Saturday, 23 January 2016

Subject Reviews: UniMelb Sem 2, 2015



So, Semester 2 was over in a blink of an eye. Here are the subject reviews for the subjects I completed in the semester.

I have put all the handbook links above. You can just click on it and it will bring you to the latest 2016 handbook entry.

Let's get straight to it.

Net Communications

Difficulty: 3/5

My Grade: H2A (77)

Reading materials: Only a reader is needed. It is sold in Co-op.

Assessments: Students are required to finish 3 components of assessments to complete the subject, plus a hurdle req. for 75% attendance for tutorials.

(i) Annotated Bibliography (15%), up to 750 words +/- 10%. We were required to summarise, analyse and critique 3 articles from the reader or outside sources. My experience was that it is not easy, I unfortunately did not do very well on this.

(ii) Essay (25%), 1500 words +/- 10%. There are I think 9 topics to choose from based on each week's material. To score, it's better to read up the readings as best as you can well in advance so that you are prepared to write straight away. This essay also requires additional academic research (meaning from journal articles where you have to search for yourself).

(iii) Online Project (60%) which was amazing. This is the only practical hands-on component of this subject. I enjoyed doing the online project very much compared to the other assessments.

Teaching Staff:  My lecturer and tutor were both Dr Bjorn Nansen. He is quite friendly and helpful. I always appreciate his punctuality in classes. I also enjoyed the guest lecture about website building (a little about programming) done by one of the teaching staff from another faculty.

Would I recommend taking this subject?
I personally do not like this subject. I took a total of 5 subjects in media and communications including those from Monash (such as journalism and media studies etc). At first I thought I liked it but after a while I think the communication theories are just not for me. So, I have decided as of 2016 Semester 1, I am switching the remaining of my subjects to 2 Creative Writing, 1 Philosophy and 1 Cultural Studies subject. So, not much of a recommendation, it's not a very challenging subject, so go ahead if you want to take it.

Representation
Difficulty: 5/5

My Grade: H2B (70)

Reading materials: Only a reader is needed. It is sold in Co-op.

Assessments:  Students are required to finish 3 components of assessments to complete the subject, plus a hurdle req. for 9 out of 12 tutorials and 3 out of 3 skills workshops.

(i) Annotated Bibliography (15%), up to 500 words +/- 10%. We were required to provide a description of one of the topics learned in lectures and tutorials so far, and then summarise, analyse and critique 4 articles from the reader or outside sources. This was not as easy as I thought it would be.

(ii) Essay (45%), 2000 words +/- 10%. We get to choose from the materials we studied throughout the semester, such as Bicycle Thieves by Vittorio De Sica, Mother Courage and Her Children by Bertolt Brecht , Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee. 

(iii) Take Home Exam (40%) which was amazing. This is the only practical hands-on component of this subject. I enjoyed doing the online project very much compared to the other assessments.

Teaching Staff: There are many teaching staff for this subject. The main ones are Sarah Balkin and Mark Nicholls (I am dropping the formalities here because it would just be repetitive if everyone has a doctorate here). Then there are some guest lecturers such as Elena Bentaus, Sarah Comyn, Paul Rae, Adam Goatley, Rachel Fensham and Deirdre Coleman. My tutor was Adam. He is a really lively person and is the first tutor/teaching staff who swears every 10 minutes or so in tutorials. He says it's his way of feeling passionate about the subject (I chuckled when he said that).

What did I enjoy the most about this subject?

I think the coolest thing was being able to learn from many different media, like books, dance, film, paintings etc.. I particularly enjoyed writing about Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee in my essay. I did okay for it but it was challenging but at the same time really fun. For dance, we watched Le Sacre du Printemps and Afternoon of the Faun, which were both kind of sick. You have to watch it to know what I am saying. For my Take Home Exam, I analysed a painting on The Crucifixion and a dance called Le Sacre du Printemps (version directed by Pina Bausch). I also liked that there are academic support available for undergraduate students. This was not available when I was back in Monash Malaysia. Of course I utilised it quite a few times. They actually have senior students (3rd year or PhD level) to help you check your assignments.

Would I recommend taking this subject?
Definitely, if you like the arts, and learning about stuff like film, novel, dance, paintings, art forms etc.. I would say this is one of the hardest Arts Foundations subjects among the six. It's pretty hectic and hard for me as an international student who hasn't done much literature before. But certainly very interesting and fun.
Cognitive Psychology
Difficulty: 3/5

My Grade: H2B (71)

Reading materials: Generally no compulsory textbook, just the lecture and tutorial content is tested in exam. Cognitive Psychology by Bruce Goldstein is recommended resource.

Assessments:  Students are required to finish 3 components of assessments to complete the subject, plus three hurdle req. of completed weekly quiz questions on LMS, Quantitative Methods (QM) modules online and also attending 80% of lab classes.

(i) Lab Report (40%) 1500 words +/- 10%.

(ii) Oral Presentation (10%) 15 minutes on a topic chosen from a list. Content is not examinable in exam. We were required to work in teams of 5-6 people.

(iii) Final Exam (50%)
90 questions

Teaching Staff: The lecturers were Meredith Mckague, Phillip Smith, Geoff Saw, Daniel Little and tutor was Ms Frances Lewis. The lecturers each teach a few weeks in a specific area. For example, Phillip taught Attention lectures, Geoff took Judgement, Decision and Reasoning lectures and Meredith taught  quite a number of weeks. I especially liked the one on Cognition and Emotion (the final lecture)

Would I recommend taking this subject?
I had to take this subject as part of the core subject for my major. It's kinda technical and a tad bit boring. But it's certainly a doable subject. Nothing too difficult that one cannot handle. So, if you want to take as a breadth, go ahead if you like the topics.

Personality and Social Psychology
Difficulty: 3/5

My Grade: H2A (75)

Reading materials: Journal articles provided on LMS.
Assessments:  Students are required to finish 2 components of assessments to complete the subject, plus two hurdle req. of attending 80% of lab classes and a debate.

(i) Lab Report (40%) 2000 words +/- 10%.

(ii) Debate (hurdle) 15 minutes on a topic assigned. Content is not examinable in exam. We were required to work in teams of 3-4 people. Quite a significant amount of research is required for one to be able to do well in this.

(iii) Final Exam (55%)
I am not gonna lie. The final exam was so hard. There were even questions that were not in the lecture slides and according to a friend of mine, the answer was said by the lecturer, meaning you would have to write that down to know the answer.

Teaching Staff: My lecturers were Simon Laham, Jennifer Boldero, Luke Smillie and Garry Robins. Same as Cog. Psych,

Would I recommend taking this subject?

As a breadth, yes. It's interesting, very relatable to everyday life. Lectures on topics like Moral Psychology, Relationships and Evolutionary Psychology are quite eye-opening for me. One negative point is that the tutorials are a bit longer than necessary for me and sometimes can be quite boring.


So that's the end of my reviews. I hope you enjoy it and this will benefit in some way towards your subjects selection. I will see you soon in my next post!