PL4880G (Sem 1, AY2013/14)

By: Alan
Module taken in Sem 1 AY2013/14
Positive Psychology

Lecturer(/s): Dr Grace Lee

What is it about?: You learn about what makes people happy, and what it means to be happy. Topics include Money and hedonics, subjective well-being vs psychological well-being, optimism, self-esteem, positive relationships, mindfulness and resilience, affective forecasting and choice.

How’s the workload?: One 3-h seminar style lecture a week. One weekly thought question (50 word limit, based on readings for that week, before she has taught it), 3 essays (500 words each), two class presentations, one closed book final exam.
It may seem like a lot of components, but it turned out quite manageable. The annoying thing was that the standard for presentations was set really high, so expect to put in a lot of time making your presentation very creative and entertaining. Oh yes, presentations are not supposed to be the standard use-Powerpoint and just talk for 15 minutes kind, needs to be creative and different.

How difficult is it?: The topics are really manageable and easy to understand, and it’s fairly intuitive at times. (e.g. being optimistic leads to a happier life). Essays may be difficult due to her very specific requirement of essay style that will probably be quite different from what you’re used to writing. My scores for my essay were 11, 14, 17 – you can see the learning process here.
Presentations as I said are quite competitive, so it pays to have someone creative in your group.
E.g. My group made a short film for one of our presentations:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCegYKMjXJo

Miscellaneous Tips/Exam: Listen to lectures. She actually tested quite a few things that she exclusive mentioned in her lectures (not in readings, not even in lecture slides so you have to copy down).
Her exam questions were very…. smoke-able, at least for the essay portion. I’ll try not to reveal the exact wording as I heard she doesn’t change her questions much, but it’s basically an applied sort of question like ‘imagine you are ABC and you are telling a group of people how to lead a happier life’.

Should you take it?: Yes. Workload may seem heavy but it’s really quite manageable. The topics you learn are quite relevant and applicable for your life too – teaching you how to pursue the right things in life to maximize your happiness. Go for it!

Predicted grade: B/B+
With my low initial essay scores, and my group’s second presentation was only average or subpar, I am expecting an average score. Depends on how well I smoked in my final exam I think.

Actual grade: A-
Ah well, a pleasant surprise. I didn’t do well for my individual essays (At first), but I guess my group presentations were more well-received by my prof than I thought. Finals weren’t that difficult, just smoke and you can’t be that far off.

Retrieved from Alan’s blog