Principles of Microeconomics
Fall 2002
Instructor:  Dr. Marilyn Pugh

Syllabus and Course Information

 Return to Dr. Pugh's Home Page

Office:  Chesapeake Hall 108B
Phone: 301-322-0477
Fax:  301-322-2581

Welcome to Principles of Microeconomics On-Line section!

We are using a web course management system for this course called Blackboard 5, a system which is easy to use and quite powerful.  The web site is located at  You will not be able to login to the course until August 22.  However, the PGCC DL web site provides a link to the Blackboard Manual at and some frequently asked questions. Or you can access the Blackboard 5 Level One Student Manual directly to find out more about how to use Blackboard 5.  If you are having problems, please e-mail me or call me or the distance learning help desk at

You can also preview the McConnell/Brue Textbook Site which we will be using furing the semester. No userid or password is required. 

Although you cannot access the Blackboard "classroom" until August 22, you can look under Online Courses at my website at and tour the various links.

Login Steps:

1.  Go to Prince George's Community College's Blackboard site at
2.  Click on the button labeled Login.
3.  You will see a dialogue box that asks you to enter your username and 
     Your username will be: (first initial of first name)(first 3 initials of last name)(your birth month expressed as two digits; for example, if your birthday is in March, it would be entered as 03)(your birth date expressed as two digits;  for example if your birthdate is on the first of the month, it would be entered as 01).  Use only lowercase to enter your username; use NO spaces. For example, if your name is John Smith and your birthday is April 8, your username will be 


     Your password will be: your full 9-digit Social Security Number (no spaces and no hyphens). For example, John Smith's password will be


4.  The College recommends that you immediately change your password.  To change your Blackboard password, follow these steps:

i)    Login to Blackboard using your given username and password.
ii)   From YOUR Blackboard Welcome page (you will see WELCOME, ____! in bold letters at the top of this page), click on Personal Information in the Tools Box on the left side of the page.
iii)  Click on Change Password
iv)  Fill in the requested information.  You can change your password to any combination of numbers and letters. 
v)   Click the Submit button in the lower right corner.
vi)  Write down your username and password information so you can refer to it if you forget.
vii) VERY IMPORTANT: You will have only one username and one password for Blackboard 5 regardless of how many Blackboard courses you are taking at the college.  If your login is successful, you will see the Blackboard Welcome screen and links to your courses will be listed in the box labeled "My Courses."

Course Description:

This course is an introduction to micro-economic analysis, emphasizing the study of the basic concepts and principles of microeconomic theory so that these tools may be used to give the student an understanding of the decision-making of individuals and firms in the capitalist market place and to help the student analyze microeconomic issues.  Topics covered include the actions of firms attempting to maximize profits in four different types of markets: perfect competition, monopoly, monopolistic competition, and oligopoly. The rule for profit-maximization, the profit-maximizing price and output level, and market efficiency in the short run and long run will be addressed for each of the output markets.  The course then looks at different resource markets (pure competition, monopsony, and bilateral monopoly) to determine the profit-maximizing behavior of the firm in each of these markets.

Broad Course Objectives:

1.  To provide students with a foundation in the principles of microeconomics necessary for the intermediate level theory and issues courses.
2.  To help students better understand the role of individuals and firms in a capitalist 
market system.
3.  To help students appreciate the role of a market society in promoting a more efficient allocation of scarce resources.
4.  To make students more economically literate so that: 
     a.  they can read and comprehend news media articles concerning economic topics and issues;
     b.  they can make better informed voting decisions and, in general, be more concerned about the welfare of our entire society.
5.  To improve students' critical thinking skills.  To help them become more logical thinkers and better problem solvers.

Course Outcomes:

At the end of the semester students should be able to:

1.  Use the supply and demand mechanism to determine the effect of a change in the economy on the equilibrium price and quantity of a particular good.

2.  Compute the price elasticity of demand and be able to determine the effect of a change in price on quantity demanded and total revenue.

3.  Demonstrate an understanding of which determinants of price elasticity account for an elastic demand versus an inelastic demand.

4.  Use the consumer choice model to find the utility maximizing quantities of several goods for a particular consumer with a given income and with given tastes and to then derive a demand curve showing the utility-maximizing quantities of the good demanded at various prices.

5.  Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between marginal utility and total utility.

6.  Use the total, fixed and variable cost equations as well as the total revenue equation to word problems for a firm that is attempting to profit-maximize.

7.  Use graphs showing the average total and variable cost curves and the marginal cost curves to find total cost, total variable cost, and total fixed cost.

8.  Demonstrate an understanding of the difference between short run and long run costs.

9.  Describe and find the level of output where the Law of Diminishing Returns sets in.

10. Answer questions about the relationship between total, average, and marginal costs.

11.  Compare and contrast perfect competition, monopoly, monopolistic competition, and oligopoly in terms of number of firms, type of output, barriers to entry, economic efficiency, and long vs. short-run profitability.

12.  Find the profit-maximizing level of output and price, both numerically and graphically for perfect competition, monopoly, monopolistic competition, and oligopoly.

13.  Differentiate between diminishing returns and returns to scale and give examples of each.

14. Distinguish between economic profit, normal profit, and economic loss.

15. Explain what is meant by a derived demand for resources and find the demand for a resource given the marginal product of the resource and the price of the output produced.

16. Find the profit-maximizing level of inputs and their price for purely competitive and monopsonistic resource markets.  

Required Materials:

McConnell, Campbell and Brue, Stanley. Microeconomics: Principles, Problems, and Policies. Fifteenth Edition, 2002, McGraw-Hill, Inc.

You must be connected to the Internet.  Your browser must be:
    *    Netscape Communicator Version 4.x  OR
    *    Internet Explorer Version 4.x

You need to have the following personal productivity software installed on your computer:
    *    Office 97, especially WORD and EXCEL

Optional Materials:

Walstad, William and Bingham, Robert. Study Guide to Accompany McConnell and Brue Microeconomics. Fifteenth Edition, 2002, McGraw-Hill, Inc. (Students from previous semesters highly recommend buying the Study Guide.)

Note:  The McGraw-Hill Online Learning Center and Textbook site which we will use for the course contains many study/learning aids and tools.

Spring 2001 Course Requirements

Total Points:  600
7 Homework Assignments 
     Top 5 @ 30 points each
150 Points
11 Quizzes, On-line, Open Book
     Top 10 @ 30 Point Each
300 Points
Final Examination (mandatory)
     Closed Book, in Campus Testing Center
150 Points


A:  540 - 600        B:  468-539        C:  390-467        D:  300-389        F:  0-299

Class Organization


The Discussion List Area will be used to discuss questions about the week's course material or exercise.  If someone posts a question and you can add some insight, you are expected to respond.  I will monitor the discussion and if I find the class is confused or going off-track, I will make some responses to get the discussion back on track. 


You may e-mail me if you have questions, particularly about procedures.  I will look at my e-mails at least 7 times a week.  Please be aware that I am working a full-time job and will not have time to be looking at my e-mail every hour.  I also have a personal life.  If you have questions about content, the Discussion List Area is there for that purpose and your learning community should work together to solve content questions. 

If I become overwhelmed with e-mails, I will divide the class into groups, and assign a leader for the group each week.  Then if you have a question, you will be required to communicate with the other people in the group first.  If no one in your group can answer your question, your leader of the week should send me an e-mail and I will respond in the Discussion List area for all to see.

Homework Exercises

There will be 7 exercise sets to help you understand the material.  While the course is self-paced, there will be a due date on these and the answers will be posted after the due date.  If you have not handed in the assignment by the time the answers are posted, I will not accept your homework.  Notice that I count only the top 5 homework assignments toward your grade, so you can miss 2 or drop your 2 lowest grades.

Begin Date
Due Date and Time
Week 1
August 26, 2002
Chapter 1 p. 3-12 "The Nature and Method of Economics"
1A "Graphs and their Meaning"
Chapter 2 pp. 22-25 "The Foundations of Economics"
and "Economics: Employment and Efficienty"
 Full Employment and Full Production"
Quiz 1

Quiz due 09/09/02 - 
2 a.m.

Week 2
September 2, 2002
Chapter 3 Demand and Supply
Exercise 1
09/11/02 - 2 a.m.
Week 3
September 9,  2002
Chapter 3, continued
Chapter 4
Quiz 2, Chapters 3 and 4
Quiz due
09/23/02 - 2 a.m.
Week 4
September 16, 2002
Chapter 7 Demand and Supply Elasticities and Government Set Prices
Exercise 2
Quiz 3
Quiz due
9/30/02 - 2 a.m.
Week 5
September 23, 2002
Chapter 8 Consumer Behavior and Utility Maximization
Exercise 3
Quiz 4
Quiz due
10/07/02 - 2 a.m.
Week 6
September 30, 2002
Chapter 9 The Costs of Production
Exercise 4
10/08/02 - 2 a.m.
Week 7
October 7, 2002
Chapter 9, continuted
Quiz 5 (Chapter 9)
Chapter 10 Pure Competition
Quiz due
10/16/02 - 2 a.m.
Week 8
October 14, 2002
Chapter 10, continued
Exercise 5
Quiz 6
Quiz due
10/28/02- 2 a.m.

Week 9
October 21, 2002

Chapter 11 Pure Monopoly
Exercise 6
Quiz 7

Quiz due
11/04/02 - 2 a.m.

Week 10 
October 28, 2002

Chapter 12 Monopolistic Competition and Oligopoly
Quiz 8

Quiz due
11/11/02 - 2 a.m.

Week 11
November 4, 2002

Chapter 14 
The Demand for Resources

Exercise 7

11/18/02 - 2 a.m.

Week 12
November 11, 2002

Chapter 14, continued
Quiz 9
Chapter 15 Wage Determination

Quiz due
11/25/02 - 2 a.m.

Week 13
November 18, 2002

Chapter 15, continued
Quiz 10

Quiz due
12/02/02 - 2 a.m.

Week 14
November 25, 2002

Chapter 16 Rent, Interest, and Profit
Quiz 11

Quiz due
12/09/02 - 2 a.m.

Week 15
December 3, 2002

Catch Up Week

Week 16
December 10-13
Final Exam
PGCC: Academic Testing Center
new TS temporary building adjacent to Largo Student Center
12/13/2002 - 4:30 pm
No Extensions Allowed!