Syllabus for EUT-402

APPLIED ECONOMIC ANALYSIS


COURSE DESCRIPTION

Applied Economic Analysis provides learners with an understanding of the basics of utility regulatory economics, covering topics such as rate structuring, applications of economic principles for regulated and non-regulated utility operations, and economic analysis of financial operations.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

After completing this course, you should be able to:

  1.  Apply economic principles to the operation of regulated and non-regulated utility operations.
  2. Describe issues surrounding property valuation and depreciation.
  3. Differentiate between economic analysis characteristics for the securities market and for financial performance.
  4. Describe fundamental organizational principles and the impact of mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures on utilities.
  5. Analyze the role of strategic planning and the role of employment issues in utility management.
  6. Evaluate the impact of wholesale market pricing polices on all aspects of utility management and future issues for utilities.
  7. Analyze a particular utility in these economic areas through a report, as well as a second utility for comparison.

COURSE MATERIALS

You will need the following materials to do the work of the course. The required textbook is available from the College's textbook supplier, MBS Direct.

Required Textbook

ISBN-13: 978-0-910325-31-8

COURSE STRUCTURE

Applied Economic Analysis is a three-credit online course, consisting of thirteen (13) modules.  Modules include topics, learning objectives, study materials, and activities. You are required to participate in graded online discussions and an ungraded "Introductions" forum, which occurs during the first week of the semester. You are also required to complete 6 graded quizzes as well as a capstone project. In this project, which all activities lead up to, you apply your knowledge to analysis of a focus utility and a comparison utility. Module titles are listed below.

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.

ASSESSMENT METHODS

For your formal work in the course, you are required to participate in online discussion forums, complete written activities, take quizzes, and complete a capstone project. See below for more details.

Consult the course Calendar for assignment due dates.

Discussion Forums

In addition to an ungraded "Introductions" forum, Applied Economic Analysis requires you to participate in 23 graded class discussions.

Communication with the mentor and among fellow students is a critical component of online learning. Participation in online discussions involves two distinct activities: an initial response to a posted question (discussion thread) and subsequent comments on classmates' responses.

You will be evaluated both on the quality of your responses (i.e., your understanding of readings, and concepts as demonstrated by well-articulated, critical thinking) and quantity of your participation (i.e., the number of times you participate meaningfully in the assigned forums). Responses and comments should be properly proofread and edited, professional, and respectful. Average length of discussion postings should be 150 to 200 words.

Meaningful participation in online discussions is relevant to the content, adds value, and advances the discussion. Comments such as "I agree" and "ditto" are not considered value-adding participation. Therefore, when you agree or disagree with a classmate, the reading, or your mentor, state and support your agreement or disagreement. Be aware that half of your grade for discussion participation will be based on your initial postings; the other half will depend on your responses to the postings of your classmates.

Written Assignments

You are required to complete eleven (11) written assignments.The written assignments are all related to your capstone project.

For the assignment topics and questions, see the Modules on the course Web site. Each of the activities requires you to apply course content to the operation of particular utilities, and all activities can be used as building blocks in your capstone project. Due dates for each activity are listed in the course Calendar.

Your answers to the activity questions should be well developed and convey your understanding of the readings and concepts. They should also adequately answer the questions posed. If you need help in writing, take a look at The Writing Center: University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Also, formulate responses in your own words. Do not merely copy answers from your reading materials. When quoting or paraphrasing from the text or other sources, be sure to cite the source of information properly according to APA guidelines (see also Basic Documentation Rules). If you have further questions, your mentor will guide you in accordance with the correct style of documentation.

Prepare your written activities using whatever word processing program you have on your computer. Include your name at the top of the paper, as well as the course name and code and the semester and year in which you are enrolled.

Before submitting your first activity, check with your mentor to determine whether your word processing software is compatible with your mentor's software. If so, you can submit your work as you prepared it. If not, save your activity as a rich-text (.rtf) file, using the Save As command of your software program. Rich text retains basic formatting and can be read by any other word processing program.

Quizzes

There is no examination, midterm or final, in this course. However, you will take six (6) graded online quizzes. Together they account for 20 percent of your final grade.

Quizzes will be taken online. You may take the quiz at any time during the designated week, but you should take it no later than Sunday of that week. If you are on a course extension, you may need to arrange with your mentor a time to reschedule the quizzes.

Each quiz consists of multiple-choice questions. You may enter and take the quiz only once. Be sure you are ready to take the quiz and have time to finish it before you click the link to enter.

Statement about Cheating

The online quizzes in this course are unproctored. That means you will not be supervised while taking the quizzes. You are on your honor not to cheat during the quiz. Cheating means:

If there is reason to suspect that you were cheating in any way, you run the risk of being given a failing grade in this course.

Please also note that the online quizzes are time-limited. That means you only have the allotted time (15 minutes per quiz) in which to complete each quiz. If you attempt to use more time than you are allowed, you will be penalized.

Important note: Remember that you may enter and take the quiz only once. Be sure you are ready to take the quiz and have time to finish it before you click the link to enter.

Capstone Project

This course includes a capstone project to be submitted near the end of the course. (See the Course Calendar.) A full description of this project and guidelines for completing it are in the Guidelines and Evaluation Rubrics folders on this course site and also in the Final Project area.

The rubric for grading this project is also available in these areas of the course site. The capstone project will provide you with the opportunity to apply what you learn to a real-world situation: a primary utility of your choice (you will also be analyzing a second utility for comparison). You will do your research through the Internet, published reports, and interviews. If you are an employee of a utility you may want to study your present employer. Or you could study an employer for whom you hope to work in the future. Alternatively, you might choose to research your local utility supplier, either electric or natural gas.

Throughout Modules 1 through 11 you will answer questions that require you to apply concepts to your chosen utilities. You will use these activities, along with additional research as noted above, to create a 7- to 12-page (1500- to 3000-word) report. The report should include references to the data you have researched and any interviews you have conducted.

Refer to the Guidelines as you compose your report. You may begin work on this project at any time during the course, but you should submit it by the due date indicated on the course Calendar.

GRADING AND EVALUATION

Your grade in the course will be determined as follows:

All activities will receive a numerical grade of 0–100. You will receive a score of 0 for any work not submitted. Your final grade in the course will be a letter grade. Letter grade equivalents for numerical grades are as follows:

A

=

93–100

C+

=

78–79

A–

=

90–92

C

=

73–77

B+

=

88–89

C–

=

70–72

B

=

83–87

D

=

60–69

B–

=

80–82

F

=

Below 60

To receive credit for the course, you must earn a letter grade of C or better (for an area of study course) or D or better (for a nonarea of study course), based on the weighted average of all assigned course work (e.g., exams, assignments, discussion postings, etc.).

STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS

First Steps to Success

To succeed in this course, take the following first steps:

Study Tips

Consider the following study tips for success:

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY

Students at Thomas Edison State College are expected to exhibit the highest level of academic citizenship. In particular, students are expected to read and follow all policies, procedures, and program information guidelines contained in publications; pursue their learning goals with honesty and integrity; demonstrate that they are progressing satisfactorily and in a timely fashion by meeting course deadlines and following outlined procedures; observe a code of mutual respect in dealing with mentors, staff, and other students; behave in a manner consistent with the standards and codes of the profession in which they are practicing; keep official records updated regarding changes in name, address, telephone number, or e-mail address; and meet financial obligations in a timely manner. Students not practicing good academic citizenship may be subject to disciplinary action including suspension, dismissal, or financial holds on records.

Academic Dishonesty

Thomas Edison State College expects all of its students to approach their education with academic integrity—the pursuit of scholarly activity free from fraud and deception. All mentors and administrative staff members at the College insist on strict standards of academic honesty in all courses. Academic dishonesty undermines this objective. Academic dishonesty takes the following forms:

Academic dishonesty will result in disciplinary action and possible dismissal from the College. Students who submit papers that are found to be plagiarized will receive an F on the plagiarized activity, may receive a grade of F for the course, and may face dismissal from the College.

A student who is charged with academic dishonesty will be given oral or written notice of the charge. If a mentor or College official believes the infraction is serious enough to warrant referral of the case to the academic dean, or if the mentor awards a final grade of F in the course because of the infraction, the student and the mentor will be afforded formal due process.

If a student is found cheating or using unauthorized materials on an examination, he or she will automatically receive a grade of F on that examination. Students who believe they have been falsely accused of academic dishonesty should seek redress through informal discussions with the mentor, through the office of the dean, or through an executive officer of Thomas Edison State College.

Plagiarism

Using someone else's work as your own is plagiarism. Although it may seem like simple dishonesty, plagiarism is against the law. Thomas Edison State College takes a strong stance against plagiarism, and students found to be plagiarizing will be severely penalized. If you copy phrases, sentences, paragraphs, or whole documents word-for-word—or if you paraphrase by changing a word here and there—without identifying the author, then you are plagiarizing. Please keep in mind that this type of identification applies to Internet sources as well as to print-based sources. Copying and pasting from the Internet, without using quotation marks and without acknowledging sources, constitutes plagiarism. (For information about how to cite Internet sources, see Online Student Handbook > Academic Standards > "Citing Sources.")

Accidentally copying the words and ideas of another writer does not excuse the charge of plagiarism. It is easy to jot down notes and ideas from many sources and then write your own paper without knowing which words are your own and which are someone else's. It is more difficult to keep track of each and every source. However, the conscientious writer who wishes to avoid plagiarizing never fails to keep careful track of sources.

Always be aware that if you write without acknowledging the sources of your ideas, you run the risk of being charged with plagiarism.

Clearly, plagiarism, no matter the degree of intent to deceive, defeats the purpose of education. If you plagiarize deliberately, you are not educating yourself, and you are wasting your time on courses meant to improve your skills. If you plagiarize through carelessness, you are deceiving yourself.

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