ES2660 Communicating in the Information Age

Module: ES2660 Communicating in the Information Age

Semester taken: AY 2019/20 Semester 2

Lecturer: No lecturer, module is sectional-based

Tutor: Ms Noor Lyna Binte Zainuddin

Textbook: None

What it is about

This module essentially is the second communication module that CS students have to take. It covers how the Internet has resulted in an explosion of information and also misinformation, which makes critical thinking a necessity when reading information from the Internet. Students will be equipped with the skills to critically assess a piece of information, rather than just take it at face value.

Assessment components

  • CA1 Story-Retelling Group presentation: 5%

  • CA2 Group Project

    • (a) Critical reflection (written): 15%

    • (b) Oral presentation: 10%

  • CA3 Oxford Tutorial

    • (a) Discussion (academic conversation/debate): 10%

    • (b) Essay (written): 30%

  • CA4 Wild Cards Impromptu talk: 15%

  • Class Participation: 15%


As nice as the module description sounds, I have absolutely no idea why CS students have to take this module as part of their programme requirements, instead of focusing on the more technical modules.

To some, this module is a breather from the usual programming modules that CS students are used to taking, but the workload for this module is definitely not light at all. There are 2-hour sessions twice a week, and every few weeks would be one CA component due. Every session also requires active class participation, although it is not as intense as those seen in Business school.

Some of the CAs are conducted orally. For CA1, you are required to prepare a childhood story and critically assess it. Afterwards, by questioning the assumptions made in those childhood stories, your group will then deliver your own version of the same story while addressing the loopholes in the original story. This component was rather tedious as it is conducted very early into the semester and forces you to rethink about your favourite childhood stories.

Subsequent CAs are more mainstream and the main emphasis is on using your critical thinking skills. CA2 requires you to come up with a rubric which rehashes the original rubrics for critical thinking learnt in class, then apply that rubric in a given scenario in a presentation and report that is to be done in 72 hours.

CA3 requires you to research about the given topic and have an academic discussion with your group members in a live setting, then followed by a written essay based on the points brought up during the session. This requires you to think quickly on the spot, while making sure that you remain civil in the debate.

The final CA component is the easiest if you are able to think on the spot quickly. You are given a prompt and 1 minute to prepare, followed by 2 minutes to talk about it. Fortunately due to COVID-19, the preparation time was extended to 5 minutes, which was more than enough time for us to come up with a script to be presented via Zoom. However, the actual CA will require you to stand in front of the class and present.

Overall, I did not like this module at all. It was not so much about having to speak up in class or actually communicate, but rather there was nothing much that can be taken away from this module. Granted, this module focuses on critical thinking, but that is essentially what I have been taught in this class. Everything else is just additional workload to add on to the stress of the semester.

Other information

Assignment workload: A couple of assignments based on the CAs given during the course of the semester.

Project workload: There were no projects.

Readings: None

Recommended if: A compulsory module for CS students, no one else should be taking this, really.

Rating: 1.0/5. Very little takeaway from the module, but the module itself is very well organised.

Expected grade: B+

Actual grade: S (actual: B+)

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