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: