2 NUS halls running modules for residents (The Straits Times)

Eusoff, Raffles halls develop modules based on their co-curricular programmes

TWO residential halls at the National University of Singapore (NUS) are no longer just places for students to live in or build rag-day floats.

Taking a cue from the residential colleges at University Town, NUS is piloting two modules at Eusoff Hall and Raffles Hall for their residents that will count towards their credits. Both build on the halls’ traditions.

The module at Raffles Hall – exploration in musical production – was developed from its flagship musical show, an annual tradition which started in 1983. Started in January with 15 students, it touches on aspects of mounting a production, from script and songwriting to composing music and managing finances.

The module run by Eusoff Hall – engaging the natural environment in Asean – was inspired by the hall’s annual community-service trip to Cambodia’s Prey Veng province, which has been held since 2005. It drew its first batch of 22 students in January last year and another 30 students this year.

NUS’ six halls are known for their active co-curricular programmes in community work, sports and the arts, while its five newer residential colleges focus more on academic learning.

The students take modules beyond their disciplines on topics like science fiction movies, hidden communities and transiting to adulthood.

NUS’ vice-provost of undergraduate education, Professor Bernard Tan, said the hall modules are meant to provide a more “structured learning experience” to complement the “informal learning” in hall activities.

Students learn practical skills such as writing proposals for sponsorship, and invitation letters.

Like modules at the residential colleges, they are taught at the halls’ seminar rooms in small groups, with students from different faculties.

Third-year accountancy student Michelle Koh, who is taking the Raffles Hall module, said: “I wanted to have a bigger overview of offstage roles like marketing and finances.” The 21-year-old, who has taken part in her hall’s musical productions, said: “There is also more room for creativity and hands-on experience, compared to all the theories in my accountancy courses.”

Third-year civil engineering student Kiral Lin, 23, who took the Eusoff Hall module last year, said: “A lot of my university life revolves around hall, so I found it easier to share my views with my close friends in hall.”

Eusoff Hall’s master, Associate Professor Goh Beng Lan from the Department of South-east Asian Studies, said: “(Students) may know superficially Cambodia’s history, but this module brings them through a deeper knowledge of what the country is like – its history, its political economy and its society from the past to the present. They better understand the context they are going into.”

Raffles Hall’s master, Associate Professor Ho Chee Kong, said its module “gives students an overview of what is happening in the whole production, instead of being involved in only one aspect”.

Prof Ho, who is also the head of composition studies at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, teaches the module with Dr Ho Han Kiat, a resident fellow at the hall.

Prof Tan said NUS will carefully evaluate the learning outcomes of the hall modules before making further plans.