The participants for “Hashtag History” consisted of the 150 undergraduate students registered for the three sections of World Civilizations I for which I was the instructor in Spring 2017. For most of them, my course was their first undergraduate history class. Fifty-five students enrolled in the largest section; the smallest section contained forty students. I did not collect specific demographic data for individual students, but the composition of the classes in terms of age, gender, age, race, and religious affiliation was similar to that of the program.
In general, UB-SIM courses have more women than men; the program’s ratio is about three women to every two men. The students are typically between the ages of 18 and 24, though occasionally a younger student enters the program straight from their O-Level exams or an older student returns from the workforce. The program is as racially and religiously diverse as the rest of Singapore. Chinese, Malay, Indian, and multiracial students were present in the class alongside international students (as noted in Study Contexts, roughly 10% of this PEI’s student population is composed of international students). If their religious leanings were akin to the trends reported for youth in Singapore, about 23% of students had no religious affiliation. The remaining students, in order of prevalence of religion, were most likely Buddhist/Taoist, Christian, Muslim, or Hindu (about 1% may ascribe to another spiritual/religious tradition).
The students’ experiences of history courses at the undergraduate level were equally mixed. Based on students’ responses to an end of semester survey completed for my course, about 6.62% of students had taken World Civilizations II and 8.09% of students completed the American history and diversity course prior to taking my class; 7.35% of students had completed both modules. Nearly 78% of students reported that this was their first history module. This suggests that the vast majority of students in the course had not taken a history class since their completion of the upper secondary history curriculum at the age of 14 or 15.
Table 1. Number/percentage of students and the undergraduate history course(s) completed
|This was my first UGC (“Undergraduate College”) module.||106||77.94%|
|World Civ II||9||6.62%|
|World Civ II & American Diversity||10||7.35%|