Principles of Macroeconomics/MAEC100 OERu course specification

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Part A: Course specification


  • OERu course name: Principles of macroeconomics
  • Level: 1st year Bachelor's degree level
  • Notional learning hours: 120
  • Micro-courses (Three micro-courses of 40 hours each)
    1. Introduction to principles of macroeconomics (MAEC101)
    2. Aggregate activity and demand (MAEC102)
    3. Monetary policy and international trade (MAEC103)
  • OERu course codes: MAEC101, MAEC102, MAEC103
  • OERu assessing institutions: Thomas Edison State University
  • Micro-credential options: No
  • OERu mode of study: Self-directed study or cohort-based independent study with peer-learning support.

Course aim

The aim of this introductory course is to provide learners with a basic understanding of the principles of macroeconomics as they relate to how a country's economy works including the outputs of the economy, unemployment, inflation, fiscal policy, monetary policy and international trade.

Learning outcomes

  1. Describe the principles of macroeconomics in relation to measuring national economic goals of economic growth, full employment and price-level stability
  2. Apply macroeconomic measures to analyse unemployment and inflation including contrasting economic views on unemployment.
  3. Explain the components of aggregate economic activity, fluctuations and effects for the national economy and how fiscal policy is used to achieve economic goals.
  4. Explain how the components of monetary policy are used to influence financial markets in achieving national economic goals.
  5. Explain the functioning of international trade in relation to a country's trade balances, exchange rates and other aspects of macroeconomic performance.

Indicative content

  1. Overview of macroeconomic concepts
  2. Macro economic goals
  3. The circular flow model
  4. Macroeconomic goals, measures and challenges including measures of GDP and national income accounting
  5. Unemployment (Measuring, types and goals of full employment)
  6. Inflation (Measures, trends, causes and relationships between unemployment and inflation0
  7. Macroeconomic models (Business cycle, stability, GDP deflator, fluctuations in GDP and theories about short-run instability and long-run self-adjustment)
  8. Components of aggregate demand (full employment versus equilibrium GDP and economic indicators)
  9. Fiscal policy and national debt
  10. Monetary policy (Money, banks and banking systems, monetary tools, money markets, taxation and bond prices)
  11. International trade, exchange rates, tariffs and quotas.

Assessment and credit transfer options

Saylor examination

Saylor Academy examination for OERu partners who recognise The ACE Alternative Credit Project and assessments from Saylor. While credit is not guaranteed at all schools, Saylor have partnered with a number of schools who have expressed their willingness to accept transfer of credits earned through Saylor. Visit the Saylor site for more information.

CLEP examination

College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) towards awards for partner institutions who recognise CLEP examinations for credit.

Thomas Edison State University (Assignment portfolio)

Assessment type Learning outcomes Details Weighting Completion requirements
Assignment LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 and LO5 Assessed assignment portfolio 100% Proficiency demonstrated to equivalent of C grade.


Part B: Detailed objectives

Micro-course structure


Micro 1: Introduction to principles of macroeconomics

Macroeconomics focuses on exchanges that occur across all markets within a country, taking into account the interrelated actions of consumers, businesses, government agencies, financial intermediaries, and global trading partners as they exchange resources, goods, and services as well as facilitate currency and quantity flows.

Learning objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, learners will be able to:

  • Identify the determinants of demand and supply;
  • Describe how changes in demand and supply lead to changes in a market's equilibrium price and quantity;
  • Distinguish microeconomics from macroeconomics;
  • Describe the circular flow model, identifying linkages between the markets for goods and resources as well as the exchanges between businesses and households;
  • Define nominal gross domestic product and real gross domestic product;
  • Compare and contrast as well as discuss various measures of output and income;
  • Distinguish between real and nominal values;
  • Analyze the problems associated with using GDP as a measure of well-being;
  • Identify the components of the expenditure and the income approaches to the measurement of GDP;
  • Explain how consumer income relates to spending and saving;
  • Describe the consumption and savings functions and the terms attached to their slopes;
  • Define automatic stabilizers, and explain changes in government spending and taxing during a macroeconomic recession and expansion;
  • Describe how savings and investment contribute to economic growth;
  • Define economic growth in terms of changes in the production possibilities curve and in real gross domestic product;
  • Define unemployment rate;
  • Calculate the unemployment rate;
  • Identify and distinguish between the different forms of unemployment;
  • Analyze the problems associated with the unemployment rate;
  • Describe the three types of unemployment and factors that relate to them;
  • Define inflation and deflation, and explain how each affects the price and economic growth of an economy;
  • Define, interpret, and calculate inflation rate and the consumer price index;
  • Describe the problems and biases associated with the consumer price index;
  • Articulate sources of inflation, and explain how they can affect economic stability;
  • Use the model of aggregate demand and aggregate supply to explain stagflation;
  • Explain the relationship between inflation and unemployment;
  • Describe and analyze the Classical as well as the Keynesian views on unemployment; and
  • Discuss various explanations for wage and price stickiness.

Micro 2: Aggregate activity and demand

In studying macroeconomics, the focal point is the whole economy versus markets for goods and services. This approach entails looking at the forces affecting growth, inflation, and unemployment at the aggregate level whether it is output, income, or the set of components within GDP. In essence, macroeconomics involves studying demand and supply for all goods and services in a nation's economy.

Learning objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, learners will be able to:

  • graphically represent and interpret a short-run aggregate supply curve, and explain why it slopes upward and factors leading to its shift outward or inward;
  • define aggregate demand, and identify the reasons for its negative slope;
  • describe the four phases of a business cycle, including references to income and real output;
  • explain the factors leading to a shift in the consumption function;
  • define short-run equilibrium and long-run equilibrium, and discuss how they differ;
  • graphically represent and interpret a long-run aggregate supply curve, and explain its connection to natural level of unemployment;
  • describe how short-run equilibriums occur above and below the output level associated with the natural rate of unemployment;
  • explain the effect of government spending, taxation, and budget deficits and surpluses on GDP;
  • explain how the various kinds of lags influence the effectiveness of discretionary fiscal policy;
  • explain how discretionary fiscal policy works and influences aggregate demand;
  • identify the major components of US government spending and their sources;
  • define the terms budget surplus, budget deficit, and balanced budget; and
  • explain the difference between a budget deficit and the national debt.

Micro 3: Monetary policy and international trade

Fiscal policy and monetary policy are the two main tools by which government attempts to steer the macroeconomy toward the three main goals and economic growth. Monetary policy consists of methods through which the Federal Reserve attempts to engage banks, businesses, and individuals in effecting changes to interest rates, the supply of money, the demand for money, and so forth.

Learning objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, learners will be able to:

  • compare, contrast and discuss fiscal policy and monetary policy;
  • define the money multiplier, and explain the money creation process;
  • distinguish between the types of money (i.e., between commodity money and fiat money), identifying examples of each;
  • define money supply, and its related definitions (M1 and M2); draw and interpret a money demand curve, and explain how changes in other variables may lead to shifts in the money demand curve;
  • explain and illustrate the relationship between a change in demand for or supply of bonds and macroeconomic activity;
  • explain the functions of a bank, and describe a bank's balance sheet;
  • explain the primary functions of the Federal Reserve, and describe the three tools it can use as part of monetary policy;
  • explain how the bond market works, and discuss the relationship between bond prices and interest rates;
  • describe the relationships among changes in money demand or money supply, in the interest rate, in the prices of stocks and bonds, in aggregate demand, in real GDP, and in the price level;
  • identify and discuss domestic policies that contribute to economic growth; and
  • explain the linkages among income, consumption, and net investment, relating them to economic growth.

Course links (if available)