EN3263: Singapore Literature in Context

Module code & title: EN3263: Singapore Literature in Context

Grading:

25% close reading assignment
35% research essay
15% book review
15% 5 minute presentation on a selected singapore literature text from 2012-2017
10% class participation (yes he actually likes it a lot a lot when people talk, he asks questions)

Lecturer: Dr Philip J Holden

He’s a really kind professor, some have described him as a kind uncle. He’s the most conscientious professor in the literature department I’ve ever met besides Dr Yeoh. He creates a lesson plan on IVLE, linking all worksheets/slides/secondary readings and everything really, it’s quite astounding considering most professors don’t actually do that.

What it’s about: It’s a singapore literature module. You study Alfian Sa’at and other related authors, mainly from the Anthology of Singapore literature. You go through the history of Singapore and some of the controversial times/texts that our nation has seen. it opens your eyes to things in literature you haven’t seen before, and the discussions are enlightening.

Assignment workload: Reading of primary texts and weekly forum posts. Weekly forum posts are how he notes and starts class participation because he discusses the opinions that you posited on the forum posts. Anyway forum postings are good because you have to read the texts to post on the forum.

Thoughts about the tutor: –

Project workload & question/theme –

Readings: See above

Exam (briefly format and difficulty): It’s a lot of work though, many small components. But manageable.

Recommended if…You’re interesting in singlit. You should check it out.

Rating (in terms of how much you enjoyed it) – 3.5/5

 

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EN2201: Backgrounds to Literature

Taken in AY16/17 Sem 2, (posting this late, but realised it was worth writing!)

Module code & title: EN2201: Backgrounds to Literature

Grading:

70% CA – made up of:
1. Midterm essay (20%)
2. Final essay (30%)
3. Class Participation (20%)
30% final exam (YES this module has finals!)

Lecturer: Dr Gilbert Yeoh (he’s the best!!)

Dr Yeoh gives you everything. Like he prints a course package for you and he has soooo many slides because every possible thing he wants you to learn for the module is smacked on it. His lectures are funny, sometimes information overload. The seminar is made up of a lecture for an hour and a half then a discussion segment. There’s a break in between those segments. He is open to controversial ideas and opinions. He wants originality in your essays which to be very honest can be tough given that he spoon feeds almost everything. But it is very interesting and he’s super kind and generous to always help/open for consults so please go for consults.

What it’s about: It’s a classics module. You study Homer’s Odyssey, Sophocles’ Oedipus and the books of Genesis and John from the Bible. Reason for these texts being that they are argued to be the earliest written texts in Western civilization and their themes are foundational for the writing and creation of Western literature. (therefore the title of the mod)

Assignment workload: READINGS. Many readings for a 2k module, but it is doable. Speak up in lectures, and you’ll do okay. Go through the tutorial question list at least, skim through it once before you come into the seminar.

Thoughts about the tutor: –

Project workload & question/theme –

Readings: See above

Exam (briefly format and difficulty): It’s an interesting paper, he’s not so much looking for originality as much as argument and your opinion so just state your opinion. Most people pick their favourite text and write on it.

Recommended if…You love Dr Yeoh (!!woo!!)

Rating (in terms of how much you enjoyed it) – 5/5

 

EN2275: Writing About Literature

Module code & title: EN2275

Grading: FULLY CA
10% class part,
20% Summary
25% Essay 1
25% Essay 2
10% Final Portfolio/Reflection

Lecturer & tutor:
Dr Aparna Shukla

Dr Shukla created this module newly, hence being the first iteration a lot of things would be new and in incipient stages. Lectures could be draggy until you realise what the focus of the module is and that actually lectures are not as good as tutorials. Tutorials are more helpful because mostly students take this module with the idea that they want to improve on their writing and generally people improve in smaller groups because there’s more attention on the individual student so that’s the thing about her tutorials, they’re small and super helpful.

What it’s about: how to write. properly. You start with learning summaries and interpretation skills which seem lame until you realise you cannot actually do it properly. Then you learn how to think and write a clear proper introduction and you move on to the essay itself… She uses the topic of trauma to give us a platform to write.

Assignment workload: Not much work. One reading can be covered over the first 6 weeks. Then the second half is a film/text. There are secondary readings but they are as per needed (if you write the essay then you read that reading)

Thoughts about the tutor: –

Project workload & question/theme –

Readings: Barely any, really.

Exam (briefly format and difficulty): No exams. 3 assignments through the semester, all of which you can bring in and consult her. And you should. It’ll help tremendously

Recommended if…you are a literature major who needs to learn how to write properly.l

Rating (in terms of how much you enjoyed it) – 4/5

Expected grade: A-

Actual grade

SC3101: Social Thought and Social Theory

Module code & title: SC3101 Social Thought and Social Theory

Grading: 10% Class Participation, 3 short papers (40%, each 13.3%), finals 50%

Lecturer & tutor:
Lecturer: Dr George Baylon Radics
Tutor: Jamie/Prof Radics

Prof Radics is wonderful. Have I ever mentioned how amazing he is? He’s patient, answers every email sent to him (with a whole host of explanations, sometimes), and is always ever ready for consultations despite his busy schedule. I appreciate his teaching style, as he incorporates examples relevant to the world and to us in his lectures.

Tutorials under him are great, he explains the questions in the tutorial worksheet and gets us to give and find out the answers complete with the page number so that not just us but everyone benefits. Furthermore, if the answers given are either too soft or unclear he will repeat and elaborate on it so everyone gets it.

What it’s about: the three main thinkers of sociology, Karl Marx, Emile Durkheim and Max Weber – their perspectives with regard to society, economy and religion. It’s very factual and you get to go a step further to compare them to each other (if you wish). You also note the relevance to the contemporary society

Assignment workload: Readings mainly. One assignment per each third of the sem – week 3, 7, 10. Finals is a huge percentage

Thoughts about the tutor: – 

Project workload & question/theme – 

Readings: A lot, kind of was okay for me as I am a literature major. But for those not accustomed to readings this would be quite a killer. It’s not so much the length which is hard to get by but on top of that it is not easy to understand, especially Marx.

Exam (briefly format and difficulty): 50% weightage. The paper has section 1 and 2, section 1 is a compulsory analytical question worth 40% of the overall, 2 questions choose 1 to compare all three thinkers. Section 2 (60% of the paper) has 9 questions choose 3, shorter answer (I wrote 1-1.5 pages), more factual and less evaluative and opinion based. Not very tough, if you studied you can answer

Recommended if…you are a major in soci this is a compulsory module. Or if you’re interested in the theories and concepts behind social theory. It’s a theory module not an application module for you soci-interested people looking for application mods.

Rating (in terms of how much you enjoyed it) – 5/5

Expected grade: A-

Actual grade

GEH1061: Representation and Media

Taken in:
AY16/17 Semester 2

Lecturer/Tutor:
Ms Sofia Morales

What the module is about, briefly:
So this module comes from CNM (Communications and New Media) department. It begins with the basic theories of representation and media – ideas of signifier, signified, semiotics, creation of social constructs etc… (i.e. Foucault, Barthes, Butler…). These theories are then applied to real life contexts – Bollywood, KPop, Celebrity, Identity Politics etc. (There’s quite a fair bit of theory to be memorised)

Texts:
Mostly pdfs that are available on the IVLE site, works from Stuart Hall, Judith Butler, Foucault, and other short articles and stuff. Manageable.

Workload:
Do show up for class. Slides are like just a dump for random words, and quotes from the readings. But if you don’t go for class or do the readings you’d be quite lost. If you don’t do the readings like consistently, you’d be swamped at the end, because…(read next section)

Format of assessment:
So her midterms and finals, there’s both…

Tutorial participation 15%
Midterms 20%
Group Project 30%
Final exam 35%

Project/Presentation:

 

  1. you’d be writing a 5000-6000 word report on any topic you choose
  2. in groups of 4-5, assigned by tutorial.
  3. if you’re fortunate, you’d get a good group. I sincerely wish you would, ’cause mine was literally amazing, super efficient, on the ball, and hardworking
  4. Start early, like week 6 or 7. Give yourself 4-5 weeks. GIVE TIME FOR EDITING. Most groups do like each person writes like 1.2k words and then everyone’s writing style is different so what happens is that you’ll need to edit it so it has some form of uniformity (not so obvious differences in writing style), although you can never fully make each part exactly the same.
  5. Choose something interesting. My group chose Arrow the TV series and wrote about the different kinds of stereotypes that were present in this case study – eg. superheroes, women, asians, etc.

Lecturer/Tutor

 

She loves to tell her own stories, sometimes it is useful to the topic other times not so much. Go for lectures, they’re useful. She’s friendly and approachable, marked group project leniently. But I don’t really like the format of the exams personally. (More in the next section)

Tutorials are an hour long and slightly pointless.

Exam difficulty:

For midterms and finals, it feels like she wanted you to memorise the reading. It’s like extremely factual, I personally regret not studying harder (studying as in not just understanding concepts but also figuring out who says what and in what context). The exam is broken into MCQ, short answer and one longer answer (half a page). The first two sections are factual (that’s like 70% of the paper) and the last 30% is a short 10m essay question that’s ALSO (argh!) factual and barely analytical, which was the thing I couldn’t deal with.

 

Recommended:

 

Content heavy module. Wasn’t really what it said it would be, well yes in that it is still very very factual but little analysis and thought needed, just absorption power.

Overall rating (/10):

5/10

 

EN3221: The English Renaissance

Taken in:
AY16/17 Semester 2

Lecturer:
Dr Walter Lim

What the module is about, briefly:
Renaissance texts and concerns, covering a selection of plays and prose. This module familiarizes one with the historical and political context of the Renaissance and allows you to read the texts in the light of that context. Themes that are covered are like: Protestantism vs Catholicism, authority, The Great Chain of Being, traditional gender roles, man’s relationship to God, sexual desire and prohibitions, etc

Texts:
William Shakespeare’s Sonnets
Andrew Marvell’s Sonnets
Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus
Ben Jonson’s Volpone
John Milton’s Poetry
John Donne’s Devotional Lyrics and Love Poetry

Workload:
Readings, well mainly the text, if you can even keep up with that. There’s secondary readings that are non-compulsory, however, there are select authors which he often refers to which would be good if you know about. My biggest tip for dealing with this module is that – there is much breadth covered, but the amount of depth which you would want to go into is really up to you, and I chose a certain topic and then researched more on it, so it is really up to you. I did so, so that I would get a chance to explore one topic I really liked and go deep into it. (Also it means you’d have less worries about listening to the rest of the topics/authors).

Format of assessment:

1 short midterm essay 15% (600-800 words)
1 Review Essay 15% (review of an article, pick 1 of 4, some can be longer than others, but pick it based on your interest, each one is a different topic, 500-600 words)
1 Final Essay 40% (includes annotated Biblio and abstract)
Forum Participation 10%
Tutorial Presentation & Class discussion 15% (1 Project Presentation (!!) tutorials will be listening to different presentation, my advice is to sign up super early and get it done/out of the way asap)

(yeah so it’s a somewhat exhausting workload, but it’s kinda spaced out nicely so no last min work)

Project/Presentation:
You’ll be presenting on a particular text, there will be guiding question(s) given at the start of the sem/first tutorial. You’d probably have to come up with a 1/2 an hour presentation, and anything you do not know, learn to direct it to the floor, deflect questions like a boss (no, seriously, if you do not know something, ask the class for answers, people should talk, and if they don’t, Dr. Lim will cover it well. 

Lecturer/Tutor
Some people say this prof has a kinda like ‘one track mind’ and other things, this is not to say it is a bad thing, neither is it altogether a good thing. (Make your own judgments). I really enjoyed the module under him and that’s probably because I got his style. Some people may not and that is fine. His lectures to me are engaging and interesting. He does give lecture notes/slides also so if you’re for any reason unable to make it, it is not too bad. He’s approachable and friendly toward any consultation requests too. 🙂

Exam difficulty:
You pick your own final essay question/there’s a list of like recommended stuff, but you’re free to think of your own topic, just clear it with him.
Article review is not very hard, neither is the presentation etc. Very manageable module.

Recommended:
Yes, it is an essential module that gives foundational understanding for other modules that may have topics that are influenced by Renaissance works.

Overall rating (/10):
8/10

EN3242: History of Film

Taken in:
AY16/17 Semester 2

Lecturer:
A/P Valerie Wee
Tutor: Phoebe Pua

What the module is about, briefly:
History of film. Isn’t it self-explanatory? HAHA. A brief coverage (not in depth) about the different historical backgrounds of film in America, Japan, Russia, Germany, France, Italy. You can choose to focus on any of them later.

Texts:
FILMS* (Ranging from SILENT FILMS to Sound ones),
1. A Trip to the Moon
2. Broken Blossoms
3. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
4. Battleship Potempkin
5. Bringing Up Baby
6. The Rules of the Game
7. Sunset Boulevard
8. The Bicycle Thief
9. The 400 Blows
10. Late Spring
11. The Graduate (I think this was changed, I’m not sure, don’t remember)

Workload:
HAHA. I would say it is tiring but interesting. The most tiring part is perhaps keeping up with the movies, because you’ll need to watch them so you can talk in tutorial, and also, the research part for the group/pair report concerning the various topics (pick one). I did Russian cinema: Constructivism, so that was pretty interesting, though energy-sapping. Final essay requires more in depth thought and research, but if you pick something you like, it isn’t too bad 🙂 I did Doctor Strange (and linked it to Film Noir) and I did pretty okay! (YAY).

Format of assessment:
100% CA:
1. Tutorial participation (20%)
2. Tutorial facilitation (10%)
3. Group Written Report (20%)
4. Research paper – Annotated Biblio (10%), Abstract (10%), Essay (30%)

Project/Presentation:
Presentation centers on the movie of your choice, you have to engage the class in a discussion concerning the movie for that week, you can choose to break the class into groups to discuss various topics in the movie. There are guiding questions so you do not have to worry. The group written report will probably be linked to the movie of your choice (or it may not be, as well). 

Comments on lecturer:
Here is where I shall sing the praises of Prof Wee and my tutor.
Prof Wee: she’s extremely approachable and helpful with the topics you choose to write on, comments on essays and reports are constructive. Her lectures are engaging and interesting. And she’s super nice (I can’t even)
Phoebe: She’s kinda like Prof Wee, and since I got her in tutorial, I’ll say she’s very insightful and proffers useful comments and also does this little thing where she contextualises every national cinema and gives you important dates you should know about each cinema. She does this every week. Also, she’s very good with time management so we always end on time and yet there’s a very fruitful discussion, so I appreciate that immensely.

Exam difficulty:
Just workload, no major exams.
It’s spaced out through the semester so requires a fair but of stamina and much less space for last minute work.

Recommended:
YES. If you like film, yes. If you don’t, (like me), you can still listen it is worth listening to, and then pick a topic you like and work on it. I did film noir and Doctor Strange because I happened to really like both. I wanted to do Marvel but I didn’t in the end because there was just a better option (and I changed my topic like last minute after I finished full annotated biblio and abstract and all because I just felt like it, and Prof Wee let me do it, she talked me through changing the topic and everything worked out). So I hope I have successfully convinced you to do it!!!!!!!!

Overall rating (/10):
8/10

EN3249: Introduction to Visual Culture: Art, Film and Media

Taken in:
AY 16/17 Semester 2

Lecturer:
Dr. David Teh

What the module is about, briefly:
Art history, visual culture, various mediums (photography, painting, videography, etc). Background historical context as well as relevance to current media and technological advancements.

Texts:
mostly pdfs/readings (mostly in RBR, some given in package)

Workload:
You should do AT LEAST ONE of the recommended readings for each week. This is because he covers some of the readings in lecture and it would be oh so helpful to know what he is talking about. Other than that, you just have to work for your presentation (whenever it is) and engage the class, talk to them…Lastly there’s a final research paper and for this perhaps a wee bit more of effort is needed, you got to go search for contemporary art events (or something you have been to before) and write about it.

Format of assessment:

Slide Test 30% (you don’t have to worry, this can’t really be studied for, just show up in class enough to know what it is about)

Review Essay (final essay, ’cause you’re reviewing the art exhibition you’re supposed to go for) 40%

Class part 15%

Seminar Presentation 15%

Project/Presentation:
You’ll be rostered to present on a certain reading, based on the week’s assigned readings. You can choose one or two readings, and you can also choose if you’d like to work alone or in a group. I’ve seen people who present alone and do it realllllly well, some work better in a group, so really, your choice. For the presentation, you’d have to really engage with the reading (it’s not very hard, tbh?) and find interesting stuff that the class (who probably (like 80% chance) wouldn’t have done the reading, as you expect) would be able to be interested in.

Comments on lecturer:
He interrupts presentation, sometimes with useful comments, sometimes with less than useful comments. He’s a good marker and gives valid comments to work and stuff. His lectures can bore people sometimes but if you do the readings, and if you’re interested in the topic, it can be slightly less boring.

Exam difficulty:
Midterms – it’s like, you’d be asked to know the formal qualities of an image (so say like actually give the dimensions and also the material it’s made of, and perhaps where the artwork is displayed etc… and then give the contextual and cultural significance of the image

Finals -none.
Review essay is due week 12, pretty early, so get started on it fast!

Recommended:
It’s not art history, it’s an overview of visual culture, you do cover breadth not depth, so your choice. Interesting readings are given 🙂 You compare across various mediums of art and evaluate the differences and contextualise it.

Overall rating (/10):
6.5/10

PS2203: Ancient Western Political Thought

Taken in:
AY16/17 Semester 1

Lecturer:
Prof Ethan Andrew Putterman
TA: Charles Brian Suresh (Bob)

What the module is about, briefly:
Aristotle, Plato and Machiavelli – political systems, human nature, religion and it’s link to politics, constitutional stuff, etc.

Texts:
Plato – The Republic
Aristotle – The Politics
Aristotle – The Poetics
Niccolo Machiavelli – The Prince

Workload:
Reading the texts (if you’re not used to this kinda more archaic language) can be a challenge when you start out, nonetheless I assure you that once that’s conquered it’s not too bad. You have sparksnotes/gradesaver/etc. not for nothing. There are no other readings, maybe because the weekly set of readings (which I highly, strongly recommend for you to complete before the lecture) is more than enough.

Format of assessment:
Midterms 20%, class participation + presentation 20%, finals 60%

Project/Presentation:
You’ll be rostered to present on a certain question from 1 of the 4 texts, you can present individually or in a group setting. My recommendation is do in a group setting where you can actually go further with the entire presentation and in my opinion it is so much better than just having barely enough time to regurgitate the text content or the lecture content which is boring and useless for yourself and the class (unless no one understood the lecture which is probably not the case).

Comments on lecturer:
He’s interesting and gives you comprehensive content, complete with real life examples in lecture. In tutorial it’s not the same story though – as it’s a presentation filled tutorial and he doesn’t say much unless there’s some heinous mistake made by someone. I’ve heard the tutor approaches tutorials rather differently, with more explanations and slightly more spoon feeding which is helpful if you’re new to pol science in general. Prof Putterman just expects you to work out things in your mind and then come to him with questions. He’s very friendly which is a bonus.

Exam difficulty:
Midterms – 1 compulsory question and one other question of your choice (can be comparison if you prefer)

Finals – three essays – one comparison, then one from Section B (comparison) and one from Section C (individual book)

Pretty manageable if you studied and thought through the texts, making sure you understand critical and vital concepts/made notes etc.

Recommended:
Perhaps, if you’re interested in foundational political/economic and social ideas that were in the incipient stages of discussion. Ideas of democracy and idealism vs realism are discussed at length and that’s something very appealing to me. Also, I think the module gives you a chance at expressing your analytical and critical skills in comparison because not much is told to you concerning comparing the political thinkers so that’s for you to go figure and explore which appeals to some.

Overall rating (/10):
7/10

GET1029/GEK1067: Life, the Universe, and Everything

Taken in:
AY16/17 Semester 1

Lecturer:
Prof Loy Hui Chieh
6-7 other tutors (for tutorials). Mine was Theresa Helke

What the module is about, briefly:
It’s philosophy 1101, it’s the intro module so there’s a different topic covered every week and you get exposed to the various dilemmas of metaphysics, epistemology, applied ethics etc. The module is not heavy in that you have to do a lot of work, but there’s weekly brain work involved. Lectures are all available on webcast so if that’s your thing sure why now. Tutorials are an hour long, weekly. (Please note that Prof Loy is working on changes for the upcoming batch and therefore there will be slight tweaks to the next year/semester’s syllabus the next time the module comes out.)

Texts:
1 reading every week.

Workload:
Not much, just that enough effort is needed to understand the concepts explained in the lecture. It is worth doing the readings, anyway you should, because there are weekly quizzes and some of them are literally lifted from the readings. There’s a blog where answers to the weekly quizzes are put up and also other ‘further thinking’ material that’s rather interesting if you’re into philosophy.

Format of assessment: (lifted from IVLE)
Tutorial Attendance and Participation — 10%
Reading Quizzes x 10 — 40% (MCQ)
Special Project — 10% (in groups of 3-5)
Final Exam — 40% (MCQ; closed book)

Recommended:
I kinda died for all the quizzes because maybe I didn’t put in enough effort, but when it came to studying for finals I sat down and actually went through each topic in detail and I enjoyed it. I think the module’s contents are thought provoking and it is worth listening to the lectures/following the arguments. It is good as a philosophy introduction module although there’s much room for improvement which the prof has already recognized and improvement is in the wings!

Overall rating (/10):
8/10