Enhancing the quality of teaching and learning in SP


The department spearheads and drives the following initiatives:

SP is the first educational institution in Asia to be a CDIO collaborator in 2004 and has implemented the CDIO framework in its engineering courses successfully in 5 faculty schools and 15 diplomas since 2007. CDIO stands for Conceiving – Designing - Implementing - Operating (CDIO), the 4 key stages that represent most engineering activities. Central to CDIO is an engineering education framework developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and adopted by more than 50 universities worldwide.

The CDIO™ INITIATIVE focuses strongly on student projects and features active and collaborative learning experiences in both classrooms and workshops or laboratories. It provides students with an education stressing engineering fundamentals set in a context of Conceiving, Designing, Implementing and Operating real-world systems and products. Developed with input from industry, engineers, alumni and faculty, CDIO equips our students with the technical knowledge, personal and professional skills, and design build experiences to be adaptable and resourceful, good communicators, work comfortably within a team, and have a good blend of theoretical knowledge and practical skills to develop solutions for engineering problems.

Two key elements of the CDIO Initiative are the CDIO Syllabus and the twelve CDIO Standards. The CDIO Syllabus contains specific learning outcomes of the set of desired skills of an engineer while the CDIO Standards defines the distinguishing features of the CDIO curriculum which can be used to serve as a benchmark with other engineering programs.

In 2010, SP was awarded the Excellence in Education and Training in Chemical Engineering by IChemE (S’pore) for adopting the CDIO framework to deliver the best educational experience to students.

More information can be download via the CDIO module in Blackboard

To be relevant in the workplace, our graduates have to be able to conceive innovative solutions based on real user needs. The Design Thinking process of empathy study of users, ideation, and quick prototyping and co-creation is adopted to strengthen students’ conceiving and designing skills of the CDIO framework.

Recommended by Singapore’s Economic Strategies Committee, Design Thinking uses a range of skills and practices to identify unmet needs and opportunities to create solutions that matter to people. This methodology has been successfully applied not only to technology problems, but also to businesses and social innovations.

Design thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer's toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” —Tim Brown, president and CEO

Design Thinking is especially useful for solving challenging problems in our constantly changing world today. Problems which are ill-defined with incomplete, contradictory and changing requirements that are often difficult to recognize and which are interrelated in complex ways. Globalisation, climate change, water security, aging populations and healthcare challenges are just some of the complex problems that we and our students will face in this 21st century.

In 2010, Singapore Polytechnic (SP) started to implement Design Thinking into their organisation as well as in selected curriculum. SP created its own Design Thinking framework which consists of four phases and trained lecturers in design thinking workshops and embark on design thinking projects in studio settings.



SP’s Design Thinking Framework

The implementation of design thinking in curriculum takes form in the development of multi-disciplinary projects (MDP) where 2nd year students collaborate with other students from different disciplines to work on real-world issues using the design thinking approach. Through MDP, students not only learn the skills of design thinking but also learn to work in teams just as they would after they graduate.

Students work on issues of topics which range from elderly care, health care, social spaces to social innovation. The MDP see students presenting their various prototypes and good solutions will later continue as students’ final year projects, some of which were highly commended during the recent SPINNOVEX event in January 2011 where good innovative projects were showcased.

More information can be download via the Design Thinking module in Blackboard


The department spearheads SPs initiatives in e-learning and promotes the use of IT in education.

Collaborating closely with the various e-learning committees, schools and departments, we conceptualise and enhance the implementation of blended learning and teaching approaches. We conduct workshops and provide pedagogical and technical expertise in the design, development and implementation of online content.

The department also manages the polytechnic's enterprise learning system (Blackboard). We offer evaluation and recommendation of relevant software and applications to enhance and support the curriculum.