Arts and Social Sciences Club
‘Speak Out Loud’ Project 2010
An initiative of the 30th Management Committee
This is an inaugural survey conducted by the Arts Club’s Welfare Cell (30th Management Committee) in March 2010, to elicit feedback from undergraduates on various matters pertaining to student life and experience. Over four days at the Arts Canteen, a total of 43 students were interviewed. The sample comprised:
- 67.4% females, 32.6% males
- 72.1% Chinese, 20.9% Malay, 7% Indian
- 7 majors represented (CL, CNM, EC, ELL, PY, SC, SW, TS)
(1) Tutorial Participation, Tutors and Project Work
- Buzz groups (of 5 or less persons): buzz groups should be formed within tutorials to allow for small-group discussions. In each tutorial, buzz groups can discuss a topic followed by presentation of findings.
- CA for participation: students who speak up just for CA marks should be discouraged. In this regard, CA marks for participation should be clarified from outset; not many tutors/lecturers state upfront how class participation will be counted towards CA.
- Debates: consider having student debates, rather than only student/group presentations.
- Tutor quality: tutors have very different ‘quality’ and parity across teaching and essay marking should be ensured (ie. lecturers to be proactive in tutor management).
- Project grouping: randomly assigned project group members simulate ‘real world’ work situations but present problems in terms of time-tabling (to meet for discussion), intra-group harmony, and predictability of final result.
- Project peer evaluation: this should be mandatory in all project work involving 4 or more members. Peer evaluation can also be weighted such that marks are assigned to individual sections that each member has contributed to prevent free-riding.
(2) Further Opportunities for Learning (Outside of Lectures/Tutorials)
- Experiential learning 1: field trips should be organised once per semester for each module (where relevant) eg. visits to museums, government organizations etc.
- Experiential learning 2: departments should proactively develop internship opportunities for their major students (either credited or informally run during the vacation period).
(3) IVLE Management
- Forum discussion: should be made mandatory for all modules on IVLE
- Chat rooms: highly encouraged for all modules
- Webcast: highly encouraged for all modules, so that students can revise materials more easily (if lecture attendance is a concern, students are fine with attendance being taken)
- In general, students are highly participative on-line, and module instructors should make use of IVLE resources more intensively.
(4) Continual Assessment and Mid-Term Tests
- Both are important: students affirm the necessity of both, but 65% feel that CA marks should be assigned with a mixed-approach rather than from a single mid-term test (ie. CA comprising class participation, individual essay, group project, mid-term test). Mid-terms should preferably not dominate the CA mark allocation.
(5) Others: Value-Adding to Student Life
- Tea session: departments ought to organize ‘once per academic year’ tea sessions for Majors to meet with their lecturers, provide feedback, hear about latest development etc.
Feedback on Other Aspects of Student Life (Pertinent to Dean’s Office)
(6) Lecture and Tutorial Durations
- Most students are content with a weekly schedule of 2-hour lecture/1-hour discussion (or 2-hour discussion over a fortnight), although some have also expressed a preference for 3-hour seminar-style classes (especially for smaller classes).
(7) Module Allocation and New Modules
- Module allocation: students’ main concern is being able to get the modules they want, rather than more modules being offered each semester. In particular, Major students (in 2nd/3rd year) must be able to get their ‘Core modules’ through MPE.
- New modules for consideration (can be minors): film study, archaeology, languages (as minors)
(8) Other Matters eg. Class Size, Study Space, Workshops
- Ideal tutorial size: 15-20 students – tutorials/discussions larger than 20 often means less attention by tutor, and students are able to ‘get away’ with little participation and preparation.
- Ideal lecture size (not including Level 1000 & GEK): 100-200 preferred – overly large lecture groups inhibit interaction and students speaking up in lectures.
- Study rooms: Dean’s Office can consider creating study rooms for students (eg. School of Computing study rooms), or allowing the use of Seminar Rooms as study spaces (from Reading Week onwards).
- Workshops: Dean’s Office to organise more interactive and student-participative workshops (career preparation and relevant topics).
Project undertaken by Arts Club Welfare Cell and affiliates (Sama Bombaywala, Tarang Mogre, Ow Shihong, Kalyani Iyer, Rosel Tan, Nishank Singhal, Apurva Parthasarathi, Manmitha Srinivasan, Mitali Kumar, Kritika Kumar, Srinidhi Srinivasan), with help from Daryl Boey (Vice President). Notes summarized and compiled by A/P T.C. Chang (Assistant Dean), April 2010.