Life, the Universe, and Everything

A Course Blog for GET1029/GEK1067

Category: Course Matter (page 1 of 4)

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. Since 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,

Continue reading

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…

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.

Podcast Episode #04

On the quizzes, with a current student guest!

Podcast Episode #02 (W02)

W02 Q/A Part 1: Course Matters

Let me start with the course or study related questions, before going to the substantive content questions in subsequent parts on the blog, or podcasts.

Hi Prof, just suggesting – i think itd be btr for the QnA to be shifted over to Zoom’s QnA function. That way while you’re explaining, maybe the tutors can help answer the questions asked using that function. the quality of the qns can improve since everyone here hides behind anonymity to shitpost

Hi Prof, I feel like the Pollev questions might be too distracting at times, is it possible for this to be shifted to another format so that the questions can be better curated/ less distracting?

prof can create a subreddit? then have different discussions for each lecture? cos that way we can respond to each others questions too

As far as I can tell, the fundamental constraint here isn’t really the platform–it’s the fact that there are many students. If you think it’s distracting to you, it’s just as distracting for us too… This is why I believe the it’s important for there to be smaller groups–likely based on tutorial groups, or clusters of them under the same tutor. Or your own informal peer groups. Likely using Telegram or some other persistent platform. But these can be managed by students, or perhaps the tutors.

Continue reading

Arguments Lesson Bot on Telegram

Over the last few years, my tutors and I have created a set of handouts (they are in Luminus > Module Overview > 1) to help students with basic concepts to do with arguments and logic. While formal logic (or for that matter, the formal study of informal logic) isn’t part of the syllabus of GET1029, we do introduce and reinforce concepts such as the basic idea of an argument, the difference between validity and soundness, and very importantly, necessary vs. a sufficient conditions–throughout the semester. The tutors have their marching orders to help me with all this, and the quiz questions do assume your familiarity with them. But no worries–even as you are still finding your footing in these concepts, the handouts are there to help you as ready reference material. This semester, we found a way to do something better (we hope it’s better anyway).

Continue reading

Podcast Episode #01 (W01)

PIG Peer Mentoring

The Philosophy Interest Group (PIG) is organizing three peer mentoring events to discuss aspects of philosophical study at a peer level. These are:

Stage (A) Philosophical Reading (Week 3)

Stage (B) Philosophical Writing (Week 5)

MCQ Clinic (Recess Week)

The sessions are independent of each other and do not require prior attendance at previous stages. They are basically seeking to help students with little to no prior philosophical background may be enrolled. This isn’t the first time the group is doing it–so they have quit a bite of tradition and practice by no.

The signup link is:


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