Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Blog post #7 Final Reflections

Reflecting upon my first post, I was already aware of the importance of communication in both my personal and working lives. However, it was through the practical practice of the communication with my team project members that had allowed me to begin to understand and experience the real importance of communication, that communication is not just based on theories but it serves an extremely pratical purpose in our lives.

A lesson that left the deepest impression on me was the one on preparing for an interview by predicting the questions that might be asked during the interview. I remembered that I had an interview for an internship following the lesson and had prepared for the interview using the predicted questions that might be asked during the interview from the skill builders. Surely enough, some of the questions that I had prepared for were asked during the interview. Having the chance to prepare for these questions eventually landed me the opportunity of the internship. Theories of communication are eventually effectual only when placed into practice.

More than mere theory, I believe that communication is a skill, which can be perfected only through practise and nothing less. From this module, I had the chance to learn and practise on some of the communication skills that are valuable and would accompany me for the rest of my life. Marketing skills of trying to convince the audience into accepting our proposal during the oral presentation, skills of giving the correct non-verbal cues during presentation or team meeting to the appropriate audience, and skills of writing appropriately by praising others before asking for their help will all be functional to me in future.

Besides that charismatic few who are born communicators, the rest of us will have to constantly hone our communication skills by starting from scratch. As this module ends for all of us, we will be embarking on another whole new beginning on the path of becoming better, more effective communicators as communication is a life long thing.

Last but not least, I would like to thank Ms Goh for your guidance in this project, for the hard work and trouble that you took in vetting all our drafts and presentations. I had really learnt a lot from you in this module.

I would also like to thank my teammates (as tim calls us), Jing yi and Timothy. Although there are times when our opinions differ and things do not work out, I am grateful for the enriching lessons that I have learnt from our team work experience and from the both of you. (Thanks for telling me that handphones can be used as pointers during presentation!)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Blog post #6 Xin Yu's biodata

I am currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Life Sciences with concentration in Biomedical Science from National University of Singapore. With strong interest in drug research, I aspire to become a drug researcher in the near future, embracing the ambition of discovery of cures for the incurable diseases.

I am also passionate about travelling and backpacking, and have been to regional places like Taiwan, Indonesia and others in hope of discovering of cultures and lifestyles different from that of the Singaporean urban lifestyle. I am also embarking on a Summer programme to Australia to experience life as an exchange student, out of my usual comfort zone. Travelling not only broadens my horizons, it also motivates me to develop a willingness to embrace differences in people and cultures, and be passionate about life.

Volunteering also nurtures my passion for life. I volunteer in my free time, caring for the people I believe are underprivileged in society. As a member of the NUS community service club, I am able to make friends who have a slight disability in their intellect and some the elderly. My volunteering experience has enhanced by EQ such that I am a more sensitive and tolerant person.

I also enjoy music and play the Chinese instrument, Pipa from my Secondary School and Junior College days

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Blog post #5 Survey project reflections

Team work of trying to save the leaning tower from collapse

Reflecting back on my experience on report writing, I felt that it was definitely an enriching experience. For this module, there are a lot of tight datelines that we have to adhere to. Assignments like minutes for the meeting, project proposals, project survey drafts have to be finished within a short time frame and that requires adequate communication and cooperation of my group mates. Slowly, I found out that I was having trouble with getting sufficient cooperation from one of my team mate due to insufficient communication and very different styles of working.

During the process of report writing, I learnt that having clear communication with my team mates is not easy. It is important to be diplomatic and control my emotions when I am working with my team mates, even when conflicts occur. I also learnt to be firm and phrase my ideas logically such that I can convince both my teamates and readers of the report that my proposal is persuasive.

Building interpersonal relationships in a team is crucial as makes communication easier for work matters. Having small talks with my team mates helps in bonding of team members and build interpersonal relationships. For my team, we voice out any disagreements such that negative emotions do not accumulate causing bad relationship to develop.

An important lesson learnt from being a team player was that I must be open to ideas from my other team mates, even though I do not agree with them. During the report writing process, my team mate and I have a rather different style of working and that resulted in some conflicts which we voiced out and tried to resolve. As a team player, it is also important to strive to be a consistent and perform the best of my abilities. If I do not give concerted efforts at my work, my team members are likely to be affected by it and this may drag the team down. It is therefore important for each of us to provide our own expertise in the project, such that we can achieve much more as a team.

In this project, research was mainly done via a survey instead of the usual online research in lab reports. For my group, it was not an easy task as we had two batches of survey to be disseminated to the professors and students. We faced difficulty in getting the professors to do our survey by sending emails and had to do so face to face. I learnt that we must always have a back up plan and be flexible in dealing with our work. I also learnt that it is not easy to carry out a survey and that all team members have to work hard in disseminating the survey forms such that analysis of results can be done.

I learnt to write report succintly and effectively such that my message can be conveyed clearly through the report. I also learnt to support my data with graphs and references such reliability can be reflected in my report. I also learnt to phrase my arguments in a logical and cohesive manner such that it is compelling and will be able to convince the reader.

I would hope that there would be more communication and bonding such that stronger interpersonal relationships can be built among my team mates such that we can all enjoy the process of working together and emerge as effective communicators. Also, I would hope that a everyone in the group can have a positive and consistent working attitude in the oral presentation to come, ensuring that our project done can be of substance and style.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Blog post #4 Evaluating intercultural behaviour

This incident was taken from a short clip I saw on TV mobile on a bus. The clip was shown a few years back. Two malay middle-aged women were travelling on a bus when an obese chinese boy wearing a secondary school uniform boarded the bus. As the boy was obese, he was having difficulty trying to squeeze his way to his seat. One of the malay woman was quick mock at the boy to her friend in malay loudly. "Look at that boy, he is so fat he cannot even walk properly. If it was my boy I would have asked him to diet. See... he is even having trouble sitting down."

The chinese boy sat down in the seat directly in front of the 2 malay women after some difficulty squeezing through the narrow aisle of the bus, while the malay women continued meanly in malay, " Wah, he even occupies two seats with his size, why did the bus conductor not ask him to pay double bus fares?" With that, both malay women started to snigger loudly. One of them then came up with an idea to make fun of the obese boy. She purposely dropped her Ez-link card on the floor in front of him, so that the boy will have to pick up the card for her. Given the boy's size, it will definitely be difficult for him to do so. As expected, the boy had much difficulty trying to pick up the Ez-link card for the women. After picking up the card, the boy turned back and spoke in fluent malay,"Aunty, here is your Ez link card. Please be more careful not to drop it the next time."

The malay women were horrified to actually realise that the obese boy can actually understand and speak fluent malay and that even though he knew that they were actually making fun of him, he did not lose his temper at them. They quickly pressed the bell and alighted at the next stop.

It is a cultural norm that all of us tend to sterotype people according to their skin colours. Just because a person look like a chinese, he/she will most likely speak only Mandarin and cannot speak Bahasa Melayu or Tamil. I find that this is a mistake that we should not make in a multi-racial environment like Singapore. In this episode, the two malay women should not have mocked at the secondary school boy, even if he did not understand malay as it is unpolite and mean to make fun of someone. However, the boy displayed excellent EQ skills by controlling his temper and showing the aunties that they should not make fun of him.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Project proposal

Proposed title: An analysis on NUS Science Faculty students’ opinions on introduction of E learning in NUS.

Research question: Will introduction of E-learning increase NUS Science Faculty students’ learning efficiency?

Hypothesis: Providing E learning will increase NUS Science Faculty students’ learning efficiency.

Problem statement: The objective of this study is to analyze if E learning provided by NUS will increase Science undergraduates learning efficiency.

Audience/ readers: NUS Science students who are interested in the introduction of E-learning, Vice Provost of NUS who is in charge of undergraduate studies and any other audience who is interested in investigation the feasibility of E-learning.

Tentative Purpose statement: Inform and convince the Vice Provost of NUS who is in charge of undergraduate studies about the feasibility of E learning. At the same time, to reflect on the science undergraduates’ sentiments about E learning.

Project methodology: We will be proposing the introduction of a week of E learning in the 13 weeks of NUS curiculum to test out the effectiveness of E learning in helping NUS Science students before revising the curiculum to decide whether more E learning will be introduced.

Survey methodology: We will be conducting a survey on a sample size of 120 students from various science departments like chemistry, life sciences, physics, pharmacy and mathematics. At the same time, we will be surveying 5 professors from each major. We will conduct a stratified random sample survey. We will do both an online survey and a distribution of surveys randomly in science so that we can find a stratified random sample of science students from all majors.

Please click here to do the survey for science students:

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Blog post #3 Potential Research Project Topics

eLearning has been widely adopted by many universities locally and globally, and even in NUS, students studying under the Communication and New Media Programme had their first eLearning experience early this year. eLearning week is a programme that brings learning online. For a week in the semester, the lecturers post their lectures and tutorials online instead of the traditional face-to-face teaching. Video conferencing may also be applicable to replace face to face sessions. Students will complete the assignments by the dateline posted and is not required to come to school during eLearning week.

The benefits of the eLearning are aplenty. For a few weeks in 2004, Sars outbreak had caused classes to be interrupted in local schools. In times of emergency and epidemics, like during the Sars period in 2004 when classes were forced to be interrupted, eLearning would then play a major part in ensuring that students are able to continue learning online.

Also, eLearning also makes learning flexible. Even if the student is overseas, no single lesson will be missed since it can be assessed online. Also, the pace of learning can be controlled by oneself according to the student’s preference. Independent learning is also promoted to train students to learn and think independently.

Local schools like National Technological University and Singapore Polytechnic have included eLearning to their course curriculum to integrate online learning make their students learn more independently. As such, I propose the introduction of the eLearning week to NUS Science course due to the above listed benefits. The research question I propose will be: Do students in Science Faculty at NUS support the introduction of an eLearning week to its curriculum?

The objective of my study is to determine if a majority of students in the Science Faculty support introduction of eLearning week. My aim will also be to present a report on the responses of the students in Science Faculty at NUS towards introduction of the eLearning week, to curriculum administrators in NUS science course.
E learning on the wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elearning

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Blog post #2 Interpersonal Conflicts

B has a friend, A and they had been good friends since B's secondary school days. Coming from a complicated family, A had always felt insecure about herself. She was also irresponsible in her work.

Once, B and A were working part time together at a retail shop. A was irresponsible and would always go for long toilet breaks, leaving B to tend the shop. As one of them had to be inside the shop to tend it, they had to have staggered lunch breaks separately. Usually, A would fight to go first and then come back late (in an hour when they were only supposed to have half an hour lunch breaks). Moreover, there was once when she came back late, but still telling B that she wanted to shop at the other shops as there was a dress she wanted to buy.

A also had a habit of showing-off her branded belongings to my sister, claiming that they were gifts from her many suitors and boyfriend. A had expensive sweaters that costed a few hundred dollars, handbags that costed a few thousand dollars, and even keychains of a few hundred dollars. She also always claimed that her 20 year old boyfriend is extremely rich and often sponsors her travel trips with him to places like whole of Europe, for 3 months. B, however, was certain that she was lying as whenever her group of friends asked for a picture of the boyfriend, she would reject, claiming that "my computer just crashed, all data gone". No one in the group of friends ever saw "her boyfriend" even though they had been close friends for more than 7 years. Everyone asserts that A was lying but did not confront her. B is worried that A spends all the money she work on branded products.

B is afraid that confronting A would definitely sour their friendship since A is extremely defensive and has strong pride that would crumble if her lie of 7 years had been contradicted. What do you think B should do in this case?