Thursday, November 5, 2009

Start of Hybrid Class Fall 09

We started the Fall 09 class in the new accelerated hybrid format on Saturday October 30th. There are only six class meetings, but we cover the same content as the full-semester class, so students have to do most of the learning online and in their groups. Class sessions are for working problems, explaining ideas that people are having trouble with and hands-on work. We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Class feedback

I love feedback! After the midterm I asked people what I could do to make the class better for them. Here are the comments (in the order they were submitted):

  • Stretching breaks
  • Neater writing on slides
  • Be more lenient in grading
  • Have a funny YouTube video every 30 minutes
  • Extra extra credit (U.S.A. style)
  • Make-up test
  • Give people the opportunity to correct assignments, and take the average of the two grades
  • Lower standards
  • More interactive in class
  • Solve problems in class/ review in class
  • I'm doing a good job
  • Missing basics (e.g. basic concepts such as revenue, operating income) creates problems
  • Make equations more easily accessible: formulas, cross-reference subjects and formulas
  • Pie shop example was helpful: numerical example
  • Give problems and ask for creative solutions
  • Homework is helpful
  • Homework that consists of unfamiliar problems causes learning difficulties - better to set homework problems to reinforce things covered in class
  • "Extra credit" misleading on midterm
  • Change pace in class
  • This class material is very well organized
  • Use specific business examples e.g. example of cost of shipping cat litter was effective
  • Spreadsheets [I think the comment was that people need more practice with them]
  • Income statements hard to follow
  • Smaller group assignments

My initial reaction:

  • I will incorporate as many of the suggestions about varied teaching methods as I can. In particular, problem-solving in class, changing the pace, more use of multimedia, small group assignments, reinforcement.
  • A lot of the "missing basics" are on the wiki. If you need to revise them, look there. I will also reinforce basic concepts in class. The first half of this course introduced the concepts. The second half will be mostly about reinforcing and applying them, particularly to your group projects.
  • I still feel it's helpful to give some slightly unfamiliar homework problems, to get you to think creatively about how to solve them. It also provides useful preparation for the next class.
  • There is already a lot of assessment in this class. Providing make-up tests and corrections will be too time-consuming, but I will try to provide these opportunities selectively - perhaps in successive homework assignments.
  • Grading is the same for everyone, so being more or less lenient has no effect on overall class standings. I accept that the designation of "extra credit" confused some people. However, everyone had the opportunity to do the "extra credit" questions, and those that did them deserved higher grades.
  • I'm reluctant to provide formulas, because people tend to apply them blindly and make errors. I feel it's better for people to understand the basic principles. However, I will put a few more formulas on the wiki.
  • This is an upper-level college business class. There are just things you need to learn - such as how to interpret income statements. "Lower standards" won't help you to understand business - it is what it is. 
  • I promise to try to write more neatly,
  • I agree with the two or three people who say I am doing a great job ;)

Some feedback for you:

  • Do the homework. It's designed to give you practice on critical skills/concepts. You will get much more out of this class if you take the homework seriously.
  • Don't leave assignments and exams until the last day. Start early so you can get help with problems you encounter.
  • Use the class wiki. There's a lot of material there that will help you.
  • Ask for help. In particular, check the class forum; someone may already have asked the question you need an answer for. Don't hesitate to post questions if you have them.

Thanks again for your great comments!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Midterm over!

With much wailing and gnashing of teeth, the Internet and Business class students have submitted their papers. In a survey at the start of semester the students asserted that take-home exams were one of their most preferred forms of assessment. And yet some now blog that they "hate take-home exams." Despite having nine days to complete the paper, many students only started working on it the night before (I can see this on the wiki stats). And some students complain that they don't understand, but they do not ask questions, even though online help is available 12 hours a day. 

Still, I look forward to grading to see how people did. I learn a little every time.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Student feedback

OK, I realized that people were checking FaceBook and email in class, but I didn't fully understand until now how frequently they were tweeting on Twitter. The big revelation came when I put up a slide with social networking sites--including Twitter--and one student asked "What's Twitter?" Well, that sure got a response. If I could get the tweeters to contribute that much in class every time maybe they would find the class more interesting.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Internet and the Music Business

This is a continuously-in-progress article about the internet and the music business. It's a fast-moving field, so I'm trying to keep the posts up to date.

The Sydney Morning Herald has a story on the chaos at EMI - Rebellion at rock'n'roll headquarters - Music - Entertainment - According to the story, artists such as Madonna and Paul McCartney are leaving traditional record labels and signing with non-traditional firms that offer new forms of promotion and distribution. McCartney's deal offers distribution through Starbucks. That's not such a bad idea. Starbucks now offers the ability to buy digitial downloads wirelessly while in the store - see Starbucks to give away free iTunes music - Wireless-