• Vivian Moh

CNM Module Reviews: 3K NM Modules

Updated: Jul 17

POV: you’re on NUSMods, you’ve filtered and typed “NM3” in your search bar, and scrolling through the myriad of Level 3000 NM modules available, opening each module you encounter in a new tab to add it to your timetable, then staring at your timetable that’s full of prospective modules and wondering… “Hmmmmmmmm, which 3k mod should I take??!?!”


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Yes, we’ve been there, done that and the wonders never cease because there’s just so many Level 3000 NM modules available. However, CNM students generally choose to read only two Level 3000 NM modules since our Compulsory Internship Programme (CIP) NM3550Y already takes up three Level 3000 modules-worth of module credits (12 MCs).


And sureee, according to the degree completion requirements, you could always take more 3K NM modules instead of 2K NM modules. But let’s face it, 3K modules generally require more effort and it’s non-SU-able as compared to 2K NM mods, so people usually shy away from taking more than necessary.


So, this leads us to the ultimate questions: what are my options for 3K modules, and are they suitable for me?


Change or continuity?

Although we are all majoring in CNM, the possibilities to branch into a specific area of study (or a couple of them) are endless! As you scroll through the available NM modules, you’ll get a sense of what types of modules attract you – whether they are related to specific industries such as Public Relations (PR), Media production, Interactive Media Design, Computational Communications, or the broader understanding and research of communication studies.

(Refer to this link for more information on the different categories of modules by the CNM Department)


I’m sure you would be familiar with this since we’ve pretty much done the same as we choose our 2K NM modules. Despite the fact that we have been choosing 2K modules based on these broad areas of communications, there are still few key differences between 2K and 3K modules:

  1. 3K mods provide more variety in terms of specific industries

  2. The depth of studies heightens greatly

  3. 3K modules demand more hours than 2K modules

With the knowledge, you should really decide whether:

  • You wish to take on a module about an industry/area of study that you’ve never taken similar modules of before but will be interested in knowing more about, or

  • Choose to continue what you’ve been interested in so far to learn it in more in-depth.

And although you could always learn on the job/internship, your choice of modules could very much affect your future career options and the industries you go into (or choose not to go into).


Pre-requisites!

If you're one of those people who look far, far ahead and already have certain 4K NM modules you set your eyes on to take in the future, then you would've known that some 4K NM modules have specific 3K NM modules as prerequisites that you would need to read before you're able to take the modules.


That said, it's not entirely impossible because the module's coordinators may choose to accept students who have not read the pre-requisites. However, this is usually on a case-by-case basis and you'll probably need to explain your experiences that are relevant to the area of study to be considered, and (hopefully) be accepted.


Regardless, if you want to eliminate even the slimmest possibility of you not being accepted to the 4K NM module of your dreams just because you didn't complete its 3K NM module pre-requisite, then why not place your destiny in your own hands, quit worrying and charge forth to take the module! :')


So yes, if this is news to you, PSA everyone go and find your potential 4K NM modules on NUSmods and look through their pre-requisites just in case!


Okay, enough said! Let’s go straight into the 3K module reviews you’ve been waiting for!

  • NM3215 Advertising Strategies

  • NM3217 Principles of Communication Design

  • NM3219 Writing for Communication Management

  • NM3222 Interactive Storytelling

  • NM3230 Digital Storytelling

  • NM3232 Strategic communication

  • NM3234Y Leadership, Organisations and Communication

Please note the AY/Sem of each review as there may be changes to the curriculum that are not reflected. Do check the details on LumiNUS or NUSmods for any latest updates! Also, since these reviews are the personal opinions of specific students that were interviewed, please understand that one’s experience may differ from person to person!


NM3215 Advertising Strategies


Taken in: AY2019/20 Semester 2

Lecturer/ Tutor: Dr Sean Chaidaroon

Who is this module suitable for? Anyone who is interested in the Advertising/ Marketing industry as the skills and theories learnt during the module are very applicable to practical industry experiences.


Description of Module:

  • Learn the basics of marketing principles (which are pretty easy to follow if you're reading the textbook regularly)

  • Get introduced to interesting (and fun!) advertisements that serve as clear examples of the theories taught in the module

  • Be prepared to engage in group discussions to analyse the advertisements and discuss the theories applied during tutorials

Assessment breakdown:

  • MCQ mid-terms (20%)

  • Group project (30%)

  • Final essay (25%) *initially supposed to be MCQ but converted to essay format due to COVID-19

  • Peer review (5%)

  • Class participation (20%)

Pros: Fun and relevant! The contents of the modules were clear and easy to follow.

Cons: -

Tips when taking the module? Revise the textbook well and highlight the key concepts. For the group project, always think out of the box - get your creative juices flowing! And always ensure that you're linking your group report to the theories learnt in class

Pre-req? -



NM3217 Principles of Communication Design


Taken in: AY 2019/20 Semester 2

Lecturer/ Tutor: Kai

Who is this module suitable for? Anyone interested in creative and design work


Description of Module:

  • Learn the basics of visual communication design methods and principles. You'll be introduced to the fundamentals of creative thinking and drawing, modes of image-making, colour theories, basic typography, infographics (and moreee)

  • The module assumes beginner knowledge on visual design and communication, and teaches Adobe software such as InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator so you'll get to learn and hone your craft from scratch (even though many students enter the module with varying background experience)

  • For beginners of Adobe, this module will likely be quite effortful, with biweekly tutorial assignments but you'll learn a lot

Assessment:

  • Individual assignments: 45% (15% each)

  • Group project: 35% (15% design document, 15% final prototype, 10% presentation)

  • Blog: 10%

  • Attendance and participation: 10%

Pros: Knowing how to use Adobe creative suite well is a very important and relevant skillset to have in the creative design industry

Cons: Adobe license isn't provided with the module :( Need to consider purchasing it or using it in the CNM computer labs during tutorials


Tips when taking the module? Do start on your projects early as they usually take quite a bit of time to complete (especially if you're new to Adobe)

Any pre-req? -


NM3219 Writing for Communication Management


Taken in: AY2019/20 Semester 2

Lecturer/ Tutor: Dr Francesca Nathan

Who is this module suitable for? Those interested in the PR industry and have a passion for writing


Description of Module:

  • Think of it as an in-depth NM2219, or NM2220 with a focus on PR writing

  • Learn the fundamentals of PR, how to create and deliver persuasive and ethical messaging through your writing.

  • Craft a proposal for a PR campaign from scratch, which includes SWOT analysis, identifying potential and current PR concerns, setting objectives and formulating the strategies for the campaign, and evaluating it.

  • Understanding the differences across the various types of PR writing (e.g. publicity writing, marketing communication, corporate and internal communication, business correspondence) and how to engage with various audiences across different media platforms

Assessment:

  • Assignment 1: Partial PR plan (15%)

  • Assignment 2: News release (15%)

  • Assignment 3: Social media plan outline (15%)

  • Group project (35%)

  • Class participation (20%)

Pros: The module goes very in-depth in covering all the relevant types of writing that PR professionals in the field may need to experience. It also includes theories and strategies that are rather easy to follow, even for students who have not taken NM2219.

Cons: Might be a challenge for those who are not confident in their writing as each tutorial includes (usually impromptu) writing exercises based on different scenarios, which is similar to those in NM2220 tutorials (e.g. Coming up with the headlines, social media captions and press release which a prompt of a fictitious event by an organisation)

Tips when taking the module? Choose an organisation you'll really be interested in working on for your group PR proposal as you'll need to spend quite some time on it. And take note to be alert during tutorials because there'll be relatively more writing involved than tutorials of other modules, after this module is meant to train your "Writing".

Any pre-req? Either NM2219, or NM2220


NM3222 Interactive Storytelling


Taken in: AY 2019/20 Semester 2

Lecturer/ Tutor: Dr Sarah-Tabea Sammel, Johann Yasmin

Who is this module suitable for? Creative people who like to write and make their stories interactive


Description of Module:

  • Breaks down the methodologies of storytelling and narratives in the context of various interactive media platforms such as plays, games and novels

  • Learn how stories can be made interactive and fun to increase engagement with the reader by allowing them to choose how they want the stories to proceed

  • Tutorials are very chill with clips of video games shown and explained on how the various techniques used were able to increased engagement and interactivity

  • Classes will also focus on the game creation assignment using a programme called TWINE but don't worry! No coding experience is required.

Assessment:

  • Class participation (20%)

  • Group project (20%)

  • Reflection essay (20%)

  • Final game assignment (40%)

Pros: It's a fun and very interesting module if you enjoy coming up with stories, understanding what makes them good. Having free reign on the topics you choose to work on for the assignments is also a plus!

Cons: Might be a challenge for those who aren't familiar with video games or don't think of themselves as the most creative people


Tips when taking the module? Let your creative juices flow and plan well before embarking on your final assignment!

Any pre-req? -


NM3230 Digital Storytelling


Taken in: AY 2019/20 Semester 2

Lecturer/ Tutor: Dr Sarah-Tabea Sammel, Joseph Aloysius Raja Sekar

Who is this module suitable for? Beginners who are interested to learn about production and using a camera


Description of Module:

  • Learn about the fundamental principles of production and storytelling.

  • Basically, the basics of ... the basics of production i.e. exposure triangles, composition, focal lengths, etc.

  • Lectures cover the production theories and concepts while tutorials are more hands-on with mini assignments and projects that sometimes require students to take on different roles in a production crew such as sound crew, host, editor, and more!

Assessment:

  • Class participation (15%)

  • Professional conduct and quality of work (10%)

  • Individual photo essay (25%)

  • Individual short story (20%)

  • Final assignment (Group): Vox Pop exercise - Campaign for NUS (30%) *was changed to an individual assignment on “life due to COVID-19 restrictions

Pros: You get plenty of hands-on experience to operate a camera, microphone, and other professional gear related to production (which can be rented free-of-charge from CNM department, so no worries about that!)

Cons: Workload may be rather overwhelming if one doesn't plan ahead for their assignments.


Tips when taking the module? Follow closely to the requirements in the project briefs and content covered in the lesson! Be bold in ideating but stay within the guidelines.

Any pre-req? -


NM3232 Strategic communication


Taken in: AY2019/20 Semester 2

Lecturer/ Tutor: Dr Asha Pandi

Who is this module suitable for? For those who want to try their hand at PR strategies in a real-world context


Description of Module:

  • Learn how to approach and carry out a strategic PR plan.

  • Covers topics such as how to carry out the preliminary research, coming up with strategies such as goals and objectives for the campaign, the types of tactics practitioners can employ, and how to evaluate the strategies

  • Similar to a more in-depth NM2219

  • Seminar-style and classes usually start off with Dr Asha covering the content for the particular week, followed by a presentation by a group in class on a case study and then discussion on the topic

  • Required to reach out to an actual organisation to collaborate, form up a PR plan based on their identified concerns, and present about it (even though whether they choose to execute in actuality it would be up to the organisation)

Assessment:

  • In-class essay (35%)

  • Seminar attendance, participation and case study (25%)

  • Group project (40%)

Pros: Targeting the practical concerns through reaching out and working with an actual organisation made applying and understanding the concepts taught in class much better.

Cons: Group project component was very heavy so everyone needs to pull their weight if not it’ll be very stressful. Concepts from the textbook and readings were quite difficult to understand and connect as a whole.


Tips when taking the module? Do your readings well! It will make it easier to link and find connections between different concepts. Be diligent in keeping up with the deadlines because you’re required to work with an external organisation (which needs time to collaborate and liaise with) so doing everything last minute would be very stressful and unprofessional.

Any pre-req? -


NM3234Y Leadership, Organisations and Communication


Taken in: AY2019/20 Semester 2

Lecturer/ Tutor: Dr. Jinna Tay

Who is this module suitable for? People who enjoy lively class participation, and those interested in learning about leadership and how it is applied across various organisational context


Description of Module:

  • Learn about the various types of leadership, such as distributed leadership, transformational leadership, etc) and its styles. And you'll get to reflect on what type of leader you are based on what you've learnt.

  • Other than usual lectures, there were also a leadership panel (where students had to invite a leader and engage in the QnA session), a guest lecture on non-profit organisations, and a workshop on "Performativity & Embodiment"

  • Do your readings well and be prepared to speak up during tutorials as Dr Tay chooses students to share their opinions and contribute to the discussion and topical debates.

Assessment:

  • Leadership film review (15%)

  • Work-in-progress journal (30%)

  • Group case study (40%)

  • Class participation (15%)

Pros: It's interesting that there were guest lectures and panelists in addition to the usual lectures because it helped to cement the understanding of how leadership is applied in organisational settings under real-world contexts

Cons: As there is no finals, you'll have to do well for your individual assignments and group case study. For the group case study, students have to conduct primary research (interviews, focus groups) on their own. Some groups struggled to find interviewees, as many do not have the necessary contacts. Thus, it's important to pick a suitable topic, and reach out to the interviewees early.


Tips when taking the module? Prepare well for every tutorial by doing the assigned readings. Try to choose a suitable research topic (such as distributed leadership and millennial leadership) for your group case study so it'll be more relevant and interesting to work with.

Any pre-req? -


*Note: Module codes that end with Y are suitable for students on CIP as they're usually evening classes that start at 6pm

So here's it all! The reviews of seven different 3K NM modules by your CNM seniors and peers that just saved you a whole load of time frantically googling mod reviews and/or texting friends to ask around what they've taken and how it went for them!


There are still other available 3K NM modules that have not been reviewed on CNM Types. If you're interested in sharing your experience, please don't hesitate to write to us through Instagram on @nus.cnm! We look forward to hearing from you so more CNM juniors and peers can benefit from your review :)


Last but not the least, a very special thank you (!!!) to all the contributors (including Hui Jin <3 and other friends who chose to be anonymous) for your precious module reviews so our CNM peers and juniors can have a clearer roadmap on their CNM module-planning journey!

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yes, Son Ye-jin's capitalistic finger hearts for you💓

And to all our CNM friends, seniors, and juniors, happy module-planning and we wish you all the best for Mod-reg :)

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