Thursday, December 5, 2013

Final Blog Post - Class Reflection

This class was taught in a fairly different way than most of the college courses I have taken thus far. Typically, it seems that in most classes the format is as follows: the professor will introduce an idea, explain it, give examples, and then give students a chance to play around with the idea through discussion or other assignments. Contrary to that, I felt like in this course, students were given an assignment dealing with a new concept, causing them to work through the ideas on their own, and then the concept was formally introduced and explained in class afterwards.

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.


  1. I think your analysis of the sequencing of activities is spot on. In other courses students do use the lecture as the gateway to the course content. When that content is quite similar to what is in the textbook, there is something inefficient about the traditional approach. It would be better to have students get ready before the live class session and then talk about derivative ideas based on that prior preparation. We were more successful doing this for the blogging content than for the Excel content. Part of that may be that while I could read your posts and get some sense of the class from that I was much less informed as to what you (the class as a whole) got out of the Excel exercises.

    The comment you made about the Excel - having a review exercise as well - could be made about the blogging too. The first year I taught with blogs, I had the students write in retrospect after we had discussed something in class. They wanted to write in prospect, so I switched to it in subsequent courses I taught. Perhaps both could be done, but then the work would be more. This is something to discuss in class next Tuesday.

  2. I think that a post-lecture review exercise would be more helpful, at least for myself, with the Excel homework than it would with the blog posts because the concepts for the Excel homework seem to be a little more new or difficult to understand, and because responding to your comment on the blog posts already acts a little bit as a retrospective assignment.

  3. I agree with you about feeling frustrated with the excel homework at first. I couldn't understand why we were not given more information. While I was still frustrated later on, I realized more that the professor wanted us to learn the material for ourselves. Some background info would have been helpful for some excels though.

  4. I can also sympathize with the confusion at first. Getting into a productive learning method for the class took a bit of effort. I agree that a lot of the concepts were self-taught before having the ideas discussed in lecture. Your solution to improving the set up for better understanding of the homework would be beneficial for me as well.