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.

UTW1001A: Identities and Ideas in Modern Market-Driven Societies


Ms Marissa E Kwan Lin


'Innovation,' 'growth' and 'development' are some buzzwords shaping our understanding of social realities. What do they reveal about the values upheld in modern consumer societies? In this module, we examine how themes like competition, self-responsibilization, self-accountability, rational profit-and-loss thinking and the constant impetus towards self-improvement operate as predominant frames in the conduct our daily lives. We explore how the identities and ideas of living in modern market-driven societies are constructed in relation to consumer lifestyles, sport, life-long learning and public housing. Students will develop writing skills enunciating varied points of view and arguments associated with the topics discussed.

UTW1001C: At the Edges of the Law: Ethics, Morality and Society


Dr Zhou Ziqian Jan


What should be the reach of the arms of the law? Most find it unproblematic if a state punishes distributors of child pornography; but what if the punitive muscle of the state is also used to enforce public morality? Can the law intrude on the private lives of citizens? Should euthanasia be legal? In this module we shall be putting these and other pressing issues that are at the centre of political debate to critical enquiry. This module will appeal to students interested in the study of applied ethics, the criminal law, public policy and socio-political theory.


UTW1001D: Self, Society, and the Digital Tsunami era


Dr James D. Stephen


Cyberbullying, cyber-racism, online falsehoods. These are some of the phenomena that can be observed online. In an era of overwhelmingly diverse viewpoints within social media platforms, how has digital communication shaped and changed the way we communicate and respond to each other as human beings? Have we compromised more than we have gained? Drawing upon perspectives from various disciplines, this module helps students explore how opinions and ideas are formed, debated and transmitted in an age where human interaction is constantly mediated by technology.


UTW1001E: From Human to 'Posthuman'


Dr Victor Cole


This writing course considers the eternal question of what it is to be human in relation to the possibilities of transforming ourselves through genetic, neuro-cognitive or cybernetic technologies. How significantly would individuals, populations or the entire species have to be changed to warrant use of the term "posthuman" in describing them? How desirable would it be to transcend certain of our current limitations or to acquire wholly new capabilities? In small interactive classes, students will explore these questions through critical examination of viewpoints expressed in both scholarly literature and imaginative media, ultimately developing their own positions in written arguments.


UTW1001F: The Internationalisation of Higher Education: Impact and Challenges


Dr Fong Yoke Sim


The internationalisation of higher education (IHE) is evident all around us: international students, faculty, researchers; twinning, exchange, offshore programmes; and the list goes on.But amidst the ever-changing landscape, benefits and challenges of IHE (Knight, 2013), how has internationalisation impacted higher education? How have, say, academic mobility and cross-border alliances influenced students, institutions, countries and the world? What are its implications for cultural and academic values? In this module, we will examine the contexts of IHE, compare different case studies in various settings and analyse the controversies of marketisation, language/cultural attrition, global citizenship, etc.


UTW1001G: Human Behaviours: How do 'I' fit in this Social World?


Dr Misty Cook


Human behaviours are complex. Individuals' intrapersonal and interpersonal social skills could affect how well they function in a society. This course will allow students to examine psychosocial and sociocognitive theories that explain intrapersonal and interpersonal social skills which are defined as 21st-century competencies. Students will evaluate the appropriateness/effectiveness of intrapersonal skills such as the self-concept/image, self-regulated learning and maintaining intellectual openness, and interpersonal skills such as team cooperation/collaboration, conflict management, and leadership in educational, political and business settings. By the end of this module, students should be able to critically analyse and develop awareness of essential social behaviours and skills.


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.


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
UTW2001J: Blood, Death and Desire, Interpreting the Vampire


Ms. Coleen Angove


Vampire literature has undergone a twenty-first Century resuscitation, evident in novels such as Twilight and television series including The Vampire Diaries and True Blood. But how similar are these vampires to the traditional vampire in Western and other cultures? In this module you will explore different explanations for the role/function of the Vampire and have the opportunity to research manifestations of the Vampire across cultures, genres and historical periods. You will review different research methodologies, and compile a list of terms and ideas that enable you to participate in the conversation to understand the ongoing fascination with the Vampire.

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?
UTW2001P: Science Fiction and Empire


Dr. Jason Banta

Science fiction is less about the future than it is about the present. Many science fiction narratives critique contemporary social issues, particularly imperialism and colonialism. This course will introduce students to the theories of colonialism and their importance in a modern context. Armed with this knowledge, students will engage with classic and contemporary science fiction texts in order to understand, as well as question, how such narratives describe and proscribe ways of ordering the world. In developing their original research projects, students will explore how this intersection between popular narrative and ideology influences many of the ways we think about culture today.
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.

UTW2001W: Alter ego / authentic self? Online political identities


Ms Nazerene Ibrahim

This module explores how online interactions foster collective identities premised on real/imagined social, economic and political injustice. The 20th century generated identity politics, with its focus on a shared loss of dignities resulting from prolonged colonial or imperial oppression. Evolving political and social settings gradually led to movements centred around distinct group identities (feminist movements, civil rights movements etc.). Advancements in digital communication in the new millennium have led to new variants of online collective identities. This module will examine how virtual identity politics is impacting offline politics, and demanding changes to socio-economic and political landscapes both locally and globally.

UTW2001Z: The Semiotics of Colour


Dr Laetitia Monbec

Colour is key in visual communication. In this module, students will engage with the topic from a social semiotics and multimodal perspective to explore how colour meanings, for example ideational, interpersonal and textual, are created and interpreted. Students will develop a research paper around an artefact of their choice from fields such as marketing, design, visual and performing arts or their discipline, to examine how colour conveys meanings and/or how these colour meanings are perceived in the community. Through their project, students may explore a range of social issues related to, for example, gender and race.