The use of IT for teaching and student learning
has come a long way in the last two decades.
In 1976, when I first joined the Department
of Social Medicine and Public Health (now
known as COFM), I knew IT could help make
learning biostatistics “painless” for our students.
Some of the early IT tools that I had worked with
included the key-punch machine and card sorter
to help students process health data (1976), and
the TRS-80 microcomputer to run statistical
analyses and computer-based MCQ tests (1978).
Over the next few years, I worked on mainframe-
based activities, facilitating a leased-line
link between the SMPH department at Outram
Park and the Computer Centre at Kent Ridge and
teaching students how to use the SAS statistical
package for health data processing and analyses.
In 1985, when SMPH was relocated to Kent
Ridge and became known as COFM, we set up
NUH’s first microcomputer-based teaching
laboratory comprising some 20 PC-AT machines
for biostatistics tutorials. I also began
developing electronic lectures in biostatistics
using IBM’s PC Storyboard software.
In 1990, with the help of the Computer Centre,
we upgraded the COFM teaching laboratory at
NUH to a state-of-the-art computer classroom
comprising 50 networked PCs and printers, three
33” digital/analog display monitors and other
More recently, under the Medical Informatics
Programme, I built an Experimental Distance
Learning Server to evaluate various IT tools for
online delivery of Continuing Medical Education
(CME), including giving remote lectures
over the Internet.