My largest gaining from this course is that I learned to look at things through the lens of economics. Tying the course with my own experience and interest, I found I gained a deeper understanding on many of the economic concepts and how they work in the real world.
I have an interest in Business and HR, and through this course I saw many activities that happen in the business and HR fields have their economics principles and models behind, which made me feel that everything is connected. Merger and acquisition, organization structure, building high-performance teams, performance pay, efficiency wage, people management, conflict management, coordination and motivation… these topics that we have discussed in class and also analyzed through excel homework coincides with my interest, and have provided me a new perspective of approaching business problems: through economic analysis. I had a very shallow understanding of these topics before, but our class helped me to understand the underlying reasons why these activities and issues exist, how do they work, how to solve them and produce the most efficient outcome.
For me, blogging and commenting is the part that took me the longest time. I feel I’m more comfortable with writing academic papers. I have experiences in writing academic topics, but I do not have much experience in writing personal experiences and thoughts. I sometimes have trouble with finding personal examples that reflect the economics we learned in class. Besides, I am a slow writer, not matter in my first or second language. Trying to write down what I have in my head and express it clearly to someone in my second language was quite difficult and also very time-consuming for me. I remembered that in the midterm reflection post some students wrote that they only needed about half an hour to write the post, while I usually spend a few hours writing a post. However, as I write more throughout the semester, I found myself more comfortable with writing blogs and spent less time on it. I guess everything needs practice, and there is a learning curve for everything.
I found this very beneficial because it forces me to think and analyze my past experiences, which helps me to reflect on many things that I would never think about otherwise. By connecting my own experience with Economics and what we talk in class, I see how Economics is reflected in practice and everyday life. The blogging assignment also made me wanted to develop a writing habit.
The excel homework was much less time consuming. The content of the excel homework itself is actually pretty demanding, but the questions in the excel homework are not that difficult. Reading through the explanations and illustrations is the difficult part of the excel hw, instead of the questions. If I only skim through the explanations and answer the questions, I’ll be able to finish it in about 20min, but it takes much longer time to understand all the contents in the excel hw, and this may take me about half an hour to one hour more depending on the specific hw.
I do have a few suggestions for the course. The first one is about the classroom sessions. The discussion mode of the course is much better than the traditional lecturing. It guides us to think critically. However, I get lost sometimes… I think it would be helpful if a PowerPoint slide could be accompanied during each class session, so that we could be clear about the class flow, and we will also be able to recall the class discussion when we are reviewing for exams/writing project papers. Then, the excel homework. I feel that if the excel hw could be explained more in the class, I mean the concrete math of the models in the excel hw, but not only the idea of the models (which I believe is what we are doing now), we would be able to gain a deeper understanding of the economic models.
Overall, I think this is a challenging course for me, but it is a great learning experience. This course invoked my interest in I/O Economics, and I would seek for opportunities in the future to further explore this field.