Summer 2017

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COM 350 Introduction to the Age of Information

Instructor: Devan Rosen

Super easy and slack class, just do your work, come to class every lesson and you can get an A for sure. I think everyone got A for this class lol. You need 93 and above to get an A.

At the beginning of class, Dr Rosen told us that he knows that we are all ‘A’ students. We just have to confirm it through our work. And he told us that it is very hard to prove him wrong lol 

So for this class, there are 2 papers, 30% each. For the first paper, we had to keep a media diary for 4 days. For the first 2 days, we are supposed to record (any format) our usage for our communication/technological devices, such as your phone, computer, TV, a particular app on your phone or stop browsing internet for non-academic purposes. Then for the next 2 days, give up whatever communication/technological devices we want and record our experiences. He will give some helping questions; around 10 I think so you can record according to that. 1000 words minimum. Very easy lah, there’s no right or wrong. I got 30/30 and everyone seemed to get 30/30 too.

For the second paper, we have 2 options. The first option is to write an analysis of any topic you like, as long as it is centered around new media and its effect on us or the media environment. Need to cite 5 sources and they can be such as journal articles, news, videos, articles from websites etc. The second is to compare two important news issues (one international, one local) across several different mediums, such as face-to-face interaction, print, broadcast, or the Internet. You need to get others’ opinion of the issue (can be email), and also compare 2 online communities. This option is more complicated, the first one is better. Both options also require 1000 words minimum. The second paper is more demanding than the diary one, but still, it is super easy to get full marks. Tbh, I didn’t put in much effort for this paper, but still got full marks :p Those around me got 30/30 too. Very easy one; you need to purposely write rubbish then can get less than 30 lol

Participation and In-class activities are worth 10% and 30% respectively. How it works is that every lesson, you need to get into a discussion in a group/pair, write your answers and names down on a piece of paper, submit to him, and that’s your points for both participation and in-class activities for the day. No marks if you are absent. Btw sometimes some people do do the discussions alone, but he will notice so try to find a group or someone to work with.

For this class, the marks are like free giveaway. If you didn’t get an A because you keep skipping classes, it’s really silly leh.

Anyway, about Dr Rosen, he is nice and friendly, not the funny type though; reminds me of his good friend Dr Stefanone but Dr Rosen is nicer haha. As for how his classes are like, it’s half lecturing, half discussion (with others and sharing with the whole class). Some parts of the class will remind you of COM 240 and COM 125 where he talked about mass media and its impact on our society, and also about the Internet. But you will learn many new stuff too, such as privacy on the Internet, legal issues, Gorvernment surveillance, and also thinking about the Internet in a different light, such as whether it is for profit or to benefit the society, or even come up with new ideas for an app or plan to help people better manage their time spent on tech devices. And sometimes he also shows interesting and useful videos too. Even though the class is largely about tech, media and society, it is not that boring as what some people think. Anyway please take this class, especially if the syllabus remains the same! 🙂

My grade for this course: A


PSY 322 Abnormal Psychology

Instructor: Stephen Tiffany

Most people got a B+ for this class, though another 1/3 of the students also got A and A-. This is after he added 2% to our overall because we managed to most of us completed the course evaluation. On top of that, he also made some adjustments to the quizzes, which I’ll explain later. Quite a content-heavy class, but psy students told me this is normal for psy classes :p Anyway this class is still a lot easier than PSY 311 😀

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In this class, there are 4 exams, which he will select the best 3 to account for 80% of your grades, unannounced quizzes (15%), which he drop the lowest one (later he modified it a little), and finally, attendance (5%). For attendance, just come to class lor. He takes attendance every lesson except on quiz and exam days.

As for the quizzes, initially it was unannounced, so that was the case for our first 2 quizzes. The first quiz took place in during the first week of class. He tests stuff from his lecture slides. He will give you a cue card to write your answers down. A lot of us were unprepared for it even though we know there are quizzes, but he told us he will mark it leniently. You can get a maximum of 3 marks. Most people got 1. Same for me too. For quiz 2, we were better prepared and many people got 3. Same for me as well. There were many 2s too. By this period, we already did our exam 1 and 2 (not very good) and I think some students tried to ask him if he can give extra credit or how will much will he curve our overall scores, etc. Anyway, Dr Tiffany modified the last 2 quizzes; they were no longer unannounced and we just had to come up with 2 MCQ questions – 1 from textbook, 1 from lecture slides, and write down 4 possible answers. I think everyone got a 3 for this, unless you forget your question/answers.

For the exams, it’s 40 MCQs, 20 from textbook, 20 from lectures. Some of the questions tested can be found in both lectures and textbooks. He will pick the best 3 (80% of overall) out of 4 exams. I said lectures because sometimes he will test 1 or 2 questions from what he said in class, not just from the slides, which cannot be found anywhere, such as further explanations. He doesn’t test on the videos he show in class. He will also test on sections that he did not teach in class, such as PTSD and Dementia, but usually only 1 or 2 questions. Average grades for the exams are 32/40, 34/40, 31/40, 32/40, but still, many people got 34 and above. You need at least 35 for each of the 3 exams to get an A-. I got 32, 32, 33, 33.  

Actually, the exams are not that difficult; but you have to read like at least 120 pages for each exam and only 20 questions will come out. This means that there is a higher chance of you forgetting the stuff that will be tested in the exams. Also, I find that the content in the textbook is quite wordy and technical/medical, so it wasn’t that of an easy read for me, especially those sections on biological causes and treatments. So study everything; he tests on definitions, which treatment is the most effective, significant and new findings from research, mostly important stuff. He also tests on not so obvious stuff such as background info of the disorder, but only 1 or 2 questions. So far he hasn’t tested on the course and prevalence of the disorders, diagnostic criteria (though of course you need to know what is the disorder about) and he doesn’t test directly on statistics, but he has asked whether a particular disorder affects more men or women.  

Lectures are quite similar to the textbook. So if you understand the lectures you can get a B. But if you want to do better, you have to read the textbook as it has a lot of extra info. Anyway most people still do well so study hard for this class!

Dr Tiffany is nice, friendly and approachable! Students like to come up to him to ask questions, not just about the lecture content, but also to learn more about the disorders 😀 Also, idk why, but I get this fatherly-figure vibe from him haha. Like he has a caring personality or something. Whatever he explains is very easy to understand, at least when compared to the content in the more complicated textbook lol. The videos that he showed are very informative. It makes you understand more about people who have those disorders. Oh and did I mention that he will only upload the slides a day after the lecture? So be prepared to do a lot of copying or typing, especially if you want to start studying early or to study for the unannounced quizzes.

This is the first time PSY 322 is offered here, so lucky you if you have the chance to take it again. 🙂

My grade for this course: B+