Residential College (RC) Programmes


I&E I Courses

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


I&E I Courses

IEM1201%, UTW1001% or ES1501%.

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

For the U-Town curriculum, CELC contributes the Ideas and Exposition I (I&E I) for college residents. They are:

Content Specific

Each I&E course focuses on a particular topic, with readings selected to be accessible to undergraduates. Although each topic reflects the concerns of a particular discipline, all courses 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 course 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 courses help students to produce expository writing that readers will recognize as increasing their understanding of a given topic.

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

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Assessment RVX courses are 100% Continuous Assessment courses.
Units Four
Workload 0-4-0-0-6
Prerequisite(s) ES1000 and/or ES1103 (if required)
Preclusion(s) Students who have read I&E2

Each course is designed to foster critical thinking and expression skills needed by students to be able to function effectively (i.e., competently, reflectively, and creatively) in the university and the wider contexts.

It is content-specific and rhetorically intensive and adopts the integrated critical thinking approach to writing and communication instruction (Hatcher 2010). It is also inter- and multi-disciplinary in terms of content and its pedagogy is informed by theories on rhetoric and composition, critical thinking, and argumentation. These features of the course guarantee that by the end of the semester, students will have been better prepared to intelligently and effectively engage their readers and audiences not just in the university, but also in professional and social contexts. They ensure that students will be able to develop “sensitivities and dispositions of character that allow [them] to think clearly and express themselves cogently with an end to increased socio-adaptability, and personal reflection and development” (NUS GE Committee, 2020).

Specifically, the content focus of the course enables students to contextualize their writing while at the same time allowing them to broaden their intellectual and cultural horizons. This content focus introduces the students to new “conceptual and socio-cultural vistas” that they can mobilize or interrogate in their own writing.

By integrating writing and communication instruction with a content focus, students necessarily engage in cognitive processes of critical thinking and expression. The core strategies expressed in the learning objectives of the course are manifestations of these cognitive processes: students will interrogate sources of information and opinion in terms of relevance and reliability; critically examine how ideas in the core readings can be applied to a case, artefact or phenomenon; engage with various methods to understand multimodal cases, phenomenon or artefacts; express and organize ideas to present a line of argument in a way that is sensitive to the audience and the context; document and synthesize sources to establish a critical claim or proposition; and reconsider their ideas and their writing based on feedback.

The course ultimately builds up the capacity of students to write and communicate in a disciplined and context-sensitive manner—informed but judicious, assertive but responsible, critical but capable of cooperative thinking. 

Hatcher, D. L. (2010). Stand-alone versus integrated critical thinking courses. The Journal of
General Education, 55 (3/4), 247-72.

NUS General Education Committee. (2020, November 30). GE reform—the NUS core curriculum.

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