CDTL    Publications     Subscription     About


This issue of CDTL Brief features articles based on select presentations at the Teaching Workshop on Freshman Seminars conducted by the Faculty of Science on 22 April 2009.

A comment and feedback platform is available at the end of each article—please scroll down to access the platform.


Email the Editor


September 2009, Vol. 12 No. 5

Freshman seminars provide an unparalleled opportunity for first-year students (freshmen) and faculty to explore a scholarly topic of mutual interest together, in a small group setting of about 15 students. Designed with freshmen in mind, students’ intellectual curiosities are sparked as they are orientated into becoming an active member of the NUS intellectual community. Faculty benefits too from interacting directly with a handful of bright and talented new students, which can be inspiring and energising. Obviously, senior students could also benefit from such seminars. In addition to fostering an exciting intellectual environment, the close interaction and early building of rapport between students and staff in these seminars is expected to set the stage for mentoring relationships that could extend to later undergraduate years.

Looking forward, freshman seminars will become an important learning component of residential life in the University Town.

Professor Tan Eng Chye
Deputy President (Academic Affairs) and Provost

Freshman Seminar: A Forum to Learn More by Teaching Less
Professor T. S. Andy Hor
Department of Chemistry,
NUS Teaching Academy Fellow

Many of us tend to ‘over-teach’ because it is very tempting to subscribe to the notion that the more we teach, the more students can learn. Continue reading

FSE1202: Great Discoveries and Inventions
Associate Professor Anjam Khursheed
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering/Engineering Science Programme

A new freshman seminar module in the Faculty of Engineering, FSE1202 “Great Inventions and Discoveries”, gives students opportunities to carry out their own case studies on innovation and conduct their own experiments. Continue reading

Freshman Seminar Module: A Mathematical Experiment
Associate Professor Leong Yu Kiang
Department of Mathematics

When the idea of a freshman seminar module (FSM) was first introduced in AY 2006/07, it was novel to NUS. Continue reading

Promoting Individual Learning Through Small Classes
Professor Satoshi Ogihara
Biological Science, Graduate School of Science Office for International Planning and Programs, International Affairs Board Osaka University, Osaka, Japan

For decades, Japan’s Yutori education, which means ‘relaxed education’ or ‘education free from pressure’, has led to an education crisis characterised by students’ declining academic abilities. Continue reading

Teaching Sustainable Development to Freshmen
Dr Asanga Gunawansa & Dr Kua Harn Wei
Department of Building

A Freshman Seminar in FASS: “Representing War”
Dr Barbara Ryan
University Scholars Programme

Professor John Richardson
Director, University Scholars Programme

At Last, Learning Can Really be Fun!
Vettai Anathanarayanan
Professor Emeritus, Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences McMaster University Ontario, Canada
As new entrants to the university, freshmen have high expectations about the opportunities to learn in a scholarly atmosphere which is different from what they had in their previous education. Continue reading