfer should contact the Transfer Center in the Gannon Building, Room 2204, or call (517) 483-9700.

Disability Statement

Students with disabilities who may need accommodations in this class should contact the Center for Student Access (CSA). They are located in the Gannon Building, Star Zone – Center for Student Support.  You can also access the Center for Student Access website, or call (517) 483-1924.  Contacting the Center early helps ensure that accommodations for you are put in place as soon as possible.

I want to make a comment or two about “disabilities”. And here, I’m not joking. I have multiple disabilities myself. I’m dyslexic. I’m ADHD. I was born with respiratory  & immune system issues that have affected me in many ways including creating a lot of problems in K-12 for me and have severely limited many activities for me the past few years. As an adult I developed a visual impairment called keratoconus. I call myself a part-time blind guy.

So I understand. Of course I support and will follow the school’s policy as stated in the syllabus.  But I also recognize (and remember) that students often have disabilities and other challenges that don’t go through that official process and frankly, in my opinion, shouldn’t have to. My point is, again, trust me. Talk to me. If there’s something I can do to help you learn with less struggle or anxiety, let me know. I’m interested.

And, finally, I’d add that those last few lines apply in general, too. If life is getting in your way, if you’re facing what educators now call “food insecurity” or other issues (back in my day when I was walking up hill both directions to school we just called it hungry, 😉 ) or any other life challenges, you can talk to me. I don’t promise miracles but I’ll try.


Student Code of Conduct and General Rules and Guidelines

The College recognizes the value and importance of a safe and orderly learning environment that supports honesty, integrity, and ethical conduct. The Student Code of Conduct and General Rules and Guidelines ensure the protection of student rights and the health and safety of the College community.  The College has established procedures for reporting and addressing alleged violations.

Students must follow the Student Code of Conduct and the General Rules and Guidelines. Also, the instructor may establish reasonable guidelines within the classroom. Violations of the Student Code of Conduct and General Rules and Guidelines may be reported to the Office of Student Compliance.

Enrollment Verification

Instructors will verify participation in a course by the 8th day after the start date of sections less than 8 weeks long, and by the 15th day after the start date of sections 8 weeks or longer. Students who have not participated will be dropped from the course and may be responsible for any non-refundable fees.

Academic Success Coaches (ASC)

Student success is our first goal. Our Academic Success Coaches mentor students to help them meet their educational, personal, and career goals. Faculty or staff may submit an Academic Alert to refer you to an ASC for the resources needed to be successful in class. Please watch your LCC email for a referral.

We also suggest you contact an ASC on your own if you need help or advice to reach your goals.

To contact an ASC, call (517) 483-1422, email, or visit the Academic Success Coach Team website for more information.

Nondiscrimination Statement

LCC provides equal opportunity for all persons and prohibits discriminatory practices based on race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, creed, ancestry, height, weight, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, familial status, marital status, military status, veteran’s status, or other status as protected by law, or genetic information that is unrelated to the person’s ability to perform the duties of a particular job or position or participate in educational programs, courses, services, or activities offered by the College.

The following individuals have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policies: Equal Opportunity Officer, Washington Court Place, 309 N. Washington Square Lansing, MI 48933, 517-483-1730; Employee Coordinator 504/ADA, Administration Building, 610 N. Capitol Ave. Lansing, MI 48933, 517-483-1875; Student Coordinator 504/ADA, Gannon Building, 411 N. Grand Ave. Lansing, MI 48933, 517-483-1885; Human Resource Manager/Employee Title IX Coordinator, Administration Building, 610 N. Capitol Ave. Lansing, MI 48933, 517-483-1879; Student Title IX Coordinator, Gannon Building, 411 N. Grand Ave. Lansing, MI 48933, 517-483-9632.

Media Release Statement

Photographs, pictures, slides, movies, video, or other media coverage of students may be taken for College-related business, in connection with their enrollment or participation in LCC activities without compensation from LCC, its Trustees, officers, directors, employees, students, and agents of each of them.  Photographs, pictures, slides, movies, video, or other media coverage of students may be used for any legal purposes.

College Catalog

For information, rules, and procedures on matters such as the Academic Calendar, Appeals, Extra Credit, Incompletes, Withdrawals, etc., please review the College Catalog, and contact your Academic Advisor or Academic Success Coach with any questions.

Emergency Notifications and the Rave Guardian App

The College uses an emergency notification system to provide information on urgent situations such as power outages, weather emergencies, and other incidents related to the safety and security of those on campus.  Therefore, it is important that we have the correct contact information on file. To review and update your contact information for those alerts, go to myLCC, School tab, Student eToolbox, and click on “Emergency Notification System”.  You will be directed to your RAVE alert personal dashboard, where you can review, update, confirm, and test the phone numbers and email addresses on file.  Students with a mobile/cell number on file will receive text alerts. If you made updates to your contact information, please also go to the Banner Self Service Personal Information tab to update your contact information in Banner.  You may also want to download the Rave Guardian app which has features to enhance your safety on and off campus.  For more information, see the LCC Police Department website.

Academic Advising

Academic Advisors help students identify and update programs based on career goals, and assist in building semester course MAPs (degree plans). They are available to discuss transfer options and ensure students are meeting the requirements for graduation. It is highly recommended to schedule an appointment with an Academic Advisor before registration each semester. To schedule an appointment online, visit our Academic Advising webpage. Be sure to also check out the Preparing for Your Appointment page.

I have zero input on the above policies or section of the syllabus. I have to put this stuff here. School requires it.

What I will say, is that I’m here to help. Not only do they pay me to do that, but I want to. I care about you succeeding. I also know very well just how hard it can be. Attending college is never simple or easy.  Students in community colleges often have struggles that amaze me. I went to undergraduate at a commuter-based state university. I worked full-time or nearly full-time while I was there. I know how hard that was for me. And what I dealt with back in the 70’s is nothing compared to what most of you are dealing with today. Helping you is why I teach here. If there is anything that is getting in your way – food insecurity, family/illness/work issues, disability issues. Talk to me. Email me. I can’t promise I can fix everything. But if it’s a course-related problem, I will make it work. If it’s something else, I can listen and I’m likely able to point you to people who can help.

Additional Items


An Academic Honors Option is a form of instructional agreement whereby a student can earn an Honors designation on his or her transcript by completing one or more approved enrichment assignments in a non-Honors course. This course allows qualified students to complete Academic Honors Options. The Academic Honors Option assignment designed by faculty for this course is explained below. If you elect to complete this work and do so successfully, your achievement will be noted on your official LCC transcript.

Please be aware that Academic Honors Options DO NOT earn Honors course credit.

Students seeking an Honors Option for ECON 201 must declare their intention at the beginning of the course and must complete the following assignment in addition to all other course work assigned by the instructor.

The project must be a web-based or multimedia project on the microeconomics of a particular industry. The choice of industry and choice of format approved by the course instructor.  This project will need to include some research conducted by the student.

Yes, there’s an “honors option” for this class. Personally, I question the costs vs benefits of doing it, but it’s an option. You do you. Please note that you need to let me know in the first couple of weeks that you plan to do it. Call me.


More information about scheduling and deadlines is in Unit 1 of the course, and by checking the Suggested Schedule.  Plan your own pace and schedule accordingly. To help you plan your scheduling, look at the Suggested Schedule of Work Assignments in a new tab or window

If I had my way, this section would be much further up instead of being the last section of syllabus. Again, not my decision.  I’ve explained earlier here, but my reasoning for the flexibility of scheduling is to provide you the flexibility to deal with other courses and with life issues.  I trust you to make good decisions. All I can say, or plead really, is don’t procrastinate. Structure, schedule, and manage your time.  If something comes up that is going to disrupt your schedule – you get sick, you decide in week 7 to run off and elope with your best friend in week 8, or God-forbid a close relative gets hospitalized, or whatever – talk to me.  Let me know. The sooner, the better because then we have more options on how to work things out.

And that’s it. That’s the Professor’s cut of syllabus!