Sunday, November 29, 2015

Peter Diamond Econ 490: Final Post

Going in to the class, I knew a lot about organizations, but regarding mostly the people side of things.  I didn't know much about the economics of it.  So this class was interesting because it taught us about the distribution of preferences, production capabilities, efficient structures, and achieving goals within that setting.  I also thought the gift exchange and insurance lessons were very helpful to learn about, and probably enjoyed those the most.

Regarding the way the class is structured with the live class, I thought it was good.  Listening to any lecturer just talk for an hour and a half is tough, especially when no one wants to answer questions.  If I had to change something about the style of lecture, I would add some sort of extra credit for kids who answer questions.  It would encourage conversation and it would be more interesting hearing views from other students.  I'm sure kids have great ideas, but don't want to share it because they know responding has nothing to do with their grade.  I would also add some videos to keep interest up, and somehow incorporate games if that was possible.

In terms of the blogging, I enjoyed it.  The topics weren't too specific so you could kind of talk about anything and tie in your experiences without worrying about not answering the question.  The topics were interesting, and the fact that you responded allowed us to think about the question in a different manner after you critiqued us.  The way I went about blogging was nothing special.  I read the question, tried to think of examples where I've experienced it or seen it happen to someone else, and then wrote what I thought.  Didn't take any extraordinary effort or anything, but at the same time forced us to think.  For the excel, I would say that was a little bit harder.  The homework was good, but sometimes it wasn't always that easy to understand what equation to use when, even after watching the videos.  I would say depending on the difficulty of the excel, it would take me anywhere from 25 mins to 45 mins.  Didn't do too much if any preparation for it, besides watching the videos if they were given to help make the homework easier.

Finally, what I would have liked to see in the course to improve it, would be to start with making lectures more interactive.  Incorporate some games, get the audience to answer some questions, or watch some videos.  Give kids some reason to come to class.  I would leave the blogging the same.  And then for the excel assignment I would give instructions that are a little more clear.  Some were easy to understand, but some were harder.  And then I would say do the cider and donuts thing for the next semester as well.  That was a good call, and if you wanted to bring in snacks on other days that wouldn't be frowned upon.  Overall solid class.  


  1. Thanks for the comments. This is the first time teaching the class where getting students to speak up was difficult. I did find it weird too.

    On give credit for talking in class, that's a tough one. Other classes use clickers, for which a participation credit is not that hard, because the software track this. I've thought our class too small for clickers, but maybe it is needed. You said you liked the gift exchange notion. My view is that applied to class students would not just show up but they'd contribute to the discussion in addition. Somehow, however, our class didn't develop that pattern.

    You talked about having games in class. I wonder if you might give an example so I understand what you are referring to. Right now I'm really not sure.

    1. For games I don't really have a specific one in mind, but for one of my other 490 classes we play games and everybody seems to enjoy it and it creates conversation. You would have to do some research on potential games, but if you could find a good one I think the class would like it.

      Regarding the project, I thought the project was decent. For writing a paper I don't think it's the best to make it a group project because everybody likes writing their own way. I think you could get better quality if it was individually done. I can see with grading it's much easier to grade half the papers, and with the time frame of the class that makes complete sense. The fact that you give us solid suggestions so we can write a better second draft also helps a lot. But at the end of the day most kids will decide whether they liked the project based on what grade they get.