Syllabus ECON 260 Comp Sys Online Spring 2017

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Lansing Community College

Course and Section Information

Course Code: ECON 260
Section(s): CRN’s 50414
Title: Comparative Economic Systems
Semester: Spring 2017  –  full 16 week term
Start-Finish Dates:  Jan 9, 2017 through May 8, 2017 (official end of term – final exam due by May 5)

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:   Tues 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. I may be available on other days as well.

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 Book

All students will also be required to read at least one book that they suggest and get approved. Guidance for picking a book will be provided. These books are popular trade books, not traditional “textbooks”. Students will have a choice as to which book they select and are strongly urged to pick something that aligns with their personal interests. In general such books sell for $12-40 each from Amazon and other booksellers. 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 Readings

There will be substantial required readings every week consisting of blog posts and articles on the Web. These are free to access and links to them will be posted on the Econproph [CompSystems17].

Required Online Websites.

Use of three websites for this course is required. (this is an online course!)

  1. Desire2Learn (D2L) course website. Unlike most LCC online courses, this particular course will only make minimal use of D2L. Indeed, beyond providing links to the syllabus and the other website, Econproph [CompSystems17] , the primary use for D2L will be the gradebook.  All grade reporting will be done in the D2L gradebook. Otherwise, regular activity is conducted on the Econproph [CompSystems17] site.
  2. Econproph [CompSystems17]. The primary activities in this course will consist of readings, online discussions, and sharing of student- and professor-written blog posts. These discussions and links to readings and videos will all be made available on this site. You should plan to visit the Econproph [CompSystems17] site regularly – ideally students should check the site 2-3 times per week. The full URL is  I suggest you bookmark this site in your browser or phone. Econproph [CompSystems17] is a public website, meaning it is open to the World Wide Web. Anyone in the world with a browser can read it. Eventually Google will find it and index what we write there. But only you, your registered classmates, and me, the professor, can post or write to the site. It is on Econproph [CompSystems17] that you will write posts, reply and comment on other students’ posts, create your own web page for your project/book review. In order to post and discuss on the site you will need to login using your LCC issued user ID (the one that is variation on your last name and is part of your student email address:  for example mine is  lukej ).  You will also need a unique password that will be issued to you. You will get that password in your LCC student email account.[Econproph [CompSystems17]  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.
  3. Your own blog site on is a relatively new teaching resource. It is a public scholarly commons supported by the college but consisting of websites and blogs for students and faculty. Starting in week three or sooner, you will be provided a WordPress blog site of your own. You may write and post whatever you wish – it’s your site. It’s your voice However, there will at least 4 assignments in the course that involve writing longer, more researched essays than are practical to create on the main course discussion website. Please do not be concerned if you’ve never created a web page before. WordPress, the software that powers 27% of the Web and that powers your blog is easy to use. Students in past semesters have liked this capability much better than discussions in D2L or writing papers in Microsoft Word.

Two things to keep in mind about both the [Econproph [CompSystems17]  site and yoru blog site. First, they are public. Everything you write can be seen by the public if they know or can find the URL. 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, as part of LCC’s experimental Open Learning Lab, not the LCC Help Desk. While LCC approves and supports it, 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.  In general, the gradebook will be updated on Thursdays.


Type Weight Topic Notes
Week 1 Post to Econproph [CompSystems17] 5% (10 points) Initial login, setup profile, and make first post introducing self & interest
Weekly Discusson on Econproph [CompSystems17] 35% (70 points) Weekly assigned readings and discussion on Econproph [CompSystems17]

There are 14 units (weeks) of readings & discussion. 5 points possible per unit x 14 units = 70 points

Student’s Own Blog Posts (in-depth) 24% (48 points) Longer blog posts on various topics. Posts are made to students’ own blogs.

Minimum 4 in-depth posts x 12 possible points each = 48 points (24%). More information on the nature and requirements of these posts will be provided in the course announcements on Econproph [CompSystems17].

Research Project 16% (32 points) Research Project/Paper on Student Blog

Students will complete a “capstone” research project/paper based upon both a book they read (their choice of book), an online data source, and at least 1 (more preferred) online articles.

Final Exam 20% (40 points)


College Grading Standards
4.0  — Excellent
3.5  — ———
3.0  — Good
2.5  — ———
2.0  — Satisfactory
1.5  — ———
1.0  — Poor
0.0  — —–

Course Policies

Class Attendance/Participation

This is an online course. Participation online on at least a weekly basis is essential to success in the course. In addition, since this course is essentially a seminar-type format, your participation, your thoughts, your research, and your contributions to the discussions are essential to all of the other students’ learning in the class. You owe it to yourself and to your classmates to be disciplined and participate weekly.

Extra Credit

No extra credit in the form of additional non-assigned work is available for this course. However, there is no limit on postings or responses to discussion forums or on posts to your own blog. If you are concerned about your grade because you’ve missed some work or your work hasn’t been up to par so far, the best response is to contribute more to the remaining discussions.

Electronic Gradebook

Grades will be posted in the LCC Desire2Learn system.  If you are concerned about your grade in this course at any point, please contact me.

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.

Enrolment Verification- Unit 1

Establishing a first login to the Econproph[Comp.Systems 17] is necessary to be considered “attending” and participating for the enrolment verification process. This means the initial login must be completed by Jan 19 or students will be dropped as non-attending.

Schedule and Deadlines:

Schedule information and announcements will be provided on the Econproph[CompSystems17] website.  In general, discussions will be reviewed on Thursdays for posting of grades, so you it would be a good practice to complete each week’s assignments before Thursdays.  Late postings will be accepted, but repeated late contributions will adversely affect grading. If you are having trouble meeting the weekly participation in discussions, please contact me and let’s talk to work out a way for you to succeed.

Key Dates

Dates will also be listed in both the D2L site and the Econproph [CompSystems17] site. As mentioned above, each unit’s (week’s) readings and discussion participation will be reviewed and “grades” posted on Thursdays, beginning on Jan 19 for unit 1. A new unit will be posted and assigned each Thursday for 14 weeks. So the last regular unit readings/discussion participation will be due April 27.  We will skip the week of Spring Break.

Other Key dates and Hard Deadlines:

Research Project Posting on own blog:  April 27 (end of day)

Final exam:  May 5 (end of day)

All other assignments and posts – last time:  May 7 (end of day)

Note:  the above two dates are hard deadlines. Failure to meet these deadlines will at least result in a reduced grade/score and may result in the assignment not being accepted at all.

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.