Friday, December 5, 2014

Reflections on Econ 490

I thought that this course was very beneficial, not only in its economic approach to internal business concepts, but also in its sociological and psychological approach as well.  A lot of the time, I am frustrated that the models we use discount so much of the human element.  While I understand that this is necessary for the purposes of simplification and education, it also leaves out a lot of the consequences of how the human element changes the models.  This class struck a good balance between models, both graphical and mathematical, and the intuitive side of things.

I think that the pedagogic approach used in this class was well suited for the subject material that we were learning.  Especially for the more intuitive concepts that revolved around the social sciences part of economics, I feel that our live class was very casual and conversational and that this contributed a lot to my understanding of the material.  The excel homeworks were well made and did a good job of guiding me through the mathematical concepts underlying the models that we used.  I didn't particularly like that the excel homeworks were all-or-nothing as far as getting credit, but I understand that this might be a result of how excel works.  On a related not, there were times when I could do the math in my head but the homework wouldn't accept the answer unless it was a cell reference, forcing me to do the calculation in excel anyway.  The blog posts didn't seem to help me understand the material any better since we would always discuss the prompt in class anyways, only in class it was more of a group discussion as well as being able to hear the professor's opinion on the matter.

 As for my approach to doing the classwork, for the excel homeworks, I would give it an initial try and if there were no problems, I would take it as a sign that I am adequately familiar with the concepts.  If not, I would stop trying to do it and would go back and build on my foundation of that knowledge.  For the blog posts, I would type up my post in Microsoft Word while having the prompt open in another window, and then copy it over when I was satisfied with it.  The excel homeworks would usually take me about an hour, sometimes more, and I would try to spend about an hour or more on the blog posts as well.

As for things that I would like to have seen, I think that having a few classes devoted to different managerial approaches and how these related to different styles of leadership might be beneficial.  We touched on this a little bit, but there is much more out there and I feel like it is so closely related to the subject matter of this class that it should at least be addressed.

All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed taking this class and have had my perspectives broadened as a result.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you enjoyed the class. On the Excel homework being all or nothing - this is my design, not a function of Excel. Honestly, I don't think there is that much additional effort entailed in putting in the cell references. But, you can also take it as an applied lesson from the course. The issue is my monitoring your performance. It is much easier for me to monitor whether you've done the homework in its entirety or not and then use the comments area for you to tell me where you'd like some more explanation. If you only got some questions right I wouldn't be able to tell whether you actually understood what those questions were asking but simply didn't want to bother figuring out the cell references, or if you had a conceptual misunderstanding of what is going on.

    You should not on the blogging, that it preceded the class discussion we had. So it was meant as a readying activity for that discussion. You were one of the students who'd actually contribute in that discussion and perhaps you didn't need the readying activity. I believe your classmates did.