College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Cowen and Tabarrok Launch Online Marginal Revolution University

by Anne Reynolds

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The College of Humanities and Social Sciences is delighted to announce that Mason economics professors Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok are taking a Marginal Revolution spin on online education.

Cowen and Tabarrok co-edit Marginal Revolution, a widely-read economics blog. Marginal Revolution’s September 5 post announced the creation of Marginal Revolution University (MRU), an online educational platform with the objective of making education “better, cheaper, and easier to access.” MRU aims to deliver a wide selection of economic material in a format consisting of short, easy-to-schedule, and arresting  videos with a global (e.g., multilingual) emphasis. The platform is open to submissions from its users to augment its core material. And the courses are free.

MRU is a real innovation over "traditional" online education. Its offerings are designed to be specifically web friendly, and the short, engaging segments are nothing like the "talking head" videos that comprise many other online educational sources. The first course is Developmental Economics, in which Cowen and Tabarrok have created a program designed to resonate throughout the world. It addresses the reality that many countries are undergoing massive changes as they become more global in their reach and competitive in world capitalism, and that other countries need to understand the phenomenon.

It bears noting that both professors are not only integral parts of the College, but they both also earned degrees in economics from George Mason University. Tyler Cowen received his BA in economics and Alex Tabarrok is a Mason economics PhD. The full version of the Developmental Economics course will roll out on October 1. The college is anticipating great success for it and its founders. CHSS and Mason celebrate this initiative and leap forward as enhancing its own commitment to creativity and outreach. 

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