One of the past New Course of the Week features was, “Microeconomics Principles“, with Dr. José J. Vázquez-Cognet. I signed up for this course, since it matches my interests, and was not disappointed.
Dr. Vázquez-Cognet takes his students through the principles of Microeconomics, particularly the factors that affect prices. Through the weeks, we went through the following topics:
- What is a market?
- Supply and demand curves
- The factors that affect shifts in supply and demand
- Price ceilings and floors
- Price elasticity
- The effect of taxes
- The profit equation
- Public goods
As you can see, the course covers a dozen or more topics in detail. This is quite an information-packed course.
In general, the video production meets the standards for Coursera courses these days. The professor is often sitting in a chair, with a big piece of paper on the table in front of him, and the camera switches from him talking to a birds-eye view of his table where he is writing out a table or drawing a graph to visualize the topic at hand.
The course is not a walk in the park, as we are often dealing with real numbers and math. The math is not complex, but you have to really understand the relationship between the factors and work out whether there is a surplus or a deficit of whatever value we’re asked to calculate. That said, in order to pass the quizzes, you really have to prove you understand the topics, and therefore you really do understand the topics after taking this course. I found passing the quizzes hard sometimes, but perhaps it’s because I don’t have much exposure to microeconomics before this.
You also do need to set aside some time each week to watch the videos, as there are a good 60-70 minutes of videos each week. As well, I found I needed to watch the videos at a slower speed than I normally do (1.25x instead of 1.5x or 1.75x) in order to fully comprehend what was being said, and be able to answer the questions and pass the tests. But this is really a minor quibble. This is a comprehensive course, that covers a lot of topics, and requires a lot out of students to get the most out of the course.