• Megan Huang

CNM Module Reviews: Level-2000 Modules



Hello everyone! Are you feeling lost or undecided on which modules you should take in the midst of ModReg Bidding Season? This week, CNMTypes presents to you the first of our newest series, CNM Module Reviews!


For our first CNM Module Reviews post, we’ll be reviewing several Level-2000 CNM modules that our committee members have taken in previous semesters. We hope our reviews will be useful in helping you decide which modules to take!


1. NM2101 - Theories of Communications and New Media

Taken in: AY19/20 Sem 2

Lecturer: Tabarez A. Neyazi

Tutor: Chua Tiong Seng

Overall rating: 8/10


Description of module

  • This module covers the key communication theories and how to apply them.

  • Lectures can be dry at times, but a lot of the content covered is important so don’t miss any! Personally, I felt that the slides weren’t very structured at the beginning e.g. there wasn’t a clear title for each slide, points were just scattered on the slides with no links.

  • Tutorials are when you really get to try applying what you have learnt. The tutor is really passionate about teaching the module and it can get quite intense at times. He likes to pick on people to answer him and the chances of him shooting down your answer is quite high - but it’s also really helpful in getting a better understanding of the theories.


Assessment

  • Midterms

  • Individual Essay

  • Class Participation

  • Finals


What I liked about the module

This module is definitely essential if you are majoring in CNM because it provides the foundation for understanding the theories and perspectives of communication.


What could have been better about the module

I guess it was quite dry but then again it’s pretty hard to make a module on theories interesting.


Tips and tricks/advise in general when taking this mod

  • Don’t miss any lectures because a lot of what the lecturer covers cannot be inferred from the slides alone.

  • Read up on the theories and fully understand them in order to be able to apply them correctly. Try applying them during tutorials to see if you’ve understood them right.


2. NM2103 - Quantitative Research Methods

Taken in: AY18/19 Sem 2

Lecturer: Dr. Elmie Nekmat

Tutor: Chen Zhuo

Overall rating: 6/10


Description of module

  • If you want to graduate with a major in CNM you’ll have to take this module haha. Like it’s name, it teaches about quantitative analysis and the theory surrounding it. You’re also taught to use programmes like SPSS to calculate your research results. You will need to use this knowledge in your group project later on.

  • Lectures were pretty straightforward, just a regular lecture. Nothing special. There’s no attendance taking or sudden calls for class participation or anything. There was once that we did a Kahoot! quiz but it was more for fun than checking attendance or understanding.

  • Tutorials were mostly centered around teaching us how to use SPSS and giving us time as a group to discuss our project. We could choose our group which was good because those with similar interests could work together. For the project, we were not restricted by anything except that we had to be doing a study on communications and/or new media and its impact.

  • As for the workload, it definitely wasn’t light, especially if you’re not familiar with SPSS and couldn’t pick it up fast enough. But it definitely wasn’t as difficult and tedious as NM2104 - we could just run our results through a programme that would do all the nitty gritty for us haha.

Assessment

  • Class participation

  • Group project

  • Midterms

  • Finals


What I liked about the module

Honestly I’m not that big on academic research. So there isn’t really much for me to say here. It was just interesting to learn the existence of such softwares that can aid in research. And I remember Dr. Elmie being a very good lecturer.


What could have been better about the module

If I didn’t have to take it LOL JK Off the top of my head I can only think to have more practice on using SPSS because I remember my group being quite confused with SPSS. But then again it could just be us being slow to take up the programme.


Tips and tricks/advise in general when taking this mod

  • Do memorise and understand the different kinds of data analysis and actually spend time to familiarise yourself with SPSS. Especially if this is something you want to do, these things are crucial.


3. NM2303 - Fake News, Lies and Spin: How to Sift Fact from Fiction

Taken in: AY18/19 Sem 1

Lecturer: Dr. Francesca Nathan

Tutor: Dr. Francesca Nathan

Overall rating: 6/10


Description of module

  • Fake news is the next big thing now. Whether it’s being hollered by a large political figure or spread by unsuspecting family members, it’s crucial that we learn to differentiate between genuine and garbage. This module covers various aspects of news reporting and common types of misinformation and disinformation. We are also taught simple steps we can follow to determine if the news we’re presented with is true.

  • Lectures usually began with a short quiz on Examplify. I don’t think the quiz counts into the final grade, but more as a way to check if you did your readings. Attendance was also marked. Before going for tutorials, there is usually a small assignment that you’ll have to complete and upload which we will then discuss in class. If I’m not wrong, uploading your assignment on time counts to your class participation grades.

  • The readings for the mod weren't too heavy because the lecturer was kind enough to compress the knowledge from a billion different texts into her own notes that were 2-3 pages long. Generally it’s not a very theory-heavy or memory-heavy mod. It’s a lot more on understanding and application. So once you know the technique, you should be set. Just beware of the funky use of language sometimes. The class was sometimes confused over the word choice which I think hindered our understanding of the content or question.

Assessment

  • I can’t remember the exact breakdown. But I do remember some parts that were tested.

  • Class participation

  • Tutorial assignments

  • Tutorial attendance

  • Lecture participation

  • Lecture attendance

  • Midterms

  • Final exam


What I liked about the module

I enjoyed learning about the different types of misinformation and disinformation, and how it could be identified in the media we consumed. It taught me to be more critical of the information I receive through the media and to be more careful in spreading news.


How many of us have received all those “Send this to everyone you are about! Tonight, there will be a comet passing close to Earth that will increase the radiation…” from well-meaning relatives? How many of us are responsible for spreading all this as well?

Fake news can be detrimental not to just our immediate relations but to the community as a whole and I believe it’s pertinent that we are able to, as the module title says, sift fact from fiction.


What could have been better about the module

Perhaps it’s because it was still a relatively new module, but there was quite a bit of uncertainty and even changes to the content throughout the semester. As such, it was slightly confusing for a few students. However, I believe that it will only get better from there, that the content will be improved and made clearer as time goes by.


Tips and tricks/advise in general when taking this mod

  • There isn’t really much of a cheatsheet here. Just take the time to understand the content, and the methods to identify fake news. Don’t speed read through questions - sometimes words are misleading.

4. NM2220 - Introduction to Media Writing

Taken in: AY19/20 Sem 2

Lecturer: Wu ShangYuan

Tutor: Irene Hoe

Overall rating: 8/10


Description of module

  • This module is about writing for the media and it covers different aspects of the media e.g. journalism and PR. You will be given a lot of opportunities to practice your writing during both lectures and tutorials.

  • You have to pay attention in both lectures and tutorials as you will be called on to share your opinion/writing. However, the lecturer and tutor are approachable and willing to help give constructive feedback, so it’s not as intimidating as it seems.


Assessment

  • News article critical assessment: 20%

  • Multimedia feature story: 35%

  • Press release and social media writing: 25%

  • Class participation: 20%


What I liked about the module

I liked that the lecturer and tutor were experienced in the field of journalism so they could give us valuable insight regarding what it’s really like working as a journalist in Singapore. They often shared stories about their experiences and it was really interesting. I also liked how we got to practice writing during each lecture and tutorial. It’s a really great module if you’re planning on working in journalism/PR.


What could have been better about the module

I honestly felt like my tutor was pretty strict in her grading. Other than that, I really enjoyed this module.


Tips and tricks/advise in general when taking this mod

  • Practice and get feedback from the tutor/lecturer.

  • Email them your pitches for your assignments and ask them if it’s feasible, or if they would recommend another idea instead.


5. NM2104: Qualitative Research Methods

Taken in: AY19/20 Semester 2

Lecturer: Shobha Avadhani

Tutor: Wang Xin Yuan

Overall rating: 8/10


Description of module

  • The sister module of NM2103, NM2104 basically covers the various qualitative analysis theories and methods of research. It’s also a compulsory for CNM majors so there’s really no escaping it.

  • 1-hour Lecture (Weekly) and 2-hour Tutorials (Bi-weekly, odd/even week)

  • Pretty straightforward content, mainly about the theories and schools of thought on qualitative research. Lots of readings, but most of them are from the textbooks and aren’t hard to understand so if you manage your time well it should be alright!

  • No final exam (But I heard this may be for Semester 2 only, I’m not sure)


Assessment

  • 4x Practicum Assignments (40%) - Each assignment worth 10% of the total grade

  • Group Project (40%)

  • Class participation (20%)


What I liked about the module

Dr. Shobha has a passion for qualitative research, and often shares about her experience in the field as a researcher. This made her 9am lectures a lot more bearable as she often told stories about her interactions with participants while performing her research and the insights she’s gained from them. Similarly, Ms. Wang was extremely passionate and enthusiastic in explaining to us certain concepts and ideas in qualitative research during tutorials, which made the module far more enriching. It also helped that we had mini practicum assignments to test our knowledge on and become more convincing as researchers! I personally enjoyed delving into the different qualitative research theories that were taught; so I would say it was a pretty interesting module.


Ms. Wang also provided fantastic insights to my group mates and I for our group project which really helped us to focus the scope of our paper and make our research convincing. For a bunch of beginners at qualitative research, we definitely appreciated the help :)


What could have been better about the module

Generally, I don’t have any complaints about this module. The only thing I would have liked better is for lectures to be held in 2-hour slots once every 2 weeks instead of one hour a week at 9am, as I stay far away from school and travelling down to NUS was a chore.


Tips and tricks/advise in general when taking this mod

  • Time Management - Since the practicum assignments are due on a bi-weekly basis, time management is really important in making sure you produce quality work in a short amount of time (while juggling your other modules). I remember only having a few days to write each assignment as my tutor would explain it during tutorials, and it would be due less than one week later!

  • Always ask questions - Since the whole module is CA (Continual assessments) based, it gives you the opportunity to ask your tutor and professor questions along the way for assignments and projects. Make use of the opportunity to clarify doubts and improve your writing! Ms. Wang was super nice and patient in clarifying my doubts for both assignments over email, which I found extremely helpful and really pulled up my grade.

  • Participate in class - Class participation is still a hefty 20% for this module, so it helps if you speak up in class and contribute from time to time. There’s no real right or wrong answer for qualitative research, so just go for it! :)


6. NM2201 - Intercultural Communication

Taken in: AY18/19 Sem 1

Lecturer: Julyn Kang

Tutor: Yuren Qin

Overall rating: 7/10


Description of module

  • This module covers the various concepts and practices revolving around intercultural communication, teaching us how to be better communicators especially when encountering someone with a different cultural background. The module mainly aims to increase both our self and cultural awareness about different cultural contexts through introducing frameworks such as Hofstede’s cultural dimensions, conflict management and ethnocentrism.

  • 8am lectures on Mondays (2 hours), bi-weekly tutorial (odd/even)

  • Heavy content covered during lectures, with Prof Kang breezing through all the different cultural frameworks and issues. It was incredibly hard to stay awake. Also, readings were very heavy if I remember correctly, but you don’t really need to read all of them if you pay close attention during lectures.

Assessment

Can’t remember the exact breakdown as I took the module some time back, but if i recall it was something like this:

  • Reflection Journals (20%)

  • Class participation during tutorials (10%)

  • Group project + presentation during tutorials (20%)

  • Mid-term Exam (20%)

  • Final Exam (30%)


What I liked about the module

In general, I found the topics covered to be fairly interesting and thought-provoking. Prof Kang explains very clearly during lectures (even if it is hard to stay awake) and gives a lot of information on various facets and issues in intercultural interactions. I felt that it was also relevant to be discussing issues such as ethnocentrism, prejudice, and different modes of both non-verbal and verbal communication, given the globalized and culturally diverse world that we live in today. I also liked the fact that the different components of the module were spread out evenly in terms of weightage, so there wasn’t an extremely heavy final paper or anything that we had to cram for.


What could have been better about the module

The amount of readings could have been somewhat reduced. Personally, this module was interesting but also a huge challenge to keep up with because honestly, intercultural communication isn’t a topic you can just summarize in a few readings and there was a lot of new information to understand in a short period of time before we were overloaded with new knowledge at the next lecture.


I also found the group project a little irrelevant (?) because each group was assigned one country to work on and present on their cultural values, etc. I felt that it was interesting to do research but not so relevant because I can’t remember anything retaining any information from that.


Tips and tricks/advise in general when taking this mod

  • Time management - Many readings, not advisable to skip lectures. Hence, make sure you have the willpower to wake up for an 8am lecture every Monday morning or you definitely will miss out on a lot of important information.

  • Don’t take this module if you’re already dealing with a very heavy workload in the semester. It’s offered during the special term, so if you’re interested there’s also the option to read it during summer instead.


7. NM2203 - Social Media Communication Management

Taken in: AY18/19 Sem 2

Lecturer: Adrian Heng

Tutor: Patrick Tay/Adrian Heng

Overall rating: 3/10


Description of module

  • NM2203 basically covers the dynamics of different social media platforms and how to communicate and reach out to your target audience effectively as a communication management, PR or advertising specialist. Interesting module for those who would be interested to pursue a career path in advertising or PR!

  • Topics covered included the impact of social media, various trends and features of social media, social media campaigns and conducting crisis management on social media channels - You do not need to be a social media guru to take this module but you must have a basic understanding of the different platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc).

  • 2-hour lectures on Friday (8am lecture), bi-weekly 2-hour tutorials (odd/even)


Assessment

  • Final exam (30%)

  • LinkedIn assignment + reflection, where we had to create a LinkedIn profile and network to gain 100 connections (20%)

  • Group project + report (30%) - We had to make a fake Facebook page for any brand that we choose (we could even create our own brand or company) and post engaging content (30%)

  • Class Participation = 20%


What I liked about the module

I can’t really think of anything I liked or retained from taking this class. I expected to learn a lot about social media and public relations because I am interested in going into it as a career, but Prof. Heng did very little teaching during lectures. Granted, social media management is more on experience than theories, but his slides were so bare that there was little to discuss or learn about in class. Usually, he would tell some story during lecture and that would be our “learning” for the week. He also made lectures’ attendance compulsory because many of us started to skip classes after a while, and I remember going for lectures very begrudgingly every Friday.


However, I did sort of enjoy the content covered on crisis management, because I found that it was a new area to me and very relevant in our socially-connected world. It was interesting to learn about the various steps that both brands and PR practitioners had to take to deal with the crisis because of how viral and damaging it could get on social media platforms.


What could have been better about the module

The module could have had a better balance between theoretical knowledge and real-life case studies. Although I appreciated Prof Heng sharing his experiences as a founder of a technology start-up, I did feel that having some theory would have been more productive, especially since there was a final exam that we had to sit for. I didn’t like going to lectures and tutorials and not learning anything from them week after week, although I understand that some students did appreciate Prof Heng’s style as compared to how the module was conducted in previous semesters (more theoretical).


Tips and tricks/advise in general when taking this mod

  • I didn’t do fantastic for the module so I really cannot advise. However, keep yourself informed on what’s happening in the social media landscape, by taking online courses on social media management to supplement your knowledge for this module and keep your eyes peeled for real-life case studies on how different brands manage crises. Real-life case studies are extremely important and great to learn from when it comes to social media and PR, and coupled with theories, you’re going to do great in the field :)


8. NM2219Y - Principles of Communication and New Media (MOOC module)

Taken in: AY19/20 Sem 1

Lecturer: Chitra Rajaram

Overall rating: 7/10


Description of module

  • NM2219 serves as an introductory module to the field of communication management, along with the organizational, social and legal contexts where communications management takes place. Topics covered include public relations management, media monitoring and analysis, topics in public relations, ethics, corporate social responsibility, crisis management and issue and reputational management for companies and brands.

  • I took this module during the semester where I was on internship for NM3550Y, so do note that there may be differences in normal semesters for NM2219 with respect to the content covered and the style of teaching as well.

  • MOOC module; weekly online lectures + 3-4 F2F lectures throughout the semester


Assessment

  • Class participation (25%) - both in class and forum participation online

  • Mid-term paper (35%) - Basically answering 2 short essay questions about PR

  • Final project (40%) - We had to take the role of a brand/organization and run a PR campaign for them. After which, we wrote a report and did a presentation on this.


What I liked about the module

Dr. Rajaram is a solid lecturer. She has tons of experience in the industry after working in Mediacorp as a PR practitioner for years, and is sharp and concise in her explanations of the various facets of public relations. She has an excellent way of balancing both PR theories and knowledge along with her real-life experiences and stories. Although most of the classes were conducted online due to the nature of it being a MOOC module, I looked forward to attending her 6pm lectures in school after a day at the office.


I also think the topics covered in the module are highly relevant, and opened my eyes to different aspects of public relations and communication that I didn’t even know existed. Being able to take on the role of a brand/company and use their voice to run a campaign was also a very interesting experience for my group and I. I especially liked the discussion on PR ethics and crisis/issues and reputation management as these were fairly new to me.



What could have been better about the module

No complaints about the module as the content was well-structured. However, the group project was challenging because all of my classmates were also on internship that semester, and it was hard to get people to come together to work on the group project initially.


Tips and tricks/advise in general when taking this mod

  • Go for all the lectures - The module can be rather content-heavy, and going for the lectures will help ensure that you have a solid understanding of the different theories of communications management. I understand that the module may have a final exam in some semesters so this can be quite important.

  • Class participation - Speak up in class! It can be quite intimidating to talk in class because lots of people already have some sort of experience with PR and communications through internships etc, but speaking up will definitely help you be more confident in expressing your ideas and views, which also trains you to be a smarter PR professional in the future.

  • Ask questions about your project, assignments etc so that you don’t end up running a bad campaign or end up missing out on key elements on your campaign. Your lecturers are experienced professionals in the field and will be more than able to guide you on what makes a good campaign/project.


Do let us know if you have any other modules you'd like us to review for 2K modules, or even for our subsequent series on 3K or 4K modules! You can reach us at @nus.cnm on Instagram if you'd like to feature your own module reviews as well :)

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