MICROECONOMICS SYLLABUS - Fall 2020 (Online classes)


Since 1999 Valencia has offered the opportunity to learn about this exciting social science from the comfort of your own home!  Here are a few things you need to know to be successful this semester.


IMPORTANT FACTS CONCERNING ONLINE ECONOMICS:  Many students take economics with the hybrid or online format, because they have busy work or family schedules that preclude them from taking this course in the traditional setting.  Students like this who have a strong work ethic, a desire to read every word of material provided, a willingness to push through a great deal of material without falling behind and the ability to follow instructions and meet tight deadlines tend to be very successful.  Since online students have to rely on a book, article packet and videos- but no lectures by the professor in the classroom - it is critical that students be able to learn through reading comprehension and detailed note taking - along with the aid of the videos - for most of the material.


Some students who take this class are under the hugely mistaken impression that it will be easier than the traditional class, since many online classes have that well-deserved reputation.  In this case, you are taking a class that is just as difficult as the traditional class and perhaps much more difficult because you do not have the aid of personal instruction.


Therefore, I urge you to think very, very carefully about whether this class is a good online fit for you.  It is crucial to your success that you read everything (more than once), do not fall behind and watch all assigned videos.

TECHNOLOGY REQUIREMENTS: In order to successfully maneuver through this course, the following items must be readily available to you.

1. Computer with a modem. Students should not depend on Valencia College to provide computers for this classes.

2. Internet access.

3. Web browser with graphics capability

4. Word processing software

5. e-mail address.

6. General familiarity with computers and the Internet.


HOW TO GET STARTED:  Go to Valencia's home page and log into your Atlas account.  From there you should be able to find Canvas where all of the discussions will be held. 

PROFESSOR: Jack A. Chambless

OFFICE: Building 11, Room 200-C 

OFFICE HOURS:   MW 9:30-10:30am; TR 9:30-11:30am and by appointment. To make an appointment please email me with the desired date and time and I will do my best to comply with this request.  On Friday I have virtual office hours only (email).  

PHONES: Office: 407-582-1453 
Social Sciences Dept.: 407 -582-1203
Fax: 407-582-1675


This is the only email address I will respond to. Please do not attempt to reach me through Atlas. However, your Atlas email address is all I have to contact you. When I email you, if you need to repond, use this email address.


COURSE OBJECTIVES: Economics is known by many as the "dismal science". Most people believe this social science is referred to in such a manner because this subject can be very abstract, difficult and even boring to the average student. I will attempt to change this perception this semester with cooperation and hard work on your part. In this course you will learn how to apply economics to issues and events that impact your lives every day. Your objectives should be to fulfill this requirement with the grade that best reflects your ability and more importantly to be open-minded enough to discover why this class is one of the most important class you will ever take in college.


COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course is the microeconomics portion of the two-part Principles of Economics sequence. The course covers certain introductory economic principles, the varioius economic systems; supply and demand analysis,  the role of government in the economy, pricing decisions by individual firms; productivity and cost analysis and labor economics.

REQUIRED BOOKS: Chambless, Jack A. An Applied Approach to Microeconomics, 6th edition Kendall-Hunt.  The sixth edition can be found at the west campus bookstore and online.   The other required reading is The Law by Frederic Bastiat. This book must be read before the first exam.  Bastiat's book can be found online by clicking on the link below.

BUYING THE BOOKS FROM THE PUBLISHER:    You can buy the textbook and The Law from the publisher by using the following links:

*The Law is available as print only.

RECOMMENDED VIEWING:  There are other audio and video speeches or interviews that will help you prepare for discussions and exams.  All of them can be found on the MEDIA link of the course website. I will post the most important ones to the DISCUSSIONS link in Canvas.

GRADING: Your grade will be derived from three exams, each of which will account for one-third of your grade.  You will be able to boost your grade by participating in Canvas discussions (more on that in a moment).  There will be NO graded homework, quizzes, term papers or group projects.  


EXAMS -  Exam one will most likely be in late February or early March.  I will give you a 7-day notice before any exam and for exam one and two you will have a 2-3 day window in which to complete the exams.   Exam one will cover chapters 1-5, The Law,  and the hyperlinked articles below. The test will be comprised of 25 multiple choice questions worth 4 points each.  You will have 1 hour and 20 minutes  to complete it. Note - YOU WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO USE A COMPUTER TO TYPE YOUR EXAM UNLESS I HAVE PAPERWORK FROM THE OSD OFFICE.  You are also not allowed to use your notes, book or other aids for the test. 


All you have to do is go to the Valencia testing center of your choice, show your i.d. and proceed. You do not need to notify me of where you will take the exam as long as it is at Valencia.  Exam two will cover chapters 6-8 and all relevant videos on the course website.  It will be the same format as exam one. The links to the first exam articles are here:


Would the Poor go Barefoot with a Private Shoe Industry?

Not Yours to Give(you can now listen to this essay in the required viewing link)

Unjust Compensation

I, Pencil

Commodore Vanderbilt and the Steamship Industry


THE FINAL EXAM -   Chapters 10-13 and will be on April 20, 2020.  

STUDY GUIDES -  On Valencia's west campus in the library you can go to the CHECK OUT desk on the first floor and ask for the exam one, exam two and final exam file.  These files have samples of old exams that would serve you very well.  Consider this, as well as tutoring I offer during office hours, as your study guide.

QUIZZES - On the inner cover page of your textbook you will find an access code that gives you the chance to take chapter quizzes.  The questions are very similar to what you would find on the exams and you are provided with the correct answers upon completion of the quizzes.

HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENTS - The only homework I assign my live or online classes is to read the books and articles and watch the videos posted to Canvas.  

ATTENDING LIVE LECTURES - If you ever feel it would be helpful to you to attend a live lecture of the material we are covering just email me to make this request.  I will provide you with the day, time and room to go to so you can hear live lectures.

EXTRA CREDIT - Undoubtedly, you have conducted some research on this class that probably includes Rate my Professor.  On this site you will see many online students who warn you about this class having only three tests with no assignments of any kind to help your grade.  This is nonsense so please pay close attention...

You will have 300 points from the three exams.

You will also have a 30 point extra credit assignment you can turn in the week of final exams.  The assignment is to watch the movie Hidden Figures  For the trailer see

You would then write a 7-10 page paper showing everywhere economics (from chapter one to the end of the semester) shows up in this movie.  For the largest part of the paper I am particularly interested in the applications of the chapter on productivity and cost analysis from this movie.

The paper must be size 12 font, double spaced.  Late papers will not be accepted after 1PM on the Thursday of final exam week.  

Now to the math...

Let's say you make a 77 on all three exams.  You will read in just a moment that you can earn 3 percentage points for participating in Canvas discussions.  That would bring you to a grade of 80.   If you do the extra credit - and do an excellent job - that would be worth another 10 points per test, bringing you to a 90.  That means you go from a 'C' in the class to an 'A" by participating in discussions and doing well on the extra credit.

If you make a 54 on all three exams and do the discussions and a great job on the extra credit you move to a 67.  A 67 is the lowest 'C' grade in my class.  So, you go from an 'F' to passing.

Therefore, when you read online that you only have three tests, no assignments, no chance to pass or improve your grade, etc., it is completely wrong.  You have a chance to increase your grade by as much as TWO letter grades by doing your part to pass the class.


LOCATION OF EXAMS:  You may take the exam at the Valencia testing center of your choice.  This means East, West, Osceola, Winter Park, Poinciana or Lake Nona. I will put a copy of your exam in every testing center that Valencia has.  You must come to the testing center of your choosing to take the exam.  No online exams will be given. If you are taking this class outside of the Central Florida area I can arrange to have the midterm and final exam sent to a local college testing center for you.  Unless granted prior approval you will not be allowed to use a computer to write your answers. Even if you are out of the country, arrangements can be made for the tests to be taken. It is your responsibility to send me the full mailing, email address, fax number and contact person where your exam should be sent.  Call the testing center ahead of time for their hours that day.


ADVICE FROM A STUDENT WHO EARNED A GRADE OF 100 ON EVERY EXAM (the only student in my 28-plus years to pull this off.)


Hi Prof. Chambless,

It was nice to finally meet you today. Thank you for being there to accept my project.

I realized when you asked me how I made the grade on my midterm, I didn't give much of an answer. So, if you are interested, here was my basic strategy.

1) From your reputation, syllabus, and online orientation video, I had pretty much received the warning. And I took it seriously. I was very intimidated by all of the writing I was going to have to do, so I was motivated by fear.

2) Each week, I would start out by reading at least one chapter and taking notes on it while I read. During the week, when I came home from work, I would watch the videos that pertained to the chapter[s].

3) I subscribed to the paper version as well as the online version of the WSJ and would manually flip through it several times a week, hunting for possible articles. Luckily, I like the Wall Street Journal, so that part wasn't drudgery.

4) I read and took notes on The Law and read the packet very early on. It helped me get the political portion of the course down pat.

5) I participated in the discussion posts for the possibility of bonus points if needed, but they turned out to be very good practice for writing about the concepts I learned. I would recommend all students participate.

6) A week before the exams I would make myself sit down every night and write out in my notebook the answers to the review questions from one or two chapters. I would treat it as an open book test, so it helped me practice the material again.

7) The weekend before the exams I read all of the notes I had taken for each chapter and The Law. I read a couple of the packet articles again and watched a couple of lecture videos again to absorb more details.

8) The real key was the schedule and timeline I put myself on. I had to be systematic with my time because I work full time and am in the Navy Reserves. I tried to treat the course as if I was in an on-campus class, so I would make myself take time to "go to class" for 3 hours per week in addition to"doing my homework."

Overall, as I said to you, I just spent more time devoted to the subject than was probably healthy for a balanced life. But maybe a few of the steps in this long-winded email would be helpful to future students, and that's why I am writing it. Now, back to work.



HOW YOU WILL GET YOUR GRADES -  When I have concluded grading any exam I will email everyone through Canvas. that your grades are ready. You can email me at that time requesting your grade. 


COURSE DISCUSSIONS: In the case of 'close calls' - grades that fall within 3 percentage points of the next highest letter grade, the posted course discussions will be used to evaluate whether you will be moved up to the next highest grade.  For example, if you have an average of 87 after the midterm and final and posted a response to every discussion that illustrates a sound effort to apply the books, readings and videos to the discussion questions you would receive a grade of 90 and an 'A' in the course.  If you do not, your grade would remain an 87 and you would get a 'B'. 


Please bear in mind that I rarely respond to your postings, but do read them.  When I did in the past students quickly learned to wait for my comments and then free ride on what I posted in order to increase their chances of a good grade. 

I will post questions that you can answer after reading the material, watching the videos online and by thinking about what others have posted.  This part of the course is very much like an independent study course where I will read your work from a distance and offer minimal, if any commentary. 

MISSED EXAMS: You can take a make-up test if and only if you provide documented evidence as to where you were on the day of the test. This means illness that requires medical attention, unavoidable work requirements, and so forth. If I accept your documentation you will be allowed to take a make-up test during the week of final exams. That test will be five essay questions, all of which you must answer.


You will NOT be allowed to take a makeup exam for any of the following reasons:


1. Illness that does not have documented medical treatment

2. Transportation problems that cannot be documented. This means emailing me to say you missed the bus or your car would not start or your friend would not give you a ride.

3. Forgetting to bring your ID to the testing center.

4. Not feeling well in the days leading up to the test.

5. Getting to the testing center late.

6. Feelings that you are not fully prepared to take the test.

7. Not paying attention to posted exam dates and thus missing the exam.


GRADES OF INCOMPLETE ("I"): I will assign a grade of "I" if you miss the midterm or final exam and have written documentation proving that you comply with my makeup exam policy. If you do not have written documentation supporting a makeup exam I will not assign a grade of "I". If I assign a grade of "I" you must makeup the missed exams before the start of the following semester.


A: 90-100
B: 80-89
C: 67-79   (Note:  You must earn at least a 'C' to avoid re-taking this class) 
D: 60-66
F: Below 60

ATTENDANCE: Attendance in this class will be monitored by examining assigned postings. You will not lose points if you do not participate in discussions.

ONLINE ETIQUETTE: When you are communicating with me or other students or responding to postings made by fellow students please keep in mind a few simple common sense rules concerning online etiquette:

1. Do not correct one another's grammar or spelling.
2. Do not use profanity or refer to a posting as stupid or idiotic, etc.
3. Be polite and respectful of the opinions of others.
4. If someone's writing is unclear, politely ask for clarification. 

While these rules are important we must remember that in order to grow intellectually, we must be prepared to challenge one another's ideas. Try to respond to challenges from a sane and dispassionate point of view rather than by emotion. Defend your views with facts and data, not conjecture.

WITHDRAWAL DATE:  March 20, 2020


Important note on withdrawing:  Valencia no longer offers a WP or WF option if you withdraw after the withdrawal date.  If you wait until after the withdrawal date you will be assigned a grade based on your standing in the class after final exams are completed.

EXTRA CREDIT: After exam number two I will post to Canvas any extra credit that might be available.  

FINAL NOTE: Undoubtedly, you have conducted some research on this class that probably includes Rate my Professor.  On this site you will see many online students who warn you about this class having only three tests with a great deal of the expectations for managing this course thrust upon the students.   It is all true.   This is not going to be easy - but it will be worth it to those of you who do your part.

Good luck and welcome aboard.


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