Four Days of Exams

Between the classes I’m taking and the class I’m teaching, today makes 4 days of exams in the last 5 days. Due to their over ambitious schedules, my students took their regularly schedule exam on three different days. At least this time the average & distribution of grades was much more acceptable than the first time around. Whew! Two of my poorest performers have opted to drop the class. Again, whew! The director of the Honor’s program has no interest in me saddling these students with a poor GPA; I have no interest in artificial grade inflation. Thus it is good all around that some of the students have chosen to drop the class.

My economics class is an on-line course where we are given a 24 hour window to take each exam. For this class the window lasts from Friday morning to Saturday evening. It was a three hour timed exam where on your honor this is a closed book/no notes exam. Given that two students who took the class last year told me that this was a class with open book exams, I wonder how many of my peers actually read the fine print on the exam rules.  I realized from this exam how much I dislike multiple choice exams. This must be why I never give them myself. One weird thing about the on-line format is there is no place to write a comment if you feel the question is badly worded and/or there is no correct answer given. The second part of the on-line exam was mathematics based. In general I feel much better about questions that state precise things like “find the elasticity coefficient for…” than “if Alan Greenspan announces that they expect interest rates to go up in the next year the demand curve will shift to the …” when it’s not clear whether you are supposed to address shifts TODAY or shifts in the FUTURE when this event occurs. At least it wasn’t clear to me. It might have been quite obvious to those with prior economic experience.

My real estate teacher also went with a partial multiple choice format with one of those use your number two pencils to fill in the circle grading sheets. Bah. At least he had some of his more normal short answer type questions. So much for my GPA this semester. Actually it looks like most of our grade comes from a comparative property analysis we get need to do. I’m planning to do mine on Bio-tech space for lease in the Denver area as I wanted to do this analysis anyway for the Business Plan that we hope to revamp for the Business Plan Competition. There is an initial meeting about the Business Plan competition this Thursday when we will learn whether our team is eligible. Because I’m a student I should be eligible, but it’s not my company. However, they recently added me to their scientific advisory board & made me a very tiny shareholder so perhaps I’m enough of an owner? Also, I’m not sure whether this competition is just for non-existent companies or whether start-ups in need of additional funding are also eligible. I do hope that we qualify as it will be a great way to get more feedback on the plan & to meet angel and venture capital investors in the community. This year there is a specific call for Bio-tech proposals.

I initially wrote the plan for another class, Launching Technology Based Ventures, but at that time that goal was to largely bootstrap the company. The CEO has decided that for this company to create its technology in time to gain a large market share that they need VC investment. We’re currently thinking 1-2 million in round 1 and 8-9 million in round 2. He’s been hesitant to pursue VC funding previously because most VC firms want CEO hiring and firing power. I cannot imagine how difficult it is for someone, in the worse case scenario, to create the idea, create the technology, build prototypes, get everything going & get ousted because you are not the best person to run a large company. Ouch. Of course you could end up fabulously wealthy even if ousted but you’d still have your scientific baby taken from you.