Tyler Cowan and Alex Tabarrok, economic professors from George Mason University, launched MRUniversity to offer education that is better, cheaper and easier to access. Courses offered consist of multiple, short videos that allow you to watch between tasks. Have 6 minutes to spare on the bus/train/subway? You could watch a video and still have 30 seconds to spare!
In a neat and unusual twist, some of the content is crowd-sourced! Students are encouraged to vote for the next lot of content or to suggest new material. Instructors are encouraged to create a flipped economics classroom – using class time to drive discussions, explanations and interactions while the videos are watched at home as “homework”. Best of all – the courses are free!
This month we will focus on three courses offered by MRUniversity.
What role does economics play in your day-to-day life? You might be surprised to find that economics is a big part of nearly everything you do! Everyday Economics explores just that — how the “big ideas” from economics relate to everyday topics.Even if you have never stayed awake through an entire economics class in your life, you need to watch “The Hockey Stick of Human Prosperity” Video. In 4 mins and 54 seconds, you will have a new appreciation for economics and it’s role in the world. Trust me – I fell asleep in every 8:30AM economics class…with these videos, I just wanted to learn more!
In the Information Age, media is everywhere. This course will help you make sense of it all, providing insight into the structure of media firms, the nature of their products and how they make money.
Is media biased? Is consolidation of media companies bad for consumers? This course will address those questions as well as how the government affects the structure of media through policies such as net neutrality, copyright, TV regulation, and spectrum allocation. This course will provide a general background on the research from economists on media and journalism. There will be a lot of economics and not too much math.
The course is intended for people who would like a deeper understanding of the American housing finance system. The focus will be on providing necessary background knowledge rather than on evaluating specific policy proposals. Near the end of the course, participants will be encouraged to bring up policy issues and to discuss them in light of the information presented. Special emphasis will be placed on two factors. One is mortgage analytics, which means the measurement and modeling of default risk and interest-rate risk from the standpoint of the lender. A second factor is business process and industry structure, which means describing the tasks involved in mortgage lending and characterizing the firms that perform each task.
There you have it – three economics courses that will keep you awake and interested this month. Which will you sign up for? Don’t forget to update your Learners Profile!