Syllabus ECON 260 Comp Sys Online Spring 2016 – crns 50414 full 16 wk

Lansing Community College

Course and Section Information

Course Code: ECON 260
Section(s): CRN’s 50414
Title: Comparative Economic Systems
Semester: Spring 2016  –  full 16 week term
Start-Finish Dates:  Jan 11, 2015 through May 9, 2016 (official end of term – final exam may be due earlier)

Class Meetings

ONLINE – no face-to-face class meetings.

Instructor & Contact Information

Instructor: Jim Luke
Office: LCC Main Campus, Gannon Building, Room 190.7 (in Business & Economics Dept. offices)
Phone & Voice Mail: 313-550-8884 (cell + text) 517-483-5384 (office)
Email: (preferred for email)
Office Hours:   Th 11am-12 noon and 2pm-4pm.  Appointments are recommended as I am frequently in called into college-related meetings and may be on campus on other days also, it is best to request an appointment and to check Where’s Jim for availability.

Description (from Official LCC Syllabus)

A comparison of different global economic systems and their impact on economic growth, distribution of income and opportunity, and economic treatment of women and minorities. Theories, philosophies, historical development and current practices will be examined. (Sp)


Prerequisite: Reading Level 5

Contact Hours

Lecture:    48
Lab:         0
Other:       0
Total Hrs:  48

Student Learning Outcomes (from Official LCC Syllabus)

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

  1. Explain why scarcity is a problem faced by every society and why, as a result of scarcity, each society must select an economic system that will provide a mechanism to determine what goods and services will be produced in that society, how they will be produced, and how they will be divided among the society’s households.
  2. Explain the characteristics of pure capitalism, the philosophy behind it, and how a pure capitalist system answers the questions of what, how and for whom.
  3. Discuss the arguments for government involvement in a capitalist economy and the varieties of capitalism that exist in the world today.
  4. Explain the characteristics of pure socialism, the philosophy behind it, and how a socialist system answers the questions of what, how and for whom.
  5. Discuss the arguments for the introduction of markets into a socialist economy and the varieties of socialism that exist in the world today.
  6. Describe the economic systems of at least two countries with relatively high per capita GDP on different continents. Contrast the role of the government and the free market in the economies of these countries now and in the past.
  7. Compare the economic growth, the economic incentives, the distribution of income and economic opportunity and the economic role of women and minorities in these countries and explain how any differences relate to the economic systems.
  8. Compare the economic system of one country in Eastern Europe or the former Soviet Union under Communism to its current economic system in terms of incentives, economic growth, distribution of income and economic opportunity and the economic role of women and minorities.
  9. Describe the economic systems of at least two countries with relatively low per capita GDP on different continents. Contrast the role of the government and the free market in the economies of these countries now and in the past.
  10. Compare the prospects for economic growth, the economic incentives, the distribution of income and economic opportunity and the economic role of women and minorities in these countries and explain how any differences relate to the economic systems.
  11. Describe the current disagreements between high income and low income countries, the causes of the problems, and the attempts to resolve these conflicts.
  12. Use the Internet to collect economic statistics from countries with different economic systems and compare and analyze those statistics.

Instructional Materials

Required Books

One book is required for all students. It is Growth and Interaction in the World Economy: The Roots of Modernity by Angus Maddison. (AEI Press, 2005, ISBN: 084477173-2. It is not available in the bookstore. A free .pdf file of the book is available to download in the course. It is approx 100 pages long. Unfortunately the book is no longer in print, so if you do not want to read it on your computer screen, you either must print the pdf file yourself or you can try to locate a used copy online. A few were listed on Amazon, but the supply seems limited.

All students will also be required to read another book that they select from a list of books provided in the course (or one they suggest and get approved). These books are popular trade books, not traditional “textbooks”. Students will have a choice (with approval) as to which book they select. A suggested starter list of books will be available on the course website. In general these books sell for $12-40 each. Many excellent books are also be available at the library or from other libraries via Inter-library Loan at LCC Library. This is an excellent choice for students wishing to economize on the cost of their educational materials.

Required Online Websites

Use of two websites for this course is required. (this is an online course!)  All graded activity and such as quizzes, required discussion forums, and midterm tests are located in the LCC Desire2Learn website. “Content”, readings, worksheet materials, and other study materials are located at  Links to other resources about economics, websites, copies of in-class slide presentations, and practice quizzes are available on the Web at

Use of two websites for this course is required on a weekly basis (this is an online course!).

The first website is the Desire2Learn website. Quizzes, the final exam, and grade reporting are located on the LCC Desire2Learn website. This is for student privacy since only registered students in this course may view material on Desire2Learn website.

However, the majority of your study activities, meaning getting assignments, reading materials, videos to view, commenting on your readings, news announcments, and even your project report (about the book you read) will be done on a  second website called  Econproph [CompSystems16] site which is available  This is a website maintained by me (Jim Luke, your Professor).  It is a public website, meaning it is open to the World Wide Web. Anyone in the world with a browser can read it. But only you, your registered classmates, and me, the professor, can post or write to the site. It is on Econproph [CompSystems16] that you will write posts, reply and comment on other students’ posts, create your own web page for your project/book review. Please do not be concerned if you’ve never created a web page before. Econproph [CompSystems16] uses WordPress, the software that powers 25% of the Web. It’s easy to use.  Further, I’ve customized it a bit so that ordinary posts are as easy as posting your status to Facebook. In fact, I think once you are logged into the Econproph [CompSystems16]  site you’ll see it works a lot more like Facebook (without the snoopy privacy invasion stuff) and less like D2L. Students in previous classes have loved it, although I must warn you, I’m still making “tweaks” to the website. The server is managed by, your professor, not by LCC. The site is hosted by ReclaimHosting, a  web hosting firm created by academics from University of Mary Washington for academics.  You will have plenty of help and very clear directions about how to do it.

Two things to keep in mind about the Econproph [CompSystems16] web site. First, it’s public. Everything you write can be seen by the public. They can find it via Google. And while you might delete it later, nothing ever really disappears from the Web. Keep this mind when writing posts. Don’t write anything or post anything that you want to keep private. A good guideline is to think “would you mind if your grandma read this?”  Note: if you uncomfortable with writing under your own name, you can contact me and we can setup a pseudonym for you to use.  Second, this web site is supported by me, the professor, not the LCC Help Desk. While LCC approves and supports my “experimental pedagogy” with this web site, it is still considered “experimental”. So if you have a technical problem or need tech help with it, call me and not the LCC Help Desk or LCC Elearning.  I suggest email or text message to me.




Student learning is assessed in this course using a point-based system.  There are maximum of 400 possible points from all assignments. Student points will be recorded in the Desire 2 Learn LMS system where students can keep track of where they stand.  For the unit 1 quiz, the 2 midterms, and the final exam, student performances are graded automatically and should appear in the D2L gradebook instantly.  Posts and the project/book report require manual grading and posting by me (Jim, your professor). I will grade and post points on a bi-weekly basis. These will correspond to the dates when completion of each unit is due.

Assignments and Criteria for Assessment

Type Weight Topic Notes
Unit 1 Introductory Tasks 30 points (7.5%) Short quiz on Syllabus, logging into website first time, and intro posts.

More detailed information about this assignment will be available online in Unit 1 on Econproph [CompSystems16] under the Assignments tab.

MIdterm Tests 70 points (17.5%) Two mid-term tests, online in D2L, all objective questions

More detailed information about these assignments will be available online on Econproph [CompSystems16] under the Assignments tab.

Posts (quantity) 120 points (30%) Weekly posting of status, ideas, reactions, etc. to the readings.

Posts are made to the Econproph [CompSystems16] website.  Students are expected to post at least twice weekly with an expectation that each student will produce at least 30 posts during the semester. More information on the content, length, format, and subject matter of posts is available at Econproph [CompSystems16] under the Assignments tab.

Posts (quality) 20 points (5%) Rubric-based assessment at end of semester of general quality of posts.

At the end of the semester, an assessment of the general quality of posts made will be completed by me using a rubric to be posted on Econproph [CompSystems16] under the Assignments tab.  While it is not necessary for every post to be profound or significant, I am looking for whether, all posts considered, a student has made connections between ideas, found outside resources or links, reacted thoughtfully to others’ posts, or generated interesting insights.

Project/Book Review 80 points (20%) Web page analysis of a related book.

Students will select and read a book related to comparative economic systems of their own choosing (with approval).  Students will then create a web page about the book and relating it to ideas we have discussed in the course. Grading is by a rubric. More detailed information about these assignments will be available online on Econproph [CompSystems16] under the Assignments tab.

Final Exam 80 points (20%) Final Exam

Final exam is done online in D2L during the last week of the semester.


College Standard
College Grading Standards Minimum Points Earned in Course Recommended Guidelines for Student Grades
4.0  — Excellent 182 points 4.0     —     91 – 100%
3.5  — ——— 172 points 3.5     —     86 – 90%
3.0  — Good 162 points 3.0     —     81 – 85%
2.5  — ——— 152 points 2.5     —     76 – 80%
2.0  — Satisfactory 142 points 2.0     —     71 – 75%
1.5  — ——— 132 points 1.5     —     66 – 70%
1.0  — Poor 120 points 1.0     —     60 – 65%
0.0  — ——– less than 120 points. 0.0     —       0 – 59%


Course Policies

Class Attendance/Participation

Weekly participation in this course is expected. A significant part of the learning occurs when all students are reading and discussing the same materials at the same time.

Although there is no penalty or grade consequences for minor, short deviations from the weekly participation requirement, it is expected that all students will complete the requirements for each unit and be up-to-date by the time the bi-weekly grading is done.  Students who go 2 weeks or more without participating (posting) are subject to the possibility of being dropped.


The course is divided into 8 units with approximately 2 calendar weeks allowed for completion of each unit’s assignments. Again, students are expected to be active every week, but some grading deadlines will only occur bi-weekly. This is to allow some flexibility for students who may have unexpected demands on their time arise. It does not allow for procrastination and cramming at the end of semester. . Deadlines, when they happen will be  Sunday nights at the end of the day (11:30pm) .

Extra Credit

Extra credit is available, up to a maximum of 20 points for students who post more than the required minimum of posts to the website. Posts must be substantive and engage other students.

Academic Integrity

The very nature of higher education requires that students adhere to accepted standards of academic integrity. Therefore, Lansing Community College has adopted a code of academic conduct and a statement of student academic integrity. These may be found in the Lansing Community College Catalog where violations of academic integrity are listed and defined. Such violations include both cheating and plagiarism. It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of behaviors that constitute academic dishonesty.

Classroom and online behavior that interferes with the instructional and learning processes is not tolerated. the consequences are addressed in the catalog under Administrative Withdrawal.

Further, since this is a public website that we will be using, it is imperative that students be careful and respectful of copyrights. Materials, images, videos, and quotes from other web sites should have proper citation of the source (including a link) and conform to the relevant copyright restrictions on re-use (if any).  To be safe, students are strongly encouraged to use materials that Creative Commons licensed.

Enrollment Verification- Unit 1

Students must complete all assigned activities for Unit 1 including the short quiz on the syllabus, log into the Econproph[Compsys16] website using the credentials that will be sent to them the first week by email, and make the assigned posts.  Failure to do so before the deadline of Jan 24 end of day will result in them being deemed as “never attended” and dropped at the enrollment verification deadline. This could have financial aid consequences.

Discussion & Collaboration

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.

Due Date
– all Sunday 11:50 pm
Assigned Activities Due
Unit 1 Jan 24 Readings, Quiz, Intro posts,
Login to Econproph[CompSys16]
Unit 2 Feb 7 Readings, Posts
Unit 3 Feb 21 Readings, Posts
Unit 4 Mar 6 REadings, Posts, Midterm 1
Spring Break
Unit 5 Mar 27 Readings, Choose & read book; Posts
Unit 6 April 10 Redings, Posts
Unit 7 April 24 Readings, Posts, Midterm 2, Project Page
Unit 8 May 8 Readings, Posts, Final Exam


Institutional Policies

Transfer Potential

For transfer information, please consult the LCC website at

The Michigan Transfer Agreement (MTA) and the MACRAO Transfer Agreement simplify the transfer of students from one Michigan institution to another. MACRAO will be replaced by the MTA which is effective for students entering Fall 2014 or later.  Students who started prior to Fall 2014 will be able to complete the MACRAO Transfer Agreement through Summer 2019, or they may complete the MTA requirements.  The most current MTA information can be found at and the current MACRAO information is available at

For additional transfer information contact the Academic Advising Center in the Gannon Building – Star Zone, (517) 483-1904.

Disability Statement

Students with disabilities who believe that they may need accommodations in this class are encouraged to contact the Center for Student Access, Gannon Building, Star Zone – Campus Resources ( or by calling (517) 483-1924 [TTY (517) 483-1207] as soon as possible to better ensure that such accommodations are implemented in a timely fashion.

Student Code of Conduct and General Rules and Guidelines

LCC supports a positive educational environment that will benefit student success. In order to ensure this vision, the College has established the LCC Student Code of Conduct and the Student General Rules and Guidelines to ensure the protection of student rights and the health and safety of the College community, as well as to support the efficient operation of College programs. In addition, the College has established guidelines for the redress of grievances by individuals accused in such proceedings. A copy of the most current Code can be found on the College’s website at

It is the responsibility of the student to be familiar with, and abide by, the Student Code of Conduct, as well as the General Rules and Guidelines. Furthermore, the instructor may establish reasonable guidelines within the classroom environment. Violations of the Student Code may be reported to the Office of Student Compliance.

Enrollment Verification

Class attendance and participation are essential to student success. Instructors will update class rosters 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 to accurately reflect student enrollment in each course. Students who have not attended by these dates maybe administratively dropped and responsible for any required tuition and fee charge.