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Irwin Chan

Irwin Chan



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I teach Critical Thinking, Ethics, and Political Philosophy. During my PhD at the University of British Columbia, I successfully finished a certificate program in higher education teaching and was certified CIRTL Scholar (CIRTL: Center for Integration of Research, Teaching, and Learning). I am also a Sessional Lecturer at UBC.


PhD, University of British Columbia

MA, University College London

BA, (Hons.) University of Hong Kong

Research Interests

I have conducted a few empirical studies showing that group exams improve student performance, and I have written a paper arguing for the value of group exams and defending the fairness of their use. The paper has been submitted to a journal in December 2020 and is currently under review. 

Recently, I have become more interested in exploring the effective use of formative assessment. I think that the value of assessment lies not primarily in its summative functions (i.e. to assign students with a grade) but in its formative functions (i.e. to provide students with feedback which helps them improve learning). Assignments should therefore be designed in ways that make the most of their formative functions. 

As for disciplinary research, I am currently co-writing a paper with David Silver on the "paradox of forgiveness". According to the paradox, if the wrongdoer has not repented, then forgiving them seems unjustified; but if the wrongdoer has repented, then forgiving them seems pointless--what else is there to be forgiven?

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