Ideas and Exposition Modules


Description

NUS has launched an innovative model of learning and teaching for the University Town's residential colleges. Part of this initiative is the five-module University Town curriculum that includes the Ideas and Exposition Modules. The modules are designed and constructed by staff members from the Centre for English Language Communication (CELC).

CELC contributes two sets of modules to the U-Town curriculum—Ideas and Exposition I (I&E I) for first year college residents and Ideas and Exposition II (I&E II) for second year college residents. Both sets of modules are:


Content Specific

Each I&E module focuses on a particular topic, with readings selected to be accessible to undergraduates. Although each topic reflects the concerns of a particular discipline, all modules introduce students to principles and strategies that will help them write throughout their academic careers.


Rhetorically intensive

Argumentation is the heart of academic expository writing; therefore each I&E module focuses on how to best construct evidence-based arguments that show readers why it is reasonable to problematize a previous analysis and resolve the problem in a particular way.

The I&E I modules help students to produce expository writing that readers will recognize as increasing their understanding of a given topic while the I&E II modules will help students learn and apply five core strategies that underlie successful scholarly research and writing.

I&E I and II classes are capped at 15 students each. Within this small group environment, students collaboratively negotiate alternative responses to problems they raise.


Pre-requisites


I&E I Modules

Students must have passed/been exempted from the NUS Qualifying English Test (QET) or have passed CELC English for Academic Purposes modules.


I&E II Modules

IEM1201% or UTW1001%.



Preclusions


I&E I Modules

IEM1201%, UTW1001% or ES1501%.


I&E II Modules

IEM2201% or UTW2001%.



Module Offerings


I&E I Module Offerings


All I&E modules help students to produce expository writing that readers will recognize as increasing their understanding of a given topic. These modules develop five sets of core strategies that underlie successful scholarly writing in the arts, humanities, social sciences, life sciences, physical sciences, and mathematics:

  • Analyzing how authors problematize what other authors say and how they argue their responses to these problems,
  • Entering the conversations between these authors by problematizing their arguments and arguing why one's problem and response are reasonable with available evidence,
  • Organizing and wording ideas to help readers understand a line of reasoning,
  • Documenting sources so readers can check one's use of other scholars' ideas, and
  • Revising the content, wording, and organization of a paper, as well as surface features such as spelling, punctuation, etc.


Students write three papers in every I&E module.


This writing assignment asks students to (1) summarize an assigned/chosen reading and (2) reflect on ideas in the text that strike them as new and interesting.  The summary should provide the following information:

  • Identify the reading's topic,
  • Show how the reading uses its main claims/points to reach its conclusion(s), and
  • Identify intended readers and the role that the reading's author hopes readers will play if they accept the conclusion(s).


This writing assignment asks students to reflect on ideas in a given body of literature that strike them as new and interesting. Students will choose two readings from the course pack, discuss how the information in the articles relates to each other, how they reinforce or call into question ideas or assertions, and how they suggest new ways of viewing the topic.


This writing assignment asks students to (1) formulate an as-yet unresolved research problem on a chosen/assigned topic, (2) draw conclusions about the problem from their analysis of collected/given data, and (3) argue the contestable aspects of these conclusions. Students will need to focus their research problems so that they are able to fully explicate their arguments within the 1,500-word limit. Students should use both primary sources (sources of data to be analyzed to resolve the problem) and secondary sources (other studies used to show the research problem has not been raised but provide insights into how/if the problem might be resolved). The paper does not need to offer a final resolution, but it should advance the intended readers' understanding of the problem as described by the secondary sources.

UTW1001H: Eating Right(s): The Politics of Food


Dr. Ramanujan, Anuradha


Do you know where your last meal came from? Have you ever wondered how your dietary choices affect communities, species and landscapes worldwide? This interdisciplinary writing course examines some human and ecological impacts of contemporary food-related practices and interactions. Readings from different perspectives focus critical attention on industrial agriculture, factory farming, packaging/distribution networks and international trade agreements in relation to issues of hunger, obesity, food security and environmental sustainability. In small collaborative classes, you will examine the strategies used by individual authors to construct persuasive arguments and learn to incorporate these rhetorical skills into your own writing about food.

UTW1001N: Public Persona and Self-presentation


Dr. Ma. Luisa C. Sadorra


Public persona is a fundamental yet unarticulated aspect of persuasion in spoken discourse. In this course, students will explore and examine speakers' public persona with a focus on interactional and social roles in performed presentations before a public audience. What does it mean to perform a public persona? How is public persona shaped, strengthened, or attenuated? Is there such a thing as an "authentic" public persona? In seminar-type classes and, subsequently, in writing assignments, students will analyse verbal and nonverbal performance of a speaker or speakers in mediated and/or non-mediated contexts, and develop informed views of their public persona.

UTW1001P: Heroes


Dr. Jason Banta

This module will explore the development and transformation of heroic figures across time and cultures, how people have reacted to these figures, and how these figures have been adapted. Students will engage with multiple versions of the "hero," both male and female, from a variety of media (literature, film, television, graphic novel) and scholarly literature on the subject as a means to develop critical writing skills. Some questions we will ask include: What defines a heroic character? What do a society's heroes reflect about its own values? What are the dangers of uncritical acceptance of heroes?
UTW1001S: Women in Film


Dr. Lynette Tan Yuen Ling


This module explores the representation of women in film as a site of ideological struggle. Students will investigate the multi-facetted images of women that appear in selected films and engage in critical debates about the messages that these images convey, as well as the extent to which they are influenced by history and culture. With an understanding of film analysis and the concept of ideology, students will examine how diverse viewpoints are expressed in key scholarly readings and contemporary articles, and develop writing skills that enunciate their own position within the debates.

UTW1001U: The Detective


Ms. Coleen Angove


The detective genre is well positioned to foreground the rhetorical situation in its concern with the generation of meaning. In this module students are invited to identify with the detective who offers a metaphor for the process of reading carefully for information, distinguishing between valid and inadequate evidence, and constructing a credible argument built on knowledge gleaned from careful observations. Students will engage in debates around what constitutes "knowledge", how (and whether) "truth" can be arrived at, and how the detective genre can illustrate these debates through an understanding of epistemology, i.e. the theory of knowledge.

UTW1001W: The Online Politician: The Use of Social Media in Political Communication


Ms Nazerene Ibrahim


Using social media as a political battleground during the 2011 General Election changed Singapore's political landscape indelibly. It exemplified an emerging trend: the increasing use of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat by politicians to gain greater political support and popularity. In fact, using social media for political communication has gone viral in Singapore, Asia-Pacific and beyond. This module explores the dynamics of social media in political communication, with a focus on Singapore, as well as the United States as case studies. Students will analyse the impact of conventional means of political communication as opposed to those using social media.

UTW1001Y: Algorithmic Culture and its Discontents


Dr Shobha Avadhani


We live in the age of Big Data, but where is our relationship with technology leading us? In this writing module, we interrogate the entity that we call the algorithm through the lens of the cultural meanings ascribed to it. We ask how those meanings shape our material reality. Various phenomena will be critically discussed, such as the lure of Netflix, the ubiquity of fitness trackers, and the use of smart technology by states to govern. Ultimately, through deep reading and analytical writing, we will engage with the question of what it means to be human in a technological society.

UTW1001Z: Colour: Theory, meaning and practice


Ms Laetitia Monbec


Colour has fascinated humans for millennia, yet it is poorly understood. What is the symbolic meaning of colours across cultures? How do colours impact our psychological well-being and our consumer choices? From the earth pigments of the prehistoric painters, to the synthetic colours of the Impressionists, colour technology has developed to meet new communication and expression needs and in doing so, a whole repertoire of meanings has evolved. In this module, students will explore scholarly and popular texts from a range of disciplines including visual arts, fashion, psychology, marketing and anthropology to investigate the theory, meaning and practices of colour.


I&E II Module Offerings



Ideas and Exposition 2 modules are the second in a sequence (following Ideas & Exposition 1). Similar to I&E1 modules, I&E2 modules help students improve their academic writing by investigating diverse scholarly perspectives on a specific course topic. The goal of the course is to use research-based writing on that topic as a tool to develop students' rhetorical awareness, habits of inquiry, and writing competencies.

I&E II modules provide students with the opportunity to learn and apply five core strategies that underlie successful scholarly research and writing:

  • Assessing the relevance and reliability of multiple sources,
  • Understanding how theory and method inform and produce knowledge,
  • Identifying and articulating exigent research questions,
  • Synthesizing multiple sources to construct and support hypotheses,
  • Revising one's own thesis, methodological orientation, evidence, and argumentation.

These strategies will be applied as students produce research-based writing

This course guides students through 3 inter-related units. Each unit scaffolds materials and skills that culminate with an original research project in the third unit. Please note that individual courses will reflect specific topical content. The unit breakdown here describes features to be incorporated into all I&E II modules.



In unit 1 students will compile an annotated bibliography to record and organize their sources in the early stages of the research process. The purpose of this assignment is to help students review existing literature on a given topic in order to determine a line of inquiry/research problem.


Drawing on the resources they have developed in the first unit, students will write a brief research proposal describing the topic and scope of their proposed research project


At this point in the semester, students have completed their annotated bibliography and literature review. Building from these previous assignments, they will now undertake their own research project. The research project will ask them to formulate a research problem based on the findings of their two previous assignments. For this unit, students will need to develop a thesis statement that they can support with their own, primary sources. They will use their analysis of these primary sources to converse with the ongoing academic discourse surrounding their top.


Ideas and Exposition II / Faculty

Synopses
UTW2001K: Public Memory, Identity and Rhetoric


Dr Patrick Wade

This research-based writing module examines the intersections of public memory, identity, and rhetoric in contemporary Singapore. In the module, students will consider theories and methodologies drawn from the interdisciplinary field of memory studies and practice applying them in a variety of Singaporean contexts-considering, for example, the Singapore Memory Project, local museums, plays, political speeches, the preservation and transformation of memorial spaces or historical sites such as Bukit Brown cemetery, and more. Students will use their new knowledge of the rhetorical power of memory to embark on their own research project examining course themes.
UTW2001M: Sport and Socialization


Dr Mark Brooke

Involvement in professional and amateur sports through competition, ludic activity or spectatorship is a social experience and thus connected to larger social and cultural formations. Students will engage with sociological research and develop their own critical positions grounded within functionalist, interactionist or critical theory frameworks in one of three areas: (1) Socialization into sport; what factors may influence initiation and continuation? (2) Socialization out of sport; in particular what are the causes and effects of burnout or retirement in competitive sport? (3) Socialization through sport; how are dimensions of identity (embodiment, gender, race, social class) developed?
UTW2001Q : 'What's in a word?' Meaning across cultures


Dr. Wong Jock Onn

It is often assumed that there is a common understanding of what specific words mean. However, can one assume a common understanding across cultures of words describing colour, such as 'red' or 'maroon,' or emotion, such as 'happiness,' 'pleasure,' or 'disgust'? Are forms of address, such as nicknames, or interjections, such as 'damn' or the 'F' word, used in similar ways across cultures? Are there differences between the ways that speakers of different varieties of English understand the meanings of such words? This module explores how meaning is culture-bound, and helps students understand cultural differences in the choice and use of words.
UTW2001R: Discourse, Citizenship, and Society


Dr. Gene Segarra Navera

Citizens participate in society through discourse -- talk and texts. How citizens speak and write about social issues in face-to-face and online platforms therefore warrant careful reflection. This course aims to enable students to examine how individuals enact their citizenship through language and other symbols. Students will investigate how citizens mobilize language, voice, body and other resources to deal with issues pertaining to social differences, processes of exclusion, and participation in local, regional and global contexts, among others. By the end of the module, the students should be able to develop critical awareness of how civic discourse shapes public issues.

UTW2001T : Nobodiness: The Self as Story


Dr. Andrew Yerkes

The sense of having a self pervades everyday experience as well as the stories we encounter in fiction, film, television, and video games. On the other hand, the self has been called into question from various scientific, religious, and philosophical perspectives. This module examines the concept of selfhood, considering the possibility that it may be a fabrication, and examines the positive and negative aspects of positing the existence of selfhood. The module culminates in student research projects that apply critiques of the self from cognitive psychology, Eastern religion, and/or continental and analytic philosophy to a text of their choosing.