Syllabus ECON 260 online Comparative Econ. Systems Spring 2015 CRN 20466 -REVISED 15jan2015

Lansing Community College

Business and Economics Department
Section Syllabus – ECON 260 for Spring 2015
ONLINE – CRN 20464

–updated:  28 Feb 2015 – changes in red–

Course and Section Information:

Course Code: ECON 260
Section: CRN 20464
Title: Comparative Economic Systems
Semester: Spring 2015
Class Meetings: ONLINE – no face-to-face class meetings

Instructor & Contact Information:

Instructor: Jim Luke
Office: LCC Main Campus, Gannon Building, Room 191.7 (in Business & Economics Dept. offices)
Phone & Voice Mail: 313-550-8884 (cell + text) 517-483-5384 (office)
Email: (preferred for email)
Office Hours: T & Th 9:30am-12:00noon; Appointments are recommended. As I am frequently in called into college-related meetings and/or have many appointments, it is best to request an appointment and to check Where’s Jim for availability.

I. Course Code: ECON 260

Credits Lecture hrs
3 48

II. Prerequisite

  • Reading Level 5

III. Course Description

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.

IV. Instructional Materials

A. Required Textbooks:

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. The list of books will be available on the course website. In general these books sell for $12-40 each. Some may be available at your library.

4 B. Required Other Materials and Resources – More information and instructions are provided in specific assignments online.

Use of three 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.

The second website is the Econproph [CompSystems] site which is available  This is a public website maintained by me (Jim Luke, your Professor).  At this site you’ll read and view “Content” such as readings, links to videos, other study materials, and the posts that your fellow students make on their websites.

The third website is one that you will create.  Actually, it will be a blog site of your own where you will write posts, create your own webpages, and create your book review.  You will create these pages and posts instead of submitting papers or discussion posts on D2L. Please do not be concerned if you’ve never created a website before. You’ll be creating your own website using hosted software called WordPress. WordPress powers over 20% of the entire World Wide Web. The server is hosted and operated by me, your professor.  You will have plenty of help and very clear directions about how to do it. I guarantee you that if you can write a paper in Microsoft Word, you’ll find having your own website using WordPress easy.  This will be your own public website that helps to create a your own personal identity on the web.  If, at the end of the course, you wish to continue with this site as your own personal blog, I’ll provide instructions and information on how you  can do that. Much more detailed information and instructions on how to get started with your blog site will be provided in Unit 1 on Econproph [CompSystems].

V. Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, the successful student will 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 and 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 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 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 government and the free market in the economies fo these countries now and in the past.
  7. compare the economic growth, the economic incentives, income distribution and economic opportunity, and the 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 economic growth, economic incentives, the distribution of income and economic opportunity, and the 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 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 analyze those statistics

VI. Methods of Instruction

This course is entirely online. This course is an experiment in a new pedagogical approach called a “connected course”.  While faculty at some other institutions have pioneered the use of “connected courses”, this is the first time I have used this approach.  A “connected course” is one where nearly all online class activities take place on the open, public web instead of being behind closed, limited course management systems like D2L or Blackboard.  Further, both the professor and all of the students have their own blogs or websites.  Students write their own posts, find and comment on other materials on the web, comment on other students’ posts, and react to the professor’s posts.  And they do it all on their own personal blog.  Much more detailed explanation of this approach will be explained in Unit 1 on Econproph [CompSystems].

VII. Methods of Evaluating Student Achievement and Progress:

A. The following methods are used in this class:

More detailed information about these assignments will be available online in Unit 1 on Econproph [CompSystems].

Type of Assignment Points Available % of Total
Points in
Unit 1 Setup of Blog    10 points 3.3%
Quizzes for each Unit (10 mult. choice questions in quizzes 2 3, 4, 10. Quizzes 5, 6, 7,have 8 questions – all 1 point per ques)   69 points 23.0%
Postings to Blogs (2 postings in unit 1 worth 5 pts; 7 posts for units 2-4 combined; 8 posts for units 5-7 combined; 4 posts in unit 8) 4 points per post after unit 1
  81 points  27.0%
Book Review & Summary   50 points 16.7%
Two best posts – graded by rubric (posts selected by student from all posts made) 2 x 25 pts   50 points 16.7%
Final Exam – 1 exam x 20 questions x 2 points each
 40 points 13.3%
Total for Course 300 points 100%

B. Final Exam

This course has a final exam which is comprehensive covering all material from the entire semester. The final exam is taken online using the D2L site, but it will be timed and students may only attempt it once.  It is taken during the last week of the semester.

 C. Grading Scale:

The College Standard grading scale will be used:

Course Grade % of Possible
Minimum Points
4.0 Excellent 91.0% 455 points
3.5 86.0% 430 points
3.0 Good 81.0% 405 points
2.5 76.0% 380 points
2.0 Satisfactory 71.0% 355 points
1.5 66.0% 330 points
1.0 Poor 60.0% 300 points
0.0 No credit <60% 0


VIII. Course Practices and Policies

College-wide policies are stated in the College Catalog and include those on attendance, withdrawals, and incomplete grades. The College Catalog is available on the Internet at Lansing Community College provides services to students with documented disabilities. If you need accommodations, contact the Office of Disability Services at 517-483-1207 in room 2300 of Gannon Building to coordinate reasonable accommodations for your needs.

Additional course policies and practices for this course are:

Attendance Policy

Students are expected to be active online every week. Students who miss quiz deadlines (see schedule) without explanation or notification to the professor and/or do not make posts to their blogs during any two week period are subject to Administrative Withdrawal for non-attendance.  Students who do not complete Unit 1 Quiz (a quiz about the syllabus) and the Unit 1 Forum (Who Are You? forum) by 11:59pm on Jan 23 will be presumed to have chosen to not participate and will be dropped as having never attended.

Late Assignments

Failure to post to your blog regularly and on time adversely affects yourself and other students because discussion and interaction of ideas is an important means of learning . The course is organized into 8 Units. Each of the first 7 units contains at a minimum a quiz and a critical thinking forum.  All deadlines are at midnight at the end of the day. Deadlines are on Sundays at 11:59pm. Credit may be given for late quiz assignments and for blog postings if I haven’t graded the posts for that Unit yet.  For example, suppose you miss the Sunday night deadline to complete all of your required blog posts for Unit x.  If you post them a day late after the deadline, but I haven’t gotten to grading that unit yet, then you are OK and will receive credit. Whether I grade that unit on Monday or wait until later in the week may vary depending on my schedule. You take your chances by submitting late.   The deadline for assignments in Unit 1 is January 25. Students who do not complete the Unit 1 assignments by the deadline may be reported as “never attended” and withdrawn from the class.  Thereafter, the deadlines for the other 7 Units will be every two weeks, not counting the extra week for spring break, as shown below in the course outline/schedule.

Students are advised to familiarize themselves with the LCC Withdrawal Policy. It is available on the Internet at Under this policy, students may withdraw themselves from the course until the end of the eighth week. Students who do not participate online, have extended unexcused absences from online activity, or who engage in uncivil activity are subject to Administrative Withdrawal.

IX. Detailed Outline of Course Content and Sequencing  – REVISED as 15 Jan 2015 – revised portion in highlighted background

The schedule and course outline is shown here. It may be opened seperately as a webpage at

X. Transfer Potential

For transferability information, please consult the Transfer Equivalency List located on the Internet at For additional transferability information contact the LCC Counseling Services Department at 517-483-1255 and the college or university to which you intend to transfer. Econ 260 transfers to most four-year colleges as economics credit. Few four-year schools accept it as the equivalent of a specific course. Econ 260 is in the LCC Social Science MACRAO list.

XI. Student 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.