First, check out this CNN article about rising food prices and stagnant incomes forcing suburban families to bring back pre-industrial cottage industry, "making expensive stuff themselves."
Could this be a possible example of the limits of niche markets? Seems interesting to head back in the direction of proto-industrial society, when people made their own because of lack of availability of particular goods. Then the system became cheaper and easier than making it at home. Now it's becoming cheaper and easier, even though particular products are easily available. Is this one of the unexplored limits of the free market?
Also we understand the importance of the historical perspective here - confusing economic conditions are ripe for the rhetor of the "paranoid style" or xenophobic and antisemetic tropes. It's a situation worth watching carefully.
Secondly check out this video about the modern university student. I think it is not only an interesting insight into the modern classroom, but a nice model of the potential for class projects using technology that's readily available.
There's also a great research model here using Google documents to gather participant-observer data in an anonymous and convenient way.