Monday, December 7, 2015


Reflecting on the course I have mixed feelings about how I feel about it. There were definitely parts that I did enjoy, but there were also some that didn't necessarily coincide with my learning style. To start with the positive, this was the first economics course I have taken that really stressed the conceptual and application side of the concepts. Both the lectures and the blog posts really emphasized a conceptual understanding that I have never had to develop with such depth in any other econ class. I really enjoyed the blog posts, they helped me to understand why the ideas we learned about actually mattered, and thinking of applications for each lesson pushed me to understand the ideas rather than recite them. I think the most interesting of these was the principle agent model, because it provided the perspective to understand a conflict in the work place that I had experienced. There is definitely a learning curve for writing the blogs, it is very different from writing an essay and I still have trouble at times with the different format. I don't know why, but I did find that I tend to be very brief when I am writing in this voice so more often than not I have had to go back and elaborate further or fluff up my sentences so that they would be communicated well in the blog.

The excel homeworks, on the other hand, I was not particularly thrilled about. I sometimes found it unclear what exactly was being asked and for some reason the way certain things were explained prior to the questions, I feel that key elements were missing from me actually understanding some the assignments. I generally feel like I learn best when I learn the content and use the homework to test and practice my knowledgeI did, however, like that they were done in excel. It was great to get immediate feedback on my answers and I thought it was a very smart way to do homework. Although it didn't allow for partial credit, I liked that I didn't have to be worried about glitchy assignment sites or log in information. Most of the assignment did go well, and actually were great at preparing me for class on Wednesday, but the more difficult assignments could have used more preparation.

Finally, with respect to the lectures I feel that there were a lot of great dynamics in class. I feel like I was able to grasp the concepts quickly because you used a lot of practical examples, and that the lectures were generally engaging. I liked how there was a participation component, and that it did help to hear new voices participating in the lecture, but it definitely could have been further utilized. It is a shame less people were willing to participate. I think a participating factor in this was that the lectures did lack a structure that most students have become accustomed too. We are very used to powerpoints being used to keep things on track, and the open lecture format does not coincide with this well. I think even a powerpoint with a few of the main points of the lecture would help to keep things on track and students to organize their notes so that they would feel more comfortable participating.

This course presented a lot of really interesting topics, and definitely taught me concepts that I will be able to use in my career rather than to just complete my college degree. I actually used some of the concepts from the lesson on insurance and risk in an interview for a company that I will actually be starting my career at! So thank you for a great semester!


  1. One pain point for me - It is principal-agent, not principle-agent.

    On the rest of what you said and that the blogging was a challenge, I have two reactions. The first is that is how real learning works. It doesn't just fall into your lap every time. Some things are a struggle. You have to keep working on them. That is how you improve. And for the most part your posts were coherent and interesting to read. So you may be evaluating yourself a bit harshly here, focusing more on the process than on the product. The other point is writing to learn (which is what the blogging was meant to be) versus writing to communicate prior thinking that happened elsewhere. Writing to learn is like making it up as you go along. It is really quite natural to do that, but it may not be very natural to make those thoughts public. That does take some getting used to.

    On the Excel homework and then what you said about lectures, there is a chicken and egg problem - where do you first get exposed to the ideas and then how do go from first exposure to more of an in depth understanding of the idea. In the traditional approach that you described, where the instructor has a very structured PowerPoint to go through in class, my sense is that many students use that as their first exposure to the ideas and then don't get much farther with that particular subject matter. In other words, they don't slug through the textbook ahead of the lecture. So my approach did ask that students figure out more things on their own ahead of class. Without a lot of practice doing so, that could easily make you feel uncomfortable.

  2. Sorry again for the principal- agent mistake again, I don't know why I can't seem to remember that.

    I definitely agree, I feel like when I was writing to learn, I was able to make it up as I went along but voicing it was rather awkward. If I evaluated myself harshly I think that is just a function of me being unfamiliar with the blog setting.

    With regards to the excel homework, I completely understand the issue and why giving the homework before would push students to actually use the book. I just think that even a slight preview of the material would help because sometimes I found some of the main concepts were missing from the homework that would have helped in completing the homework. The excel homeworks were generally not that bad though so it isn't necessary.

    Finally, with respect to the lectures I think they would just help for students to take notes. Your lecture style is very loose and made taking notes hard. I think a powerpoint would just help us to stay on track with notes so that we had a better idea of the main points of the lectures