ES2007s Blog Post 6: Looking back at the semester..

As I said in my post about my last lecture, it was fitting that I took up ES2007S during my last semester. It is the best course I have taken during my 4 years at NUS.

Taking this course seemed jinxed as I had first taken it in the 1st semester of my 3rd year, attended a class and had to drop it because of excess workload, almost took it in my 1st sem this year and eventually managed to take it now to complete my ULR requirements. And thank god I persisted!

There are a lot of things I liked about the module and I will try to narrow it down to the top 3 –

1)Learning openness: A big part of my learnings during the course has been thanks to Brad – who was brilliant as a lecturer. Brilliant – not because he lectured/taught multiple concepts, but because he showed us that you have to be a good student if you want to be a good teacher. At every point, I felt like Brad was a student rather than our teacher.

Most importantly, it was great to see the openness and flexibility that was on display. One example that didn’t quite work was Dropbox. Inspired by the peer teaching on collaborative workspaces, Brad readily decided to try Dropbox out for the course. And soon, we realized that was probably not the right move thanks to the rule the lecturer plays in the initial work. It made sense for groups to use amongst themselves but not as the workspace of choice for interactions with the lecturer. It was something that didn’t work but we all learnt a lot about openness. There were a 100 other things that did, by the way, but the process with which we tried this new idea, didn’t quite succeed and then went about fixing it was a great learning.

2)Learning to take feedback: If I had to look back at my university life in general, learning to take myself less seriously has been one of the top learnings. I’ve noticed this to be common among many great men like Warren Buffett, Mark Twain etc. These are/were guys who were always laughing at themselves which made them very open to feedback.

Over the last few weeks, I observed many barriers break among classmates as we gave each other loads of improvement points. While it may not have been easy in the early stages, the environment class was one of candor and honesty and everybody knew that the intent was to help the other. I have always believed giving feedback requires a lot of care as it is easy to ‘find fault’ but takes a lot more effort to present in a way that sounds acceptable. And I think we all got better at both giving and receiving feedback and learnt from each other during the course..

3)It’s all about the people: Brad had a massive part to play in this course as it is a class room teaching course at the end of the day. And it was thanks to his openness, encouragement and flexibility that the class environment was one of a lot of fun and laughter. Leadership is about taking care of the environment and that was definitely taken care of..

Having said that, an equally important part was played by the people. And every one of my classmates were fantastic in adding to the experience. Here’s what I remember from each of them –

Clement: Clear strong points of view, lovely way of summarizing observations and learning and very good leadership and learning ability.

Diana (1): Always a quiet presence, very receptive to feedback and a smile.

Emily: Very genuine presentation style, passionate about her points of view and applying blog feedback by editing blog posts from time to time.

Glenn: Excellent team mate, very good with technology and prompt in getting work done.

Godwin: Lots of warmth, care, genuine-ity and friendship!

Goh Chern/Diana (2): Champion speaker, very honest, open and our ‘little miss sunshine’.

Jasper: Fabulous team mate, excellent design sense and a great person to get stuff done with.

Jie Ren: A heart person, very modest and dependable.

Jolene: A very passionate presenter, always smiling and open.

Joshua: An amazing actor, excellent interviewer and sales person to be.

Kian Leong: Excellent presenter, quiet yet insightful and always very clear about his points of view.

Kun Lin: Great sense of humor, very receptive to feedback and very focused.

Nicole: Very warm and friendly presence, bubbly and easily excitable!

Pei Rong: Passionate conservationist, very persistent with questions and great with work.

Weiying: My star teammate throughout, very dedicated and extremely sweet.

Zhisheng: A great story teller, warm and very straightforward.

It’s all about the people really. Thank you guys for making it special!

Added thanks to a special request from Clement that I could not refuse.

Rohan: Ever having creative ideas, and always willing to share his point of view, so as to help others improve. A clear leader with many abilities for others to emulate. And above all, someone whom I am proud to say I know.

Did I also mention that Clement is very kind with compliments??

0 thoughts on “ES2007s Blog Post 6: Looking back at the semester..”

  1. Hi Rohan,I really have to agree with all 3 points raised. Indeed, as I looked back, we have all learnt a great deal about being receptive to new ideas, taking and giving critiques through our blogs, and everyday classroom interactions as well as working with each other.I am really glad that I was part of your learning journey in NUS and will always look upon you as an example to follow in terms of attitude, creativity and capability. I am also happy that I have some strong points for you to mention, but you seem to have missed someone important in the list – yourself. As such, I would like to suggest that you append: “Rohan: Ever having creative ideas, and always willing to share his point of view, so as to help others improve. A clear leader with many abilities for others to emulate. And above all, someone whom I am proud to say I know.”

  2. Dear Clement,That is SO sweet. Thank you so much!Appended it as per your request. You were a big part of my classroom experience – partly because we were always sitting close by and partly because you also made the effort to catch up for food and the like.We’ll be in touch every monday for a every long time. Until next them then,Rohan

  3. Dear Rohan, Wow, thanks for giving a summary for all of us! I strongly agree with all the 3 points you have brought up. During this course, not only have we made a bunch of really amazing and awesome friends, we have together make mistakes, hear feedbacks and learn from each other! Most importantly, this will not be possible without Brad, who is there not only as a lecturer, not as a teacher, but someone like a friend who has far lots of great experience to share with us. In fact, I believe most of us will always remember the experience and learning tips he has given us. Everybody in this course has made me realised that learning is not only about mugging and dropping down notes, but to speak, listen, dare to make mistakes and learning from it. Rohan, you definitely have added on to the liveliness in class. I would like to make a short summary of you too: “Rohan: Motivational speaker and outstanding leader. Confident young man always with a great smile. Never hesitate to help a friend in need.Someone who will make a difference in many people lives.”Cheers!

  4. Hi Rohan,It is so sweet of you to give a short description of everyone! Thanks to your creative way of introduction in your elevator pitch, your face always pops up in my mind when someone mentions Lord of the rings! I am really amazed by your knowledge of almost everything, I guess it is because of the exposures you had from your travelling and life experiences. I have learnt a lot from you. Thank you, Rohan! I am glad that you finally managed to take up this module. Maybe it is fate that you have to take this module with us! Also, I do agree with you that majority of the credits should go to Brad. It is his interactive way of conducting the lesson that brings us together and drill the different aspects of communication skills into our mind.All the best to you, Rohan. And as what Brad always say at the end of the lesson, I’ll see you in cyber space!On an additional note, thanks for your short and simple yet inspiring teachings through your email and blog post.

  5. Dear Diana,Thank you so much for your sweet note and description. It means a lot. I also agree with your pointer about learning. Indeed, learning happens only when we are open to trying and falling in the process.Dear Emily,Thank you for your wonderful note as well. Indeed, I’m glad I took this module and took it with our class! And I agree, we will see each other in cyberspace and I’m very glad you have found this blog useful! All the very best!CheersRohan

  6. Dear Rohan,Thank you very much for the comments. It is lovely to have you in the class. You are always creative and full of ideas and I enjoy the constructive feedback that you always give to everyone in the class. Personally, I am motivated by you to be a better presenter and communicator. With that, I wish you success in your career.

  7. This is definitely a great reflection post!I agree that everyone in the class played an important role and I’m glad everything turned out well. This might be due to the fact that this module is optional. Thus, everyone come to class with a very positive mindset and the willingness to learn. I can’t imagine taking this class with people who share the opposite mindset. This makes me reflect on the proposal recommendation of making communication modules compulsory. I feel that if there are students who simply just attend such classes just to complete the graduation requirements, learning in class will be less effective. On the other hand, NUS wants to help as many students as they can, perhaps by forcing students to take communication modules. My guess is that there will not be a solution anytime soon. Last but not least, Rohan you had been a great classmate! I really learn a lot from all of your inputs in class, be it from your presentation or introducing applications like dropbox. Thank you and all the best in your career!Cheers,Godwin

  8. Dear Godwin,You’ve got a lot of great points in there! Let’s hope for the best.Thank you so much! You’ve been fantastic as well. And indeed, all the very best! CheersRohan

  9. Hi Rohan! I couldn’t agree more with you that it is all about the people who have helped to make this course what it is – an enjoyable learning experience. Thank goodness you persisted and still decided to take this module. Though I didn’t get to work with you much through the various assignments, it still has been a pleasure getting to know you. You have been such a wonderful classmate to have! Thank you for being you! ~nicole

  10. Well, Rohan, I guess we could say that the old cliche, “Third times a charm,” holds for this, your most recent attempt to take ES2007S. Thanks for your persistence!And charm it has been, as you point out in a finely detailed and exuberant reflective post — thanks as you say to the people involved. You guys all rock!Of course, I appreciate the accolades you present here, but my act of facilitating the learning in our G8 was made very easy because of the “openness,” enthusiasm and extensive “intelligences” (in Gardner’s multiple intelligences sense) of the personalities populating the group. This semester was exactly your time to join us, Rohan. In this final post for us I applaud many things, from your boiling the learning down to three key points to the fond and creative reflection on your classmates. But I would be remiss if I didn’t point out to you that your avid participation in all discussions, online and in class, has been one of the key factors in making our class what it was. Yes indeed. I often felt like I was in a room brainstorming with 17 young colleagues. What a joy! Which reminds me of the Paul McCartney lyric from the song “The End,” the last song ever recorded collectively by the Beatles: ‘And in the end, the love you get is equal to the love you give.’ Such wisdom. And in the end of ES2007S, Rohan, it has been what you and the others have given of yourselves that has made the learning, like the teaching, easy for each of us.With that in mind, I owe you a hearty thanks, and I wish you the very best in your continuing journey on life’s amazing path.

  11. Dear Nicole,Indeed, it’s a pity we didn’t get much of a chance to work with each other but I somehow felt we were always in touch – probably because we sat close by! And thank you for all the Bintan tips. You made an awesome classmate!All the very best!Rohan

  12. Dear Brad,Thank you for your wonderfully deep post.There is so much in that that it will take a couple of read’s before I can digest all that you said. It was a pleasure all through. Thank you for making it so! And here’s to staying in touch!CheersRohan

  13. Hey Rohan,You definitely have been an encouragement to me and it’s been great knowing you. Definitely inspiring as well.All the best in your coming years!

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