Syllabus (Spring 2016)

AGEC 1113—Introduction to Agricultural Economics
Section 001
Spring 2016

(Note: any changes or clarifications to the syllabus will be made in red font).


F. Bailey Norwood, PhD
Please call me “Bailey”
405-334-0010 (I strongly prefer email to phone and texts)

Teaching assistants (TAs) and tutors

(Note: It is imperative that you treat all TAs and tutors with utmost respect. Anyone found to be rude, condescending, insulting, impatient, or the like toward a TA / tutor will be immediately be prevented from receiving any help.)

TA: Luke Chapman ( In charge of tutoring, homeworks, and maintaining information on grades.
Office Hours in 419 AGH:
Monday 10:00 AM to noon

TA: Jack Kraft ( In charge of tutoring, helping with the class paper, and maintaining attendance records.
Office Hours in 419 AGH:
Monday and Tuesday, 2:00-3:00 PM

Course website and materials

The only thing you need to purchase for the class is at least four orange scantrons for test-taking.

The main class website is here. Here there are links to the free online textbook, this syllabus, announcements, grades, instructions for paper, and a link to D2L where homeworks are administered and papers are uploaded. This website can also be viewed from any browser, and is compatible with most all mobile devices.

This website has a link that takes you to a spreadsheet containing all class grades. Each row refers to a student, and each student is identified with a four digit identification number. This number is available in the Grades portion of D2L. Just login to D2L, go to the Grades module, and look under “Class ID”.

Course objectives

  • Understand how strangers in a free society create wealth through trade in markets
  • Understand how simple agricultural production decisions are made based on technology and prices
  • Appreciate how government regulation can improve, or worsen, markets
  • Learn how prices are formed based on opportunity costs, consumer value, negotiating power, and the like
  • Study the supply and demand model of prices
  • Developing a plan for preparing for retirement

How difficult is the class?

Success in this class is driven largely by self-discipline. Unlike engineering or the hard sciences, you do not need to be especially intelligent to do well in this course. Economics concepts are relatively simple, and I present them in the most straight-forward manner possible. There are usually a few students have more difficulty with economic concepts than other students, but this should pose only a minimal obstacle.

Students who come to class, complete all homeworks, begins their papers early, and put in hours of studying work for the paper and each exam usually make an A. The fewer class you attend, the fewer homeworks you perform, the less you study, and the more you procrastinate with the paper, the worse you will do. That all sounds obvious, but you need to hear it, because self-discipline is students’ most difficult problem.

When it comes to the paper, a student’s grade depends mostly on how closely they actually read the paper directions, follow these directions, and polish their paper by reading it aloud during each edit.

When you think about it, self-discipline is usually man’s most difficult challenge throughout their life, whether it comes to performing your job well, eating healthy, exercising, and saving for retirement. Now, at college, is the best time to begin mastering your own will. Trust me, develop a little self-discipline and in the end you will have a more pleasant life than your less-diligent counterparts.

How class begins

Each class is begun by a randomly selected student, who will be notified when they are chosen at least two classes in advance. This student is expected to lead the class in the following chant.

  • Student: Who cares about you?
  • Class: Bailey!
  • Student: Why does he care?
  • Class: We are special.
  • Student: How do we succeed?
  • Class: Self-discipline

For part E of your paper you must identify two quotes (cited from others or original), one regarding what it means to live an ethical life and another providing inspiration for persevering through time times. Bring a typed copy of these two quotes to me before class so that I can put them on the screen as you say it. Make sure your name is on it and the date. After leading the chant this student should share this quote with the class.



% of total grade

Homework grade


Attendance grade


Exam grade


Paper grade


Homework grade: The average grade across all homeworks, dropping the lowest two homework grades.

Paper: Students are required to write a paper developing a plan for after graduation. The instructions will be posted on the class website and are very specific. Parts of class and homeworks will be devoted to helping students develop this plan, so the key to making a high grade is to pay attention to all class announcements, pay attention in class, and follow the directions carefully. The paper is due March 11 by 5 PM.

Attendance: Is taken at each class period using an ancient method. At the beginning of class a sign-in sheet will be passed down each row of desks. Look for the row with your name and place your signature in the corresponding location, indicating that you were indeed present. We will count the number of students in each row to make sure they match the number of signatures for each row. The signatures for each row will also be checked to see if each looks to come from a different person. Although we will diligently try to make signing-in convenient, it is ultimately your responsibility to make sure you did so before leaving. We will maintain these sign-in sheets for each class period and make available our records at the class website, so any disputes about the attendance grade can be reconciled by checking these records.

The attendance grade is calculated as the percent of classes students attend. There is no such thing as an excused absence in this class, because we are so liberal in allowing you to make up for the attendance. Please do not bring me an excuse letter. If you miss class you may easily compensate by listening to a Planet Money podcast of your choice and submitting (in hard copy) a 500 word summary to TA Jack Kraft within two weeks of the day missed. If you are unable to complete it within two weeks due to a valid excuse like hospitalization we will allow you to turn it in late, but we reserve the right to decide what is deemed a valid excuse. As long as the summary performs an adequate job of documenting that you listened to the entire podcast you will receive full credit for the day you missed. The writing itself will not be graded. Bailey and Jack listen to all such podcasts, and will know if your summary does not match the actual podcast. Make sure that the summary indicates the title of the podcast episode and the date it was released. And of course, make sure it contains your name and the day of class that you missed.

By allowing you to make-up for all missed classes, it is theoretically possible to attend no classes but still have a 100 for an attendance grade.

Exams: The are four exams, including a cumulative final. You may drop the lowest exam grade, so the exam grade is the average of your three best exams.

The final numerical grade for the class is then calculated as: final numerical grade = (0.1)(homework grade) + (0.1)(attendance grade) + (0.65)(exam grade) + (0.15)(paper grade)

The translation of the final numerical grade into a letter grades is as follows.

Final numerical grade

Letter grade

90 or more








< 60


Returning assignments

With such a large class it would take the entire class period to physically hand back assignments. Instead, we make a folder for each student where we place all assignments after they have been graded with the TAs. Either TA can access the folders. You are welcome to come retrieve your folder from the TA and check everything, asking any questions you wish. However, the folders and all assignments must remain with us. If you wish to check assignments in hopes of finding an error and receive a grade change, you must do so within a two week period that starts after all assignment grades are officially posted on D2L.

It might be comforting to know that we perform double-checks of grades repeatedly. We double-check all grade entries, and after we believe grades are finalized we randomly pull files, recheck the original assignment, observe the entry, and make sure the grades are calculated properly. So while there is always a chance of error on our part we do far more than most classes to make sure they do not happen.

Cheat sheets for exams

For all exams you are allowed a cheat sheet that is 15 square inches (like, 5 inches long and 3 inches high). Notes must be handwritten, and on one side of the cheat sheet only. These cheat sheets must be submitted with your exam. It will be kept in your folder and returned to you towards the end of these semester. These cheat sheets may then be used on your final, but ONLY these cheat sheets may be used.

OSU syllabus attachment

The OSU Syllabus Attachment applies to all classes, this class included. This attachment includes cheating and plagiarism and I follow it to the letter. Any cheating, any plagiarism, will result in an “F!”.

Important Dates

Class papers are due March 11 by 5 PM, though the vast majority of you will turn it in earlier.

Spring Break is March 14-18, though no class will be held on March 11.

The final exam is Friday, May 6, 10:00 - 11:50 AM. Information on all final exams is available here.