A grounding in basic economic thought and concepts is one of the most important factors in fostering a citizenry that can make careful, prudent decisions and hold their elected officials accountable. Sadly, economic education is too often missing from school curricula, leaving generations of graduates without the intellectual tools they need to understand how markets work.
A new free “Massive Open Online Course” (MOOC) in economics is being offered by Common$ense Education, a nonprofit “dedicated to enhancing learning by creating and offering high quality, online, multimedia courses to students of all ages.” Based on the book Common Sense Economics: What Everyone Should Know about Wealth and Prosperity by free-market economists James Gwartney, Richard Stroup, and Dwight Lee, the course aims to use an integrated learning management system of videos, audio, reading, and discussion board participation in order to help participants gain expertise in understanding economics and mastering economic reasoning skills.
Registration is currently open and the course begins on Feb. 2. Divided into four parts, it will cover “Twelve Key Elements of Economics,” including scarcity, gains from trade, marginal decision-making, supply and demand, profits and losses, sources of economic growth, and the invisible hand; “Seven Major Sources of Economic Progress,” including the rule of law, private ownership, competition, monetary stability, low taxes, and open trade; “Economic Progress and the Role of Government”; and “Twelve Key Elements of Practical Personal Finance.”
Common$ense Education is particularly interested in feedback from think tanks who are interested in vetting the course as a potential tool for helping people in their own countries and states learn sound economics. By participating in the course and providing their own perspectives to the course designers, think tank leaders can help customize future versions to be locally relevant and sensitive to regional cultural issues.