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 assignment requires students to make an 8-minute oral presentation pitch for a proposed study/paper on a topic of their choice relevant to the course. Students will conduct preliminary research on this topic and use a selection of guided moves to develop their pitch. This pitch will be presented 'live' to the class. In the pitch, students are expected to show their engagement with preliminary work that will be used as the basis for their Paper 3 assignment.


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.

UTW1001B: What is a nation? Texts, images and national identity


Dr Namala Lakshmi Tilakaratna


National identity is an integral part of who we are. Yet, it remains a highly disputed concept. This course will problematize key theoretical debates by exploring Singapore’s national identity and examining how Singapore and regional countries have been shaped by interaction with colonialism and beyond. Drawing on a Multimodal Discourse Analysis (MDA), which allows us to analyse image and text interactions, we explore how national icons are created in public media and ask the question of how national identity still remains a powerful and emotional entity that rallies or divides people of different ethnicities, religious, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds.


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.


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.



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.


This assignment requires students to make an 8-minute oral presentation pitch for a proposed study/paper on a topic of their choice relevant to the course. Students will conduct preliminary research on this topic and use a selection of guided moves to develop their pitch. This pitch will be presented 'live' to the class. In the pitch, students are expected to show their engagement with preliminary work that will be used as the basis for their Paper 3 assignment.


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
UTW2001E: Ethics in Outer Space


Dr Victor Cole

Venturing into space, the most hostile of extreme environments, poses a host of complex and unusual challenges to human well-being. Through examination of the physiological, psychological and social factors that astronauts must contend with, students will engage with the ethical questions that confront governmental and private agencies when sending men and women into space. Before selecting specific ethical questions to explore in their research papers, students will also examine the motivations (scientific, commercial, political) behind different kinds of space mission and consider the moral obligations humankind may be under with regard to the exploration and potential exploitation of extraterrestrial environments.
UTW2001H: Risk and Popular Culture


Dr. Anuradha Ramanujan

We live in a time characterized by an intensified awareness of risk. Our perception of risk, whether related to new technology or social activity, is greatly influenced by how mass media represents it. Taking prominent social theories of risk as its critical frame of reference, this course will explore the role of news, television shows, popular fiction and films in shaping public opinion on, and responses to, potential and presumed threats. These range from environmental pollution, pathogens and medical procedures to terrorism, cybercrime, immigration/immigrants and un(der)employment. Case studies may include Fukushima, Chernobyl and the Y2K phenomenon.
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.

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.