The current trend toward online schooling, from certificate programs to online graduate classes, has brought education, and especially higher education, to people who never had the opportunity. The effect on a person’s life can be massive, and one of the subjects that offers the greatest opportunity is that of economics. Economics as a discipline is notoriously complex, with experts who have developed intricate and highly academic theories frequently proven wrong when their ideas are put into practice. Online programs have been leading the way towards greater access to these courses for everyone, offering top-notch economics programs to future economists around the world, with several listed below.
Yale has been a leader in the migration towards online courses, with one of the most notable online economics lectures from renowned Professor Robert J. Schiller. Though Schiller is notoriously uncharismatic as a speaker, the content of his work is of such high caliber that it rarely matters. Schiller is the co-creator of the Case-Shiller House Price Indices, which was responsible for illuminating the details of the 2001 tech bubble and the current housing crisis. Aspiring economists will likely listen with rapt attention as Shiller illustrates how “irrational exuberance” can lead to major trouble with markets and how the randomness of the universe can affect pricing.
University of North Carolina at Greensboro has taken the inspired step of getting students engaged by developing an online economics course entirely as a video game. The premise of ECON 201 is that an alien spacecraft crash-lands on a post-apocalyptic Earth. In order to survive and create a prosperous society, the extraterrestrials must learn the basic principles of economics. Each student play the role of the alien leader, and is responsible for teaching concepts like scarcity, savings, investments and trade and sustainable growth. The idea is the by surrounding the students in a world filled with mysteries, adventure and villains, the students will become far more engaged and likely to absorb the core concepts far better than they would in a typical classroom setting.
Utah State University has one of the oldest Economics departments in the western United States, yet today it is on the cutting edge of online courses. The website for the Economics Department offers five courses online for free, from introductory courses through advanced macroeconomics for managers. With audio lectures available for each of the courses, learning online at Utah State is a great way for students to broaden their knowledge base no matter where they are studying.
For the first time in history, the field of economics is open to almost anybody in the world with the ambition to learn. Unlike most disciplines, a knowledge of economics can affect individuals, small communities and markets around the globe. Because of the availability of these courses, individuals have the ability to improve their lives in ways that never existed before.