This method of class organization initially frustrated me quite a bit. I felt confused by the homework assignments and frustrated when I didn’t understand the concepts behind them. Once I settled into the pattern of the course, I found that there were aspects of this setup that I liked, and aspects that I didn’t like. I enjoyed the way the assignments ‘forced’ me to look at the material before it was formally explained. That gave me an opportunity to think about it on my own first, which primed me to better understand the importance of the explanation given in class. Without having to work my way thought the homework first, I think I would’ve been more inclined to tune out the in-class explanation because I wouldn’t have as much context to look at it with. One way I feel this setup could’ve been improved, however, would be by having a quick assignment after the explanation as well. I think this would have benefited me by giving me the opportunity to make sure I fully understand the concepts after the lecture about them. I think it would also improve my remembering of the concepts.
As for the blog posts, I thought they were interesting and a good preparation for the essay questions in the exam. I think the amount of work and the amount of time it took was reasonable. The blog posts typically took me maybe 5 minutes of preparation to think of personal example that I thought might fit the prompt, and then I continued the thought process while I wrote the post. I think the combination of math-type modeling and more thought-based concepts was interesting and allowed the class to take a broader look at the topics covered.
I think one of my biggest takeaways from this class is that it has made me more aware of different inefficiencies within organizations. I hadn’t ever considered concepts such as transfer costs, the actual effect of reputations, or the costs of monitoring. I always just thought of firms and organizations as entities that were set up and then went about accomplishing tasks, without considering many of the actual mechanics behind how they work. I learned that organizations are not necessarily efficient, but that much of that inefficiency is simply a part of how organizations run and is in a sense an unavoidable part of the system.