ECO 201 – Introduction to Macroeconomics
This course is an introduction to basic economic principles with the aim to help students analyze the performance of the U.S. economy within the context of the global economy. One of the main goals of the course is to motivate students to stay informed about current events, relating the concepts learned in class to understand some of the central economic problems in the world such as inequality, inflation, unemployment and the climate crisis.
The project involves a low-stake writing assignment or as an extra credit opportunity, asking students to write and investigate (if possible) their family migration story. If they cannot do this for their family, they will be able to write and reflect on some of the key economic/social features of their current local communities.
Some of the prompt questions students will be asked to consider for the migration project include:
Where did your parents/ancestors come from?
What kind of occupations did they have before they migrated?
What was the economy like in their country of origin and what prompted them to migrate?
Where they they go and what kind of jobs did they take when they first arrived?
For the local communities project, some of the prompts include:
What is the racial makeup of your neighborhood?
What kind of jobs or businesses are predominant in your neighborhood?
What are some of the main features of the local economy?
Do you see yourself establishing roots in your current community or where would you like to go to continue pursuing your professional or personal interests?
Why did you select this project? How does it relate to identity and purpose?
I selected this project because many students have diverse backgrounds and they usually are interested to learn more about different cultures or about their own communities. The assignment can give students a unique opportunity to reflect about their identities by learning more about the economics behind their family migration story or within the context of their local communities. Moreover, many students who have jobs or who have strong community roots could find this assignment to be particularly insightful since it would allow them to relate abstract economic concepts with concrete personal/social issues.
What advice do you have for other faculty who would like to implement a similar project?
This project can be easily approached from many different angles, and I think it can lead to having engaging discussion with students in addition to helping create a more community oriented class environment. It can also be helpful to learn more about our students’ interests and needs.