Innovative ideas by staff win recognition

A simple idea plus passionate people can have great impact. Innovation and Quality Circle (IQC) teams FineTuners and MathWit proved that at the recent Learning Institutions Quality Conference (LIQC). The LIQC is a conference organised by the National University of Singapore to celebrate administrative best practices in the education industry.

FineTurners, made up of staff from School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering (EEE), clinched a gold with their project titled “How do we maximise the potential of students in School of EEE” while School of Mathematics & Science (MS)’s MathWit’s project “Improving the MS Formulae Reference“ took the silver.

SPicy caught up with team leaders Toh Ser Khoon, Deputy Director at EEE and Quek Wei Ching, Senior Lecturer at MS, to find out more about their success.

In fine form (from left): Ser Khoon, Jolyon P Caplin, Ng Kai Meng, Fauziah Bte Othman, Rosa Tan-Wong Ah Hoon and Yuan Zhongxuan are constantly fine-tuning solutions to provide a holistic education, which encompass community activities, for their students.

Project: How do we maximise the potential of students in School of EEE (Gold Award)

SPicy: Tell us more about the project.
Ser Khoon: Our project seeks to find ways to maximise the potential of students in EEE. After much findings from our students and staff, together with the deliberation and understanding of the various conflicting issues, we came up with a three-tiered solution called the Learning-Plus (L+) Program that identified three tiers of students: Top 20%; Middle 65%; and Next 15%.

For each tier, a programme was put together which caters specifically to the characteristics of the students in that tier. For instance, for the top 20% whom we identified as the more capable students, we wanted to “energise” them so that they go beyond academic and CCA excellence and develop a passion to care for and make a difference to the community, and to be involved in higher level engineering work of their choice.

SPicy: What sparked off this project?
Ser Khoon: Our vision is to make our students work-ready, life-ready and world-ready. The team strongly felt that we should focus more on the intrinsic motivation for learning and not emphasise on extrinsic motivation. That way, we would have a better chance of equipping and helping our students acquire the ability to learn the core knowledge and skills needed for immediate employment and further studies. So the solution we came up with had to be purpose-driven, passion-driven and staff-student-driven.

SPicy: How does it feel to have won the Gold Award?
Ser Khoon: We entered the competition to share ideas and better our learning. Winning is secondary but of course, nice. Besides clinching the Gold Award, the team also won the ancillary Best Impact on Innovation Award. Above all, this is a testament to SP’s and EEE’s commitment in contributing towards a culture of innovation and continuous improvement.

Lecturers Sharon Quek and Wei Ching from MathWit team with the new and improved MS Formulae Reference.

Project: Improving the MS Formulae Reference (Silver Award)

SPicy: What is the project about?
Wei Ching: Each time there is an examination, an invigilator has to carry at least 45 of the A4-sized MS Formulae Reference booklets, and 50 answer booklets, weighing a total of 5kg. This can be a burden. Hence, the team came up with an idea to turn the bulky booklet into an A3-sized card, which is lightweight yet durable.

SPicy: Are there future plans for the project?
Wei Ching: An iOS mobile application has been developed to accompany the reference card with Android and Windows versions on the way. There are also plans to extend the formulae to other subjects.

(This is part of our ‘Organisational Excellence’ series where we showcase our excellent award-winning staff teams.)

Published by Dept of Corporate Communications