3 May 2012
A team of NUS High School students presenting their idea at a DCC class. Before coming out with solutions, the students interviewed relevant people on their needs and requirements.
SELECTED fifth-year NUS High School students are getting a taste of what Engineering students are doing at the NUS Faculty of Engineering's Design-Centric Curriculum (DCC). Currently, 19 high school students have been hand-picked to undergo a pilot programme customised from the DCC launched by the NUS Faculty of Engineering in 2009.
The students are mentored by faculty members from the Engineering Design & Innovation Centre (EDIC) which delivers the DCC at NUS Faculty of Engineering. Grouped into project teams, the students devise practical solutions for real world challenges in healthcare, energy and transportation. The pilot programme aims to nurture not only engineering skills and knowledge but also lifelong skills in the students such as adaptability and ability to cope with uncertainty.
Projects which the NUS High School students are currently exploring include designing a window which is able to let in sunlight yet blocks out the heat; devices that enable speed charging and prolonging battery life of electronic devices but prevents over-charging; designing the ultimate backpack that is roomy, comfortable and light on the back - and even a water bottle that can be easily open by the elderly and the handicapped.
Professor Tham Ming Po, EDIC Director, said: "This programme that we have specially tailored for NUS High School is a condensed version of the DCC offered at the NUS Faculty of Engineering. Like NUS students in the DCC, these NUS High students will be pushed out of their comfort zone as they explore engineering and non-engineering aspects of the problems to propose holistic solutions. More importantly, they will learn how to deal simultaneously with a myriad of challenges and manage uncertainties and ambiguity, giving them the opportunity to learn to adapt to rapidly changing scenarios."
Dr Hang Kim Hoo, Principal, NUS High School said: "Our students have only been on this course since January, but already, I am impressed by their ability to take on challenges of such a complex nature. I can see that this programme will help students build up skills such as working with others and thinking out of the box. The programme will allow these young students to understand, in a deep way, the value of Engineering and Science in a changing world. I am confident these students will grow up to be strong leaders in contributing back to the society."
Miss Tan Boon Xin who has interviewed patients at a polyclinic with her team mates, said: "I attended the talk on this pilot programme and I was hooked immediately. My ambition has been to be a doctor but my experience with the DCC programme has changed this somewhat. I am beginning to appreciate what engineers do. And I realised that being an engineer is closer to what I have always wanted to do, and that is to understand deeper the difficulties patients face when using medical aids and tools, and to find solutions to their problems and needs."
Mr Lee Tze How, whose team has been interviewing avid users of electronic gadgets to understand their needs, shared: "I find the concept behind DCC very appealing, especially the emphasis on finding solutions to real needs. What I find most exciting is that I am actually trying to come out with solutions for current problems. Coming out with innovations for the future is important too, but it is extra gratifying to be able to solve existing problems."
Design-Centric Curriculum at NUS Engineering: http://www.eng.nus.edu.sg/ugrad/dcc/index.html
David Goldberg's talk, Emotional Rescue of Engineering Education: http://www.eng.nus.edu.sg/ero/news/index.php?id=1125
Big Beacon Movement in Singapore: