|About this course:|
|Course work includes:|
|6 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)|
|No residential school|
This introduction to contemporary economics explores national and global debates such as: Are we living through a new, ICT-led industrial revolution? What are the economic outcomes of globalisation? Is capitalism environmentally sustainable? Do governments really have the will and capacity to redistribute income? You will investigate a wide range of issues in economic theory including innovation; economic policy and competition; firms’ decision making; market structures; the changing role of the state; poverty and international trade; unemployment and inflation; economic forecasting; and managing the national economy. The course will also enhance your ICT skills through its innovative, multimedia teaching approach, which includes a ‘virtual classroom’.
Modules at Level 2 assume that you are suitably prepared for study at this level. If you want to take a single module to satisfy your career development needs or pursue particular interests, you don’t need to start at Level 1 but you do need to have adequately prepared yourself for OU study in some other way. Check with our Student Registration & Enquiry Service to make sure that you are sufficiently prepared.
No current presentation - see Future availability
|This course is expected to start for the last time in February 2013.|
The course introduces concepts and techniques associated with new technology, as well as analysing its effects on the economy, enabling you to see yourself as taking part in economic processes that you are also trying to understand. So the course ‘enacts’ the changes that are taking place, presenting about one third of its materials through multimedia, so that you can acquire or develop ICT skills.
It is not only economics that are changing. Economic theory is itself responding to the challenge of rapidly moving events. The course looks at a range of approaches, systematically building up an understanding of economic theorising and offering plenty of opportunities to practise using the ideas, and to think about their application to real problems.
The course is divided into six blocks and two books. In the first book, Microeconomics, Block 1 asks whether there is a new economy or whether it has all happened before. It examines the relationship between new technologies and economic growth. Is ICT a new industrial revolution? Block 1 also introduces the range of activities that constitutes economics: formulating theories, modelling, debate and persuasion, analysis of data, analysing the behaviour of economic institutions such as companies and households, making policy.
Block 2 examines the behaviour of firms within markets and the different forms that competition can take, such as competition on price and competition through innovation. Theory is combined with lots of practical cases and examples, and there is a case study on Microsoft. The block introduces data analysis, to give you some practice in exploring economic relationships.
Block 3 explores issues to do with the well-being of the people who make economics work, as producers and consumers. Do flexible labour markets provide good jobs? Why is the intensity of work effort increasing? The block critically examines material wealth, happiness and sustainability as different interpretations of well-being. How is the role of government changing in furthering people’s well-being? The block concludes with an application of economic theory to health and health care.
In the second book, Macroeconomics, Block 4 introduces macroeconomics. What determines the performance of a national economy and how should it be managed? A model of a national economy is constructed and used to analyse the roles of consumer spending, investment, government taxes and spending and imports and exports. What are the roles of money, banks, interest rates and financial markets in macroeconomic fluctuations?
Block 5 asks whether a national economy can be managed at all, now that international markets are so powerful, and provides some of the tools for analysing a national economy in a global world. Is economic policy becoming an international problem, rather than a matter for national governments? Do poor nations gain from trade? How do we understand changing patterns of international trade?
Block 6 picks up short-term policy issues from Block 4 and shows how they influence long-term macroeconomic outcomes. How can policy seek to stabilise the economy and keep unemployment and inflation low? How do short-term policy measures interact with structural factors in the long term? In examining why economies fluctuate and what can be done about it, we take you through more data analysis in relation to economic forecasting in an uncertain world. And, finally, can economic growth be sustained without destroying the environment?
The course also offers an exciting opportunity to learn or consolidate ICT skills. A CD-ROM complements the course texts. This multimedia learning environment has three elements.
First, the ‘virtual classroom’ is a graphics and audio package that takes you through the diagrammatic analysis of the two theory volumes, building the diagrams step by step, the graphics laying one curve on another while the audio explains why each curve goes where it does. This can be repeated as often as you like. Second, the statistical package (which you can take to the virtual classroom) teaches some statistics in this way, developing graphs and equations slowly. Third, at the end of each block there are questions and exercises to enable you to check your understanding.
The analytical and technical skills of economics have wide application in many fields where reasoned argument, clarity of thought and use of quantitative evidence are important. A knowledge of economic theory and economic processes is also advantageous for many jobs in both the private and public sectors. Economics is valuable in any job that requires understanding of how markets operate, such as marketing and other aspects of business. Economic analysis is also essential for policy-related activities in environmental, social or industrial policy, in national or local government and in campaigning organisations. ICT skills are an increasingly valuable asset in a wide range of occupations.
This course is suitable both as a broad introduction to economics for those who want to take only one course in the subject, and as a good basis for further study in economics.
You are not expected to have taken any courses in economics, or to have any knowledge or experience of ICT. Nevertheless this is a Level 2 course and you need the general study techniques appropriate to Level 2 study in the social sciences:
The course does not assume that you have mathematics beyond elementary arithmetic, introducing additional techniques including graphs, economics diagrams, elementary algebraic equations to express economic relationships, and basic data analysis. You should be interested in developing skills in basic mathematics as part of the toolkit of economics, in learning the techniques and in handling abstract forms of argument.
If you have any doubt about the suitability of the course, please contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.
The course includes economics diagrams, graphs, charts and tables of data. The set work will ask you to produce diagrams, graphs and some data analysis. Many of the computing elements are in the form of animated tutorials that have a high visual content. The study materials are available in Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). Components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader and mathematical, scientific, and foreign language materials may be particularly difficult to read in this way. Written transcripts are available for the audio-visual material. You will need to spend considerable amounts of time using a personal computer and the internet. Our Services for disabled students website has the latest information about availability.
If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Visit our Services for disabled students website for more information, including:
Course books, CD-ROMs, website.
You will need a computer with internet access to study this course. It includes online activities – you can access using a web browser – and some course software provided on disk.
You can also visit the Technical requirements section for further computing information including the details of the support we provide.
You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. We may also be able to offer group tutorials or day schools that you are encouraged, but not obliged, to attend. Where your tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the course.
Contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.
The assessment details for this course can be found in the facts box above.
You can choose whether to submit some of your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) on paper or online through the eTMA system. You may want to use the eTMA system for some of your assignments but submit on paper for others. This is entirely your choice.
This course may help you to gain recognition from a professional body. You can view or download our Recognition leaflet 3.3 Professional Engineering Institutions and Recognition leaflet 3.4 Chartered Institution of Water and Environment Management for further information.
The details given here are for the course that starts in February 2013 when it will be available for the last time. A new course Running the economy (DD209) is available from October 2013.
Students who studied this course also studied at some time:
We regret that we are currently unable to accept registrations for this course. Where the course is to be presented again in the future, relevant registration information will be displayed on this page as soon as it becomes available.
“I really liked this course. The TMA's were sometimes challenging but doable. My tutor was excellent, the only issue was ...”
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The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move. As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online tutorials, or by phone.
For more information read Distance learning explained.
|About this course:|
|Course work includes:|
|6 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)|
|No residential school|
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