Spring 2016


COM 326 Public Speaking

Instructor: Deepa Pillai

Most people here get A- or B+, depends on how well you do, of course. I haven’t heard of anyone getting less than a B+ though. To get an A, you need to score a 93 and above, A- 90 to 92.9, B+ 85 to 89.9.

As the title of this class suggests, of course the class is about giving speeches. You’ll need to give 4 speeches: Introductory (5%, 20 marks), Informative (25%, 50 marks), Persuasive (25%, 60 marks), and lastly, Special Occasion speech (15%, 30 marks). Introductory speech is around 3-4 mins, Informative and Persuasive 7-9 mins, special occasion speech 4-5 mins. For each of the speeches, she will give you few options so that your topic would fall under. For example, for introductory speech, we could talk about something that we are passionate about, the person we want to become, etc. For informative speech, it must be something that is useful for your audience to learn about and relevant to them – your classmates. For the other speeches, anything goes. Cue cards are allowed, but must be written in point form. If not, marks will be deducted if your speech is written out. Oh and you need to submit a speech outline on the day of your speech, which also consists of your research for the speech, especially for informative and persuasive speeches. What is a speech outline? How to do one? Don’t panic, it’s in the textbook and Ms Deepa will explain it too.

If you exceed or fall short of the time limit by almost 1 minute, you get deducted 2 points, so be careful. Usually people tend to exceed rather than fall short of the time, because you’ll be trying to recall what you’re supposed to say in your speech. Also, most people only practice about 5 times when Ms Deepa asked the class. So keep practicing! 🙂

I got 17.5/20, 43/50, 51/60, 27/30 for my speeches. The average is around 17.5, 44, 53.5, and 27.5 respectively.

Oh and before I forget, we had 2 assignments, 15% each and 30 marks each. Very easy to score good marks for this. For the first one, we had to critique our friend’s speech based on the concepts we learnt in class/textbook.  No need to submit any recordings. The second one was about critiquing a special occasion speech from YouTube using the concepts that we have learnt. I got 28.5 and 28 for the assignments respectively. Average for the first assignment is 28, not sure about the second assignment.

Ms Deepa’s teaching is ok. For this class, she just uses information based on the textbook to teach in her slides. And she would give further explanations and examples. Sometimes she would ask us to get into groups to discuss something or get some people to try and read out a paragraph of a speech or present their group’s ideas. But that rarely occurs. She is really helpful and nice though; she is willing to give some suggestions and ask “helping questions” to make you think about how you can make your ideas for your speech better or whether the topic that you are working on is feasible or really what you want to talk about. Ms Deepa stays in class even for almost an hour after everyone has already left, so do ask her questions if you need to! About half of class time is spent on watching others give their speech and writing feedback on the forms that Ms Deepa provides. In one day, there will be 10 people giving their speech and we need to write feedback for any 6 speakers. Most people will write for the first few speakers, which means the last few speakers will get very little feedback forms, so do keep some for them 🙂

Initially I was afraid to enroll in this class, because I’m really bad at giving presentations. I talk too softly, mumble, and I’m scared to speak out in front of everyone lol But I thought to myself, since I’m so bad and afraid of giving presentations and speeches, I might as well take this class and see what I can do to help myself. Even if I get a bad grade, at least I might still learn something and get some practice. Well, I’m glad that I enrolled in this class because I felt that I’ve improved a lot. Although the grading for this class focuses more on the content of the speeches, and does directly teach you how to be more confident or to be less nervous when giving a speech, you gain more confidence every time you give a speech in front of your class! 🙂 For me, I’m more confident now and I also speak slightly louder and clearer than before. Of course when I gave my first speech I was quite scared, but everyone in the class is friendly and supportive. We learn together and from each other’s mistakes. I like that the class is also supportive too; although they don’t really know me and my speech is probably boring, they will still pay attention to my speech and some of them will even smile at me occasionally. Also, I’m not the only one who has made improvements in giving speeches. When I compared the first speech of some of my classmates and rest of their speeches, I realized they have also improved a lot too. I recommend you to take this class! Public speaking is a useful and important skill that you need to have and taking this class helps to improve your confidence not only in giving speeches, but also in presentations too!

My grade for this course: B+


COM 236 Small Group Communication

Instructor: Mirit Shoham

Uhm for this class, a lot of people just managed to scrapped through to get an A- or just missed the A- and got a B+. 94 and above for an A, 90-93 for A-, 87-89 for B+. This is already an unpopular class to take, because many people think that they have already learnt the content in other classes such as organisational com or interpersonal com, so I’m not sure if I’m scarring you off by saying that many people got A- and B+. Or maybe you even have friends who did badly in this class. Anyway, I’m quite far from the A-/B+ borderline range so… hear what I have to say about this class first before deciding whether to take it or not! 🙂

For this class, we have a project, 3 exams, journals, attendance, and peer evaluation, total 500 marks.

You might have seen some students posting on Facebook that they are selling cookies/cakes for donations to Nepal. Yep, that’s half of what our project is about. To raise funds for Nepal. Each group of 4 members needs to try and hit a target of $400.  For the second half of the project, we need to prepare for a presentation to tell the class about our fundraising process and also talk about a group concept that helped us to reach our goal, another concept that posed a challenge for us, and suggestions that could help us to improve our group dynamics. The group concepts and suggestions, needs to be cited with research and have examples of how our group worked together such as decision-making, conflicts, etc. Mirit will upload a presentation grading rubric, so just follow that. The project is worth 20%, 100 marks. We got 96. Average mark is 94.

For the peer evaluation, it is 2%, 10 marks. Mirit told us that the marks for peer evaluation  will be the average of the total number of marks given to each member. Our group gave everyone 10 marks hehe.

Journals are 6%, 30 marks. Basically, you write about your interactions with your group members, both good and bad, and apply what you have learnt in this class to your experiences. For example, I wrote about how we had to compromise to schedule a time where everyone in our group is able to meet up. Mirit told us that we can write whatever we want, but must apply course concepts. You need to use what you have written in your journals to answer questions in your third exam so make sure it’s written properly and that you write about every group meeting and even group discussions on in-class activities. We had a storyline activity based on Tuckman’s Five Phase Model and a Kidney Machine decision making activity.

* Some tips on writing your journals to help you in your exam: 1. Even if you are busy, write early about what happened while you can still remember. You can apply the course concepts later.  2. Write about what you all did, and how you all work together both as a group and as an individual. Any conflicts? Disagreements? Personalities?  3. Apply concepts from all the chapters that you have learnt throughout all the journal entries, where applicable.  4. After describing an incident, I would usually write :”This is an example of (insert concept)”. You can do something like this too 🙂   5. Highlight, or whatever, whenever you mention a concept. Using one colour for all the concepts is good enough because she will ask you to highlight/underline/bold, etc. your journals during the exam.  6. Already mentioned above in bold; just write about every group meeting/discussion.  All these will really help in your exam because it means that you would have many examples to choose from to answer the questions and you can pick the best ones. *

I think everyone got 30 marks for the journals lol. Both the average and median marks are also 30.

For the 3 exams, they are a mix of MCQs, fill-in-the-blanks (FITBs), short answers and short essays. 20% each and 100 marks each. Strangely, in this class, short answer and essay questions are your best friends; they are easier to score full marks than MCQs and maybe FITBs. Mirit tends to mark in a way that, even if you can’t remember the exact name of the concept, if you write or describe something similar, she will still give you the marks. After the first exam, I thought that I would do badly because I couldn’t remember some of the information and just “smoked” my way through. Turns out that answers that I thought would be wrong were marked as correct. I feel that she marks really leniently, but for some reason, people don’t do extremely well. Also, a 6 mark essay question doesn’t mean you need to write super long. Mirit told us that a student wrote a one sentence answer and she gave the student the full 6 marks because it answered the question. I really don’t understand how. Anyway, I always write super long answers. Kiasu mah

I feel that MCQs and FITBs are the ones that will pull down your marks, they are around 2 marks each, so you lose 2 marks if you get them wrong. And each mark in exams really precious if you want to do well in this class. 

* So… study your notes, it’s very important, because it has almost all of the information that you will need for the exams. She might have 1 or 2 MCQs about the videos she showed in class or in class activities. Around 1 or 2 questions come from the textbooks and are not found in the notes. These questions also tend to be MCQs. But read the textbook for more info. Major content (takes up at least one slide) that is in the notes but not in the textbook will most likely be tested, such as networks and group structure, Kennedy-Nixon Debate, Traffic light experiment, etc. And most of the short answer questions or short essay questions will require you to give examples, so it’s more about applying what you have learnt instead of memorising. *

For the third exam, Mirit asked us to view our journals on the computer so that we can use them as examples to answer the essay questions. But we are not allowed to make any changes to our journals. Which is why it would be good if you have already highlighted or referred to class concepts in your journal entries. Also, Mirit actually tested us on Tuckman’s Five Phase Model and Systems Theory even though that had already been tested in the first exam. I think it’s because we had a group activity based on them. Oh and she gave us a bonus question, depending on how we answered it, we can get an extra 1-3 bonus points.

I got 92, 87, 93 for my first, second, and third exams respectively. The average mark is around 86, 85, 85, and median 88, 86, 88.

Last component for this class is the participation/attendance component that is worth 6%, 60 marks. Whenever you are late or absent, Mirit will write your name on the board. And she always arrive on time so don’t be late!  I’m not sure how she remembers who participated or not. I got 59, didn’t participate at all haha. My friend who didn’t pay attention in class and didn’t participate got 57. Average mark is 56 and median 58.

Mirit is a nice lecturer! She likes to smile a lot and is informal and friendly! The stuff that she teaches is easy to understand. Although COM 236 might have some familiar content, I learnt a fair amount of new information in this class too. And although she won’t test what she said in class, paying attention helps so that you can understand the notes better.

Actually I got 467 marks out of the total 500,  which is a 93.4% and should be an A-. But I got an A in the end lol. Thanks Mirit!

My grade for this course: A


NTR 109 Nutrition in Practice (online class)

Instructor: Melissa Chabot

For this class, most people get an A or A-. It’s probably because the exams that Dr Chabot set are easier than NTR 108’s Peter Horvath. There are 3 exams, 50 marks and 70 questions each, and a discussion board component worth another 50 marks. In total, you need to get 180 marks and above to get an A, and 175 to 179 for an A-.

I’m not sure how are the marks calculated for the exams, since it’s 50 marks for 70 questions, so try to do as well as possible. For the first 2 exams, 60 questions will come from the PowerPoint slides that Dr Chabot uploaded, the other 10 questions come from your NTR 110 lecturer’s notes. For the third exam, all the questions come from Dr Chabot’s slides. Dr Chabot will also upload a study guide for each exams, indicating the topics that will be tested. You need to read the topics that are not in the study guide as well, because questions will come from there too. And sometimes only one question will come out from a topic in the study guide. Actually, just study everything la. Don’t worry, her slides are not as many as compared to Dr Horvath’s,  and not as chim too.

I got 46/50, 44/50 and 45/50 for the exams. The average is 43, 43, 41, and the median is 44, 44, 43, respectively.

As for the discussion board component, it  is super easy! Just watch a video or read an article and comment about it, and comment on someone’s comment the next day, or a few days later. That means you need to post twice in a week, on 2 separate days. Each post is worth 2.5 marks so don’t forget! There was once where I forgot to post the second comment, then I lost 2.5 marks. Because I have no school on Thursday and it was a Good Friday and long weekends, so I enjoyed myself happily and totally forgot about it lol. Anyway, even if you have already exceeded the deadline, just post. My friend told me that even when she posted the second comment after the deadline, she still received the marks!

There’s 1 bonus mark if at least 70% of the cohort or class (can’t remember) do the course evaluation, so remind your friends to do it!

Dr Chabot didn’t teach at all for this class, so I don’t have anything to say about her teaching  xD

My grade for this course: A


NTR 110 Nutrition in Practice

Instructor: Natalie Goh

This is a super easy, but slightly tedious class that you have to take with NTR 109. Almost everyone should be able to get an A for this, unless they make silly mistakes in their lab assignment. 180 – 200 marks to get an A. Same as NTR 109.

On a side note, I think NTR 109 and NTR 110 were meant to pull your grades up after that super difficult NTR 108 😛

Anyway, we had 11 lab assignments to do, total 180 marks. Most labs are worth 15 marks, but there’s one which is 30 marks. They mostly involve answering questions from your NTR 110 lecture notes (which in this case, it’s Ms Goh’s notes), and doing some calculations and your own observation/analysis/evaluation of your diet. Don’t worry, everything will be taught in class and in the notes for you to refer to. The labs are a little tedious and troublesome though haha. I got full marks for the labs, and I know a few people who did too.

Oh and there’s a group presentation on ethnic food, where you’ll talk about that culture’s food, the festival it is used in, and the health problems of people from that ethnic group. It’s fun 😀

The attendance component is worth 20 marks. For Ms Goh, as long as we came to class, regardless of whether we were late or not, she will still mark us as ‘present’.

There’s a bonus point if you email your Teaching Assistant (TA). We had Cheryl Movsesian as our TA. If you have any problems with your labs, you can also email her for help, especially when it’s super late and Ms Goh would probably be asleep by then. It would be in the afternoon in the US. Also, as Cheryl will be marking most of your labs, so it’s good to ask her too! The same goes for other NTR 110 classes.

To be honest, Ms Goh’s teaching is also a little boring. I mean she just teaches like how your teachers in pri/sec/jc would teach. BUT, at least she tries to tell us some funny stories so that we won’t be too bored. And we often finish class early by at least 30 minutes! Once, she even gave us tidbits haha. I prefer her over Sonal Manek! Oh and since NTR 109 exams will have 10 questions from NTR 110 lecture notes, Ms Goh will give us some hints on the questions that will be tested!

My grade for this course: A