Sunday, December 4, 2016

critique (prompt 1)

I think the course website is a great idea, but sometimes (personally) I would completely space a blog post/ excel/ etc because I am so used to going to check Compass for all my school stuff. In my own mind I would check compass and see nothing is due and completely forget to check the class website (as all the material is here) and think I had no schoolwork for the time being. Major lesson learned and I bookmarked the class site to my browser so I wouldn't accidentally space an assignment. Personally I thought all the material about the principal agent problem and that excel was very interesting. Outside vs inside options, trying to determine agents compensation, and the cases where an arbitor favored one of the sides really gave me a different perspective on how complex decisions can be and how many moving parts are involved. 

Personally I enjoyed the blogging as assignments (I am usually enrolled in 1 online class per semester and there is usually a discussion board/ blogging portion so I am used to this) as I like to be able to do my schoolwork remotely and on my own time. The blogs and excels allowed for this which worked in my benefit because I like to go to the library as little as possible --> meaning I would rather go once a week for 10 hours vs 5 times a week for 2 hours. The way the assignments were structured in this course allowed for me to finish the work in this type of format. I definitely think you should keep in the comment on group member/ respond to your comments component as 1/3 of the blogs I did not even realize I was doing it completely wrong until I went back and looked at Prof. Arvan eviscerating my post. This was a good thing however as I felt once I noticed I completely biffed a post I would try and extrapolate and explain what I was trying to say better in my response comment and sometimes my response comments had more (relevent) information than the post itself. My process for blogging is that I would read the prompt and attempt to answer it as best as I could; an area where I believe I improved as the year went on. Also I typed all my blogs directly into the blogger website (I know you asked in one lecture if you type it into a word document first or not). 

The excel homeworks were interesting as I have never seen an assignment that 1) was a dynamic excel file like we used and 2) where it was 100% or nothing to turn it in. Personally I liked that component because you had to solve everything correctly to get the credit. Some were generally pretty easy because the directions on which formulas to use were given but I felt like in a dew assignments I was completely lost for 2 hours on one question. Not that these homeworks were harder it just seemed sometimes that super clear directions on which formulas to use/ work with for some questions were not directly stated and I would spend so much time messing with the formulas to try and get a box correct. I will say you were very amazing in your responses and response time to questions about the excel homeworks and multiple times you helped me solve them through communication/ comments. I would keep the excel homework structure exactly how it is going forward.

The only thing I think that needs a bit of revising would be on how some of the due dates are structured. Personally (like I said earlier) I am a minimal library guy and usually reserve all my schoolwork for Sunday to do over the course of a few hours. I think a lot of other students operate in a very similar way and I think for blogging the best due dates you could have would be have all the blog posts due Sunday night at 11:59pm and the two response comments due right before class the following Tuesday. I think making the Sunday night and comments by class due dates at these times and give no leeway on late submissions would make it much easier for students. Having things due on Friday (in my opinion) is a bad day because students check out of school for the week until Sunday when they wake up Friday morning (I do not have class Friday so I ascribe to a similar mindset). Also I think having the excels due on Thursday nights instead of Wednesday could be better as students would have another class session to come and ask you in person for assistance if they need it. I do think that Wednesday is fine but Thursday could maybe work better. 

Last thing I will say is that I hate group work and did not enjoy the experience of the group paper. Personally when I write a paper I would just rather do the whole thing myself and write it in my own voice and not have to rely on other people. If you want to do a group assignment I think making it a presentation (powerpoint in class) on something would be much easier for students to do rather than a paper. I did another econ 490 last semester (american economic history with Prof. Diianni) and it was one of my favorite courses ever. Instead of the group paper you could implement similar assignments that he did for the class where he would have us read a paper (like the one's you assigned) as we would answer the same 7 questions about them every time: what is the author describing, what is the 'commonly held' point of view, what is the authors point of view, evidence that strengthens/ weakens the arguments. These papers were usually about some commonly held myth in society and economists would essentially lay them to rest with data and statistics: showing that the myth is completely false. The papers were usually pretty interesting: an example was one talking about if the railroad was invented 25 years later St Louis would have grown into what Chicago is nowadays (because it is located on the Mississippi and the steam engine was the best mode of travel) and how other cities on rivers would have prospered more. Implementing some smaller scale, responses to papers like this I think could be a better assignment than the group paper. 


  1. You have the misfortune of me reading this while the Giants are losing to the Steelers. That may condition some of what I say.

    It seems that you would like the course if it were totally online. Is that right? You didn't talk about your attendance in the live session, but that was rather mixed, wasn't it? I wonder if you could comment on that.

    My goal is never to completely eviscerate a student with my comments. If it seemed that way, I apologize. Of course, if you make a serious error, that needs to be corrected, but the goal is not error checking. Rather it is to get you to expand your thinking along the lines you already were going.

    Several other students comments about the deadlines, but suggested Thursday night for the blog posts. The funny thing in what you said, you could have done both the blogging and the Excel on the Sunday before and been early completing the assignments. That would have fit your time pattern. Since I typically gave people a week in advance, you would have been able to do that.

    But the way you wrote this, it is the deadline that compels you to do that work. One should ask why that is. Since it is you doing this, that is for you to weigh in on. I think being ruled by deadlines may be habit. If so, you might consider what it would take to break it and be more proactive about the work.

    On the paper/project, of course you are not alone in that, but you knew your team members ahead of time, correct? That probably is not a good thing. People may take advantage of friends more than they would with mere acquaintances.

    There was some difficulty forming groups with students not in class for that purpose. So there is some correlation between your attendance and the team you got put on. How much, I'm not sure, but do note that my approach didn't anticipate that very well at all.

    1. Prof. Arvan,

      First I would like to say the eviscerate comment was supposed to be in good fun and joking around - if I offended you in any way I would like to apologize. I meant it as that you were always very constructive in your responses to my posts, especially when I may have not followed the prompt correctly.

      Yes my attendance was slightly mixed, but that was just from my fault from being a bad student. I stay up too late and am (through my own bad habits very sluggish in the morning. Much less this past semester I used a lot of time in the morning to do various on campus/ phone interviews and interview prep which unfortunately took away from me attending 100%. I do not think the entire class needs to be online, but personally the type of student I am I like to be able to do the work at my own time/ pace and putting some assignments online works in my favor in this way.

      I would say I do try and proactively do work for most of my courses, but I prioritize the assignments that have a closer due date to the present time. I did not explain this well enough but my hypothetical best situation would be to do the whole week's of work the sunday before it would be all due (you can obviously see this rarely happened). So on Sunday I would go and knock out 8 hours of work (the excel that woukd be due in 3 days and the post that would be due in 5 from a given Sunday).

      As far as the project goes like I said I just am not a fan of group work in general, the project itself worked fine however. Yes, we did know eachother ahead of time and it slightly worked against us. Since we are actually good buddies we kept texting eachother, "oh lets meet up" and someone would always be busy with something minor and we would put it off another day. I agree with you that if the groups were all random people in a sense it is easier to come together and work for fear of ostracization by the other group members (if I did not show up they would think I am a slacker and that thought would compel me to actually meet them). However, we eventually got our paper done yesterday and I believe we are finishing up the details before emailing you it tonight.

      Also my recommendation to have response papers similar to Prof. Diianni's American economic history 490 would work to (not yours maybe but the absent students) benefit because all the submissions would be done online. Furthermore the student would have to read a 15-20 page paper by themself and understand and rewrite that information in their own words through compass. For the most part the papers were very interesting about a lot of hypothetical situations and commonly held myths, but I think that was just because a good chunk of that course was about cliometrics/ anti history. I am not exactly sure if you could use papers on the same subject or which ones you would choose, but always something to consider.

      Thank you Prof. Arvan for a great course, despite my non-stellar attendance and a few late postings here and there I did truly enjoy this course and I am glad I took it my last semester before graduating.