Life, the Universe, and Everything

A Course Blog for GET1029/GEK1067

Study based on GET1029 data published

It’s out! Some of you ex-students from GET1029 will recognize where the data came from–big thank you to everyone who contributed to the various surveys. It’s really cool when you can play with several years’ worth of data with thousands of points. And not least my collaborators Kiru and Zi Hui–couldn’t have done this without you!

An Interesting Result…

How has COVID-19 and the shift to online teaching affected overall student feedback ratings? The data from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is… interesting. Basically, with over 200 modules running for 6,000+ students, our averages basically didn’t move at all, or move a very little in the positive direction, compared to the most recent pre-pandemic semesters…

I won’t make too much of this since there are a lot of unknowns. Also, since feedback is generally done before the final exams (for those modules that have final exams), it’s also possible that not all the negatives have been captured. (But even so, it suggests that for the segment of the classes at least up till the point of the exams, the averages basically maintained. Which is still something.)

The response rates for the past semesters:

  • AY2018-2019, Semester 1 – 65%
  • AY2018-2019, Semester 2 – 48%
  • AY2019-2020, Semester 1 – 49%
  • AY2019-2020, Semester 2 – 57%
  • AY2020-2021, Semester 1 – 58%

The dip between AY2018-2019, Semester 1 and Semester 2 is due to the end of the “bid points bonus for doing feedback scheme”. The surge in AY2019-2020, Semester 2, however, coincides with the first of the COVID-19 semesters.

(All ratings upon 5.0; Average, Standard Deviation) AY2018-2019, Sem 1 AY2018-2019, Sem 2 AY2019-2020, Sem 1 AY2019-2020, Sem 2 AY2020-2021, Sem 1
Overall, the teacher is effective. 4.2 0.8 4.2 0.8 4.3 0.8 4.3 0.8 4.3 0.8
The teacher has enhanced my thinking ability. 4.2 0.8 4.2 0.8 4.3 0.8 4.3 0.8 4.3 0.8
The teacher provided timely and useful feedback. 4.2 0.8 4.2 0.8 4.3 0.8 4.2 9.8 4.3 0.8
The teacher has increased my interest in the subject. 4.1 0.9 4.2 0.9 4.2 0.9 4.2 0.9 4.2 0.9
What is your overall opinion of the module? 4.0 0.8 4.0 0.9 4.0 0.8 4.1 0.9 4.2 0.8
The grade that I am most likely to get in the module is: 4.1 0.7 4.2 0.6 4.1 0.6 4.2 0.6 4.2 0.6
I rate this module as (for diffulty): 3.4 0.7 3.4 0.7 3.4 0.7 3.4 0.7 3.4 0.8


So Long, and Thanks for all the Fish!

You would have gotten your results by now. The student feedback has also been released to us. In the interest of transparency, I’ve left a copy of the Module Report and Teacher Report (for myself) in Luminus Files, if you want to see them. The overall impressions are consistent with previous semesters–as you can see in the chart below (click through to see).

Note that A/P Mike Pelczar and I normally take turns to run the module–I do Semester 1, he does Semester 2.┬áSince some students have written in to inquire, you can help pass the word if a friend asks. Prof Pelczar’s version of the module will be largely similar but is not identical in topics and readings, and we don’t organize all aspects of the module in the same way. You will need to look at the Luminus page for details.

For the coming academic year’s Semester 1, however, I will (almost certainly) not be teaching GET1029, as I will be working on creating and implementing a large new module for the College of Humanities and Sciences.

All the best and see you around NUS! Don’t forget to watch our closing podcast,

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Podcast Episode #08 Closing Thoughts

Recommendations for readings, movies, etc., your instructor’s sharing about best/worst moments, advice for aspiring philosophy majors, parting words from your instructors, and some more…

FASS Cares

Helping my deanery team advertise this:

COVID-19 has indeed created many new norms and taken its toll on many of us, but more heavily on some, especially those from the more vulnerable group.

COVID-19 has indeed taken its toll on many of us, but more heavily on some – especially those from more vulnerable groups than others.

During these trying times, we hope to extend some support to our lower-income front-liners at FASS. They are our cleaners, guards and gardeners, who put themselves out there and toil tirelessly to keep our environment safe and clean. The External Relations & Student Life (ERSL) Team has embarked on this project to gather the faculty’s help to alleviate some of their daily meal expenses and spread some cheer.

We hope to raise at least $2,000 (per our application to Temasek Trust) to qualify for their additional funding under the oscar@sg fund. We thereby sincerely appeal to you for your generous donation, as well as to show your appreciation for the front-liners’ hard work.

Your donation will:

  • Provide them with hot meals at FASS The Deck (it will support the stalls as well, as their incomes have been affected by COVID-19)
  • Support a Care Pack
  • Support future projects if funds allow

Your donation, no matter how big or small, will go a long way in showing that FASS cares.

Spread a little cheer and support – make your donation NOW (latest 20 Dec 2020).

Final Exam Brief Explanations (AY2020-21, Semester 1) (MCQ/MRQs only)

This is only for the MCQ/MRQs for now. We are still in the process of scoring the SAQs and will update at the end of this post when that’s done. There are 460 of you so this will take a while…

I will be brief for most of the questions. You will be able to see your submitted quiz in Luminus, but not a gradebook entry. Question 20 updated. The 75th, 50th, and 25th percentile scores, mean and standard deviation are provided, with the most recent AY Semester 1s also listed for comparison:

  • AY2020-2021, Sem 1: quartiles 20, 17, 13; mean 16.76; SD 4.750
  • AY2019-2020, Sem 1: quartiles 17, 15, 12; mean 14.89; SD 4.158
  • AY2018-2019, Sem 1: quartiles 21, 18, 15; mean 17.65; SD 4.638

Update: Note that Question 25 has been voided and everyone will get a mark for it. The summary statistics reflects the new scoring.

Click through to see…

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Vaguely related to the Simulation Argument topic

From the wikipedia article:

In the open world video game Free City, Guy (Reynolds) is a non-player character (NPC) working as a bank teller. Thanks to a program developed by programmers Milly (Comer) and Keys (Keery) inserted into Free City by the publisher Antoine (Waititi), Guy becomes aware of his world being a video game, and takes steps to make himself the hero, creating a race against time to save the game before the developers can shut it down.

Past Final Exam Debriefs

You can find the debriefs for the last rounds of GET1029 Final Exams taught by me. The exam questions themselves are available from Central Library; though I have them in Luminus Files as well.

Do keep in mind that some of the readings and topics have changed over time, and even for the same topics, some of the definitions were different as well. So don’t be surprised if a few things are not what you expected (to give an example–I didn’t emphasize the epistemological nature of the LPOE in the earlier years).

Just as importantly, I set questions of a very different style compared to my colleague, A/P Mike Pelczar, who rotates the module with me–even though a lot of material overlap between us. Just be warned if you look at the exam scripts from outside the above list.

Some Group Discussion Summaries

I asked the tutors to send me some of their favorite “Group Discussion Summaries” (GDS). You will see them below. Keep in mind that some (but not all) of these go above and beyond what we were looking for. But before that, let me say something about the genesis and rationale for the component.

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Article: The intelligent monster that you should let eat you

Hat tip to a student of mine who sent me this:

Imagine a monster with a set of words so powerful you have to let it eat you. It might sound fanciful, but we could be on a trajectory to inventing one right now, writes Richard Fisher.

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