TAs reported the status of the student projects during the Practical 3 Consultation. This information was collated for an idea of the preparedness of the students.
We would expect Symposium I students to have more progress in their project since they would be presenting first but there doesn’t seem to be evidence of this. This was just before Recess Week, which students typically use for their fieldwork. The numbers doesn’t take into account the probable use of recess week to catch up on their project.
We see that more than 80% of the groups have done a recce or well on their way to collecting data for the project. Well done! This is higher than in 2013, when the corresponding number was about 67%.
What change resulted in this increased preparedness of the students?
This year, great pains were taken to emphasize the symposium on multiple occasions during both the lectures and the practicals.
In 2013, students were introduced to the symposium and possible project ideas during the first lecture. This year, project ideas were also discussed during Lecture 1 but was supplemented with examples of projects from previous years. Mr Siva also included a section on sampling methods during field surveys in Lecture 2. The map activity during Practical 1 also played a part as it exposed students to the different habitats in Singapore, which in turn prompted students to start thinking about areas in which possible wildlife could be studied.
All these elements have led to this year’s class being the most prepared for their symposium ever, we’re very much looking forward to their presentations!
Every year, we try to get the class started early on exploring their animal behaviour projects. Students have to discover that animals are around them, learn to observe and pose a research question – not an easy task as it means navigating many questions.
The best time to figure this out is at the start of semester, when the pace hasn’t picked up for most other modules. By Recess Week though, the threat of mid-terms disrupt the ease with which groups can get organised to make observations.
Something that might affect preparedness is the date of delivery of their project – the Animal Behaviour Symposium. Spread over six week, student groups present their work during Weeks 8, 10 and 12. Surely these deadlines would affect student readiness?
So when groups came for consultation during Practical 3 before Recess Week, TAs reported the state of readiness.
The 2013 class of LSM1303 Animal Behaviour is composed of 164 students. I grabbed the student list of IVLE and sorted this according to their source faculties and year of enrolment to generate the tables below. It is done quickly and I do this every year.
This is to provide myself, fellow lecturers and TAs with an understanding of the class composition. they come from a varied background and teaching non-biologists requires a different approach. There are many things we may not realise require an introduction first, before moving on to a discussion about a concept.
Students won’t interrupt us in large classes for explanations, even though they may be doing classmates a considerable favour! So if we bear this composition in mind, it improves communication.
Table 1: Home faculties and schools of undergraduates:
|Number of students
||Faculty of Arts & Social Sci
||Faculty of Science
||NUS Business School
||School of Computing
||School of Design & Environment
||Faculty of Engineering
Table 2: Their year of enrolment:
|Number of students
||Year of enrolment