IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Lessons From a General Education-Oriented Principles of Economics Course

Listed author(s):
  • Steven A. Greenlaw

    (Mary Washington College)

Registered author(s):

    Lessons From a General Education Oriented Principles of Economics Course Principles of Economics, as it is typically taught at the college level, is a predominantly lecture-based course using one of a variety of standard, voluminous texts, where students are exposed to a daunting array of concepts, theories and methods. In principle, the course has two objectives: to serve as a preparatory course for students taking more advanced offerings, and to satisfy a general education requirement in the social sciences. In practice at many college and universities, the course tends to focus on the first objective to the detriment of the second; hence, the typical approach described above. But since far more students take principles for the second objective than for the first, I question whether this is the best way to introduce students to economics at a liberal arts college. This paper describes the non-traditional way I teach principles to address this problem. In brief, my approach is discussion rather than lecture based; it is writing intensive, and instead of a formal text it uses a variety of what Hansen calls "real books"--books by economists written for the educated lay public, as well as government publications and "soft" journal articles. The cost of such an alternative approach is less breadth of coverage, but the benefit is greater depth of learning.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by EconWPA in its series General Economics and Teaching with number 9808001.

    in new window

    Length: 21 pages
    Date of creation: 21 Aug 1998
    Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpgt:9808001
    Note: Type of Document - WordPerfect 6/7/8; prepared on IBM PC ; to print on HP; pages: 21 ; figures: none. none
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. Siegfried, John J & Fels, Rendigs, 1979. "Research on Teaching College Economics: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 17(3), pages 923-969, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpgt:9808001. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (EconWPA)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.