/ NUS , EDUCATION , CS4236 , EC1301 , HR2002

NUS Fourth Year | First Semester in Review

This semester has been the lightest so far with just 3 modules. Of course, including FYP on top of the 3 modules evens everything out.

Here are the module reviews for CS4236, EC1301 and HR2002.

CS4236 - Cryptography Theory and Practice

CS4236 focuses on the various forms of ciphers and also on cryptanalysis. I took this module as a technical elective (depth). Basically you will learn deep into how messages can be encrypted and how we can break encrypted messages. I must say it is a pretty interesting module, albeit a rather difficult one.

I was surprised there are no tutorials, but it seems that some level 4000 modules have no tutorials. Rather, the lecturer goes through some past year questions when he gets the time. There is certainly some math required for this module. The notes are comprehensive enough but remember to read them over and over again. I found myself learning different tidbits each time I went through them.

The module is graded based on 3 take-home assignments, a mid-term test, a group project and a final exam. The weightage is as follows:

  • Assignment 1: 6%
  • Assignment 2: 7%
  • Assignment 3: 7%
  • Term-test (Quiz): 20%
  • Project: 20%

I really liked the assignments as they were hands-on (beware: the first 2 took some considerable time as well). The mid-term test was easy. The group project was incredibly time-consuming in which we built a mock-up of a smart contract system modelled after Ethereum.

The final exam was easy as well. Practicing past year papers is key to be able to do well as the final paper is generally more about application of the techniques/concepts. Both the mid-terms and final exams were open book which was of great help!

Grade Obtained: A-

Difficulty (out of 5): ☆☆☆☆

EC1301 - Principles of Economics

I took EC1301 to satisfy my University Level Requirements (ULR) and I am glad I took it. Since I have taken Economics in JC (and forgotten all about it), it was more of a refresher. I like Economics and I think it is pretty useful as well.

The module was graded as follows:

  • Pre-Lecture Quizzes: 3%
  • Post-Lecture Quizzes: 7%
  • Lecture Attendance: 5%
  • Tutorial Attendance: 10%
  • Midterm: 25%
  • Final Exam: 50%

Before a lecture, there will be a short MCQ-based pre-lecture quiz on IVLE. Similarly, after lecture there is a post-lecture quiz. During lecture (for purposes of attendance taking), there is a in-lecture qSMS quiz. This, in total, accounts for 15% of the grade. Pretty easy to capture this I guess.

Similarly, tutorial attendance and participation gives you another 10%. Midterm was MCQ-based. The questions look easy, but some are really tricky and hence, makes it easy for careless mistakes.

The final exam consists majorly of MCQs, followed by some short, structured questions as well.

The module is taught by 2 professors: Dr Kelvin and Prof Mun. I particularly liked Dr Kelvin’s lectures. He really made micro-economics interesting and his notes are perfect with just the necessary amount of information.

Overall, a great module. Pretty easy for those with A-Level Economics background.

Grade Obtained: A

Difficulty (out of 5): ☆☆

HR2002 - Human Capital in Organizations

HR2002 is a compulsory module for all Engineering students and is worth 3MCs. It basically talks about topics such as globalisation, industrial relations, organisational structure and culture, career etc.

The lecture notes are short and might seem obvious at times too. But going to the lecture reveals what the lecturer actually wants to convey which goes beyond the notes. Lectures are pretty interesting as, Senior Lecturer Lowe Joo Yong often shares his personal experiences, stories etc.

The module is graded as such:

  • CA1 Learning Contribution: 15%
  • CA2 Group Project: 35%
    • Part 1 - Presentation: 15%
    • Part 2 - Report: 20%
  • Final Exam: 50%

Learning contributions comes from tutorial participation. Group project is based on one of the lecture topics, where you interview industry professionals, gather insights and then write a short paper on the findings and your analysis. The project also involves a 20-30 mins classroom presentation.

Final exam involves writing 2 essays which are reflective in nature. See the past year papers for examples.

Overall a very manageable module, though I didn’t score as expected. Had to S/U this one. I’m suspecting a steep bell-curve.

Grade Obtained: B (S/Ued)

Difficulty (out of 5): ☆☆

Just one more sem to go for graduation! Looking forward to my next module review! ;)

Till next time, cheers.

Harish V