The Structure or the
Level 1 - focusing on current, instructor-mediated information
Level 2 - focusing on observing and comprehending informationg
Level 3 - focusing on developing alternative interpretations
Level 4 - focusing on analysis and synthesis of alternative interpretations
Below are descriptions of each level with several brief application examples for each of these levels. More comprehensive examples using all four levels are also provided for the topics of oil and energy and global economics.
Level 1 -- Focusing on current, instructor-mediated information
Updates of current data, definitions, or concepts, mediated by the instructor are either added to the Text or Readings. Current information that updates text or readings keeps students aware that economics deal with real issues in a world that is constantly changing. Updates reinforce comprehension about economic relationships and insure their currency. These updates may be
*Supplementing course reading with Current Data (monthly updates of economic data) for any economics course.
Labor Economics - Circulating monthly labor statistics data; and The Datazone for Updated Wage and Compensation trends. The Economic Policy Institute provides continuing updates of labor data and issues at Living Standards and Labor Markets
Macroeconomics - Circulating quarterly GDP updates, monthly Personal Income Data. Primary sources of data include the Economic Library and the Federal Statistics Reference Shelf. Secondary Sources of data include The U.S. economy at a glance , The Economic Library, and Economic Indicators.
Tracking the Economy as Teachers gives a quick "how-to" for instructors.
Money and Banking - Circulating updates and reminders of Fed policy meetings
*Updating Definitions (as economists changes in the way we measure/count/define)
Principles of Economics -
1. Balance of Payments Accounts revisions
in definitions (fall 1999)
*Concepts (updating changes in examples)
Understanding the Global Economy - Examining the changing nature of production, cross border networks and "Wintelism". "Wintelism" is the code word that best captures the character of the new global electronics era because Intel and Microsoft pioneered many of its dominant industrial and business practices and are now leveraging their market dominance to alter the terms of competition in other informatics markets." Borrus, Michael and John Zysman (1997) "Wintelism and the Changing Terms of Global Competition; Prototype of the Future?" BRIE Working Paper, 96B, University of California, Berkeley. Much of this information is obtained from Working Papers available at academic sites and the definition of these terms are not readily available in the textbooks.
"You can't keep print "up to date"; it isn't dynamic, changeable, fluid. Reading print is primarily about following someone else's argument (which is why Sophocles [Socrates] wouldn't put anything on a page) and its linearity and stability are its strengths as well as its weaknesses.". On Line Teaching; Where To Start? In Level 2 students listen to, view, and read conversations on economic concepts and issues that reinforce a variety of learning strategies and provide instructors with active learning opportunities.
Understanding the Global Economy: Introducing students to the comparisons between the growth of merchandise trade and the rate of growth of GDP in the OECD countries, interactive graphs and charts enable the visual learner to observe on the screen important features of the global economy without being mystified by the dated data in their textbooks. This method of observing may be a more palatable one for today's students.
Women in the Economy: Looking at the Monthly Labor Review and the précis graph on women's labor force participation takes away the mystique of going to the library and laboring through the print edition of the MLR.
Money and Banking: In late 2000 Money and Banking students examined issues surrounding Regulation FD. Regulation FD Sources for discussion and information was designed for students to review one or two readings from a selection of web documents. FD Study groups discussed information and viewpoint from these readings. Groups then summarized and reported on their findings. This assignment allowed students to observe changes in current policy and the debate among economic actors affected by the regulation. Different assignments could make this a Level 3 or 4 JiTS application.
Digital Economy Workshop, October 1999: (This assignment was used in a n economics and technology 1st year seminar.) Student readings discuss several emerging features of the Digital Economy in the chapters on "Commerce and Companies," and "Competition, Concentration, and Monopoly. During a workshop and prior to class meeting students explored several sites among those provided in the assignment link, listed characteristics or concepts illustrated in those sites. Study groups made annotated lists of the kinds of information, the kinds of goods and services sold, the ways pricing is determined.
The Level 3 stage in the JiTS process is using the online material [current] as an evolutionary step in learning the concept that was introduced as a seed.
Understanding the Global Economy: Some students come into
classes with no prior knowledge about international financial organizations
such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund or a multilateral
trade organization such as the World Trade
Organization. Simply viewing the official organization website generates
in these students an initial euphoria and they become completely mesmerized
by what is stated on the site.
Microeconomics: Elements of the Microsoft Case Competition
and Monopoly Students read a chapter on "Competition, Concentration
and Monopoly" where the author develops several reasons that communications
industries are "monopoly prone" She notes that three factors are
the economics of networks (roads that run smoothly, large radio networks
vs. small ones), the predominance of systems (products of the communications
industry are rarely used in isolation),and finally the importance of standards
(allowing users of networks to communicate with one another. She concludes
the chapter by restating the importance of competition in this industry
(as in all industries). Students read a brief history of the way that Microsoft
has gained market share in the past found in The New York Times Magazine
and were asked to list 5 ways Microsoft has monopolized its industry?
Public Finance: A Just in Time Syllabus allows students to examine questions that are timely and at times crucial. During the fall 2001 term-after the terror attacks-congress took up the question of responsibility for airport security. during a particular Questions regarding responsibility for airline safety. The GAO has a number reports on airport security dating from1987 that call for changes in airport security and explore the cost and risks. A variety of group or individual assignments could explore current economic (and political) arguments on this topic.
Microeconomics: Drug Prices and patents
Microeconomics: Oil Pricing and elasticity is an example that is usually available. From an examination of the California energy crisis in early 2001 to the drop in oil prices in late 2001, examples usually abound. The Guardian reports on recent OPEC decisions about the oil supply and allows students to observe, gather information, and be asked to report on their findings. If both examples are used and compared, a level 4 JiTS project results. (Guardian articles often contain links to other information about the oil market- current Russian decisions, and Artic oil development.
International Economics/Gender and Economic Development: During the Beijing plus 5 meetings in New York, the online sessions proved very helpful for students to understand issues such as the girl child and interpret these issues within the interdisciplinary context of economics and nutrition. Similarly, the preparatory on-line discussions for the Financing for the International Conference Development to be held in Monterrey, Mexico, 18-22 March 2002 led to questions that could not be provoked by material found in a textbook.
This level of the JiTS takes the student to a higher order of thinking-from interpreting to analyzing and ultimately synthesizing and perhaps evaluating.
Understanding the Global Economy: Introducing students to a segment on the economics of oil, after the preliminary gathering of descriptive and empirical material online, students use selections from Daniel Yergin's book The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money and Power for a basic background on the industry. Since the book is dated, the student searches for related material in, for example, the website on the Energy Administration Information, and compares the analyses provided in the publications on this site. The task of the student is to weave this material into a cogent essay, analyzing the topic at hand.
Microeconomics: Corporate bailouts. With a JiTS syllabus instructors could integrate a discussion of the problems surrounding the airline industry and the problems encountered after the 9.11 terror attacks. This discussion could extend to other industries wanting government assistance, to labor unions wondering why they were not included, etc.
Money and Banking: Learning from Rover, Spring 2000: To help student groups understanding how financial markets work and are integrated and after covering short-term exchange rates and the asset-pricing model students considered the effect of exchange rate change on bond, stock, and derivatives markets. During this period the "Rover" deal was announced by BMW as the German automaker "carved up Rover," paying venture capitalists to take over pieces of the company. This turned out to be a perfect JiTS example for the students. All of them had heard of BMW. Few of them knew of Rover or the deal that BMW had made for Rover several years ago-or why BMW had that particular strategy. Links were given to a "survey" article that gave a brief background of the situation and the "deal" for the company and to stories about the deal. I added links as new story lines developed (Guardian Special Report: Rover in Crisis). Students were asked to explore various issues arising in several financial markets. Topics included: the Euro and England's not adopting the Euro-after the BMW purchase; interest rate policy of the European Central Bank and how exchange rates affected the deal between BMW and Rover. Rover stock BMW Stock prices as a result of the announcement of the deal. Students worked in-groups for phases of this project. Understanding, explaining, analyzing different articles, data about job losses, profit margins, Euro performance, Pound performance, concentration in the auto industry, the Midlands workforce, and the governments policy responses. Many began to imagine themselves in roles of potential unemployed workers, bankers, takeover specialists, venture capitalists-all needing to understand the importance of the interaction of a variety of financial markets.
International Economics or Development Economics International Debt. The following websites were used in the course on Understanding the Global Economy to provide the students a working knowledge of the Debt Crisis. Students who chose to write short position papers on the topic or a research project were provided a list of recommended articles. Origins: WorldWatch and WorldWatch on Facts and Myths; Data: Debt Chart; OECD Debt Index Information; Debt Information Packet; mainstream discussions at World Bank and the IMF sites; and discussions on debt relief advocacy.