Something we touched on today and in our project, was the important role HR plays in the organization. While I would have loved this course to have spent more time on this subject, I can't imagine finding the time to fit this in the course. It also would certainly draw the course away from the Economics and more toward the Labor and Employment Relations discipline. I think, though, the course was a fabulous blend of interdisciplinary subjects and made me really want to further explore organizational economics.
This brings me to the books. I think these books were the best books I've ever had for a college course. I thoroughly enjoyed reading from both books. I found them extremely clear, chock full of great examples and distinct explanations. I was so disappointed in myself for renting the Bohlman and Deal book, that I just ended up buying it from Amazon, because I know I'll read it in the future.
The biggest opportunity, I think, would be to increase class participation/enthusiasm. I think if students were forced to be involved (by being called on) after the first week or so, folks might be prepared to answer more often. I very often found myself correctly answering in my head, but naturally concerned myself with whether I was correct or not (this is probably more my problem than yours). In classes where I experienced the most involvement by the students, I attribute the success of that involvement to the culture of the class. I might also suggest a small percentage, perhaps 10-15% of the time, questions were somewhat vague and difficult to understand what exactly was being asked.
One way participation might improve would include a minor grade (maybe inclusive of the 5% grade for comment responses) which required students to reply to one other blog each week. It wouldn't necessarily have to be meaningful, so you wouldn't have to grade the content, but it might help students feel more comfortable with each other and thus more comfortable to share in class.
In terms of assignments, I found the team project interesting and insightful about how theories on organizations might form. I also think the project was also a great way to introduce us to real journal articles and help us learn how to interpret and the need for (possible) disagreement with the concepts. The project also forced a discussion between myself and my teammate about the topics we had discussed in class, and allowed us to apply them together and work out the real-life applications.
The Excel homeworks became sneakingly more difficult as the class progressed and I found myself not only using the included text, but reaching out to other resources to find guidance. I mostly found that when I could follow the math from beginning to end, I had more success. When assumptions were made or equations given without derivation, I had difficulty understanding the concept and by working out the math myself or using some combination of an outside source, the excel text and my own derivations, I could understand concepts more clearly. This is probably more specific to my talents/abilities because my brain functions on a much more math-based level. The graphs in these homeworks were very helpful to visualize and further understand the concepts, especially those where we could adjust curves with up and down arrows. I would estimate I spent a minimum of 1 hour, but normally two or three working on the excel homework and trying to understand the text within.
Blog posts were a great addition to this course. I really liked sharing and thinking about how my real world experiences apply to the course material. If the course is to be changed, this should definitely be included in the next iteration. I spent most of the week thinking about what I would write about thinking through multiple scenarios (which also helped the material sink in) and then write about one of them in depth. The time I spent writing was about two hours and I found, in the second half of the semester when I tied my writings to past concepts, the writing much more interesting.