The NUS Global Campus IT Strategic Plan identified the thrust of intensifying
the use of Information Technology (IT) in teaching and learning for NUS.
As part of the implementation of this strategic thrust, a coordinated
effort to accelerate and enhance the infrastructure to support IT in teaching
and learning was needed. The Centre
for Instructional Technology (CIT) was born out of this pursuit. It
embodies the effective use of technology to improve the teaching and learning
processes. It also recognizes the importance of adequate support to be
made available to academic staff in order to overcome the seemingly ominous
task of building online courseware.
The mission of CIT is to provide a robust and supportive environment
for the exploration, development and application of digital technologies
to promote teaching and learning. This involves:
- Creating a greater awareness of the potential of IT in enhancing
- Supporting lecturers with the means to incorporate new media in their
- Encouraging the creation of digital content and development of new
teaching and learning applications, as well as
- Defining and developing new services central to instructional technology
CIT is sub-divided into the following function groups:
INTEGRATED VIRTUAL LEARNING ENVIRONMENT (IVLE)
launched in November 1998, is part of the Global Campus initiative to
facilitate the use of IT in teaching and learning. Spearheaded by Computer
Centre, the development of IVLE was taken over by CIT to promote and accelerate
the deployment of this environment. The development of IVLE within CIT
also provides better synergy with the other sub-units, thereby enabling
CIT to fulfill its goal.
Within IVLE, lecturers can:
- Supplement the classroom experience by providing online materials
(e.g. course outlines, references, assessment, etc.) for students,
- Make use of the wide array of web-based tools and the Digital Media
Gallery to digitise their course materials,
- Communicate with students by linking up to class discussion forums,
chat rooms, class distribution lists, quizzes and workbins, as well
- Expand students’ international exposure by providing links
to overseas courseware resources.
The CIT Courseware Development
group supports lecturers in the generation of online courseware. Activities
range from basic course outlines to complex multimedia courseware productions,
tapping on the diverse skills of CIT support staff.
We work with NUS academic staff to provide:
- Assistance in developing a plan for the effective use of IT in your
- Workshops and forums on a wide range of educational topics and multimedia
- Media conversion services to digitise your text, images, sound, and
video for instructional and teaching purposes, and
- A Smart Classroom that uses sophisticated digital technologies for
The Courseware Development
group also oversees the management of the Student IT Assistance Scheme
where student IT assistants will be suitably trained with the requisite
skills and assigned to help staff in courseware development. The assistantship
is a complimentary service designed to assist academic staff in publishing
of web-based course materials. This will enable staff to focus on course
content and let the student assistants deal with the technical task of
building such online courseware for the Web.
The Student IT Assistant can:
- Help you create your detailed courseware on the Web based on your
- Mount the detailed courseware into your web course directory in your
- Help you create a course outline on IVLE and link it to your detailed
courseware, as well as
- Show you how to maintain your detailed courseware and course outlines.
MULTIMEDIA PRODUCTION AND CONFERENCING
CIT currently provides various services in the area of video production,
photography, audio-visual duplication and multimedia conferencing. Much
of these services are expanding from their current analog bases to more
digital ones. This translates to a wider array of services that will encompass
commonly used digital and analog formats for the University community.
Multimedia production covers
video programme integration and video recording in two analog formats
(Beta SP and SVHS ) and, in the near future, digital based video integration
and recording as well as digital audio recording. Video programme production
covers corporate, informational and instructional varieties. High priority
is given to video programmes that would be used for multimedia integration
on CD-ROM or in web-based teaching and learning. CIT’s professional
crew also assists NUScast in multi-camera recordings for the purpose of
Intranet or Internet broadcasts. Video recording is done at various levels
of sophistication and ranges from diverse on-site and studio-based configurations
as well as interactive video. CIT is currently refining its non-linear
video post-production set-up to accommodate innovative and effective formation
of instructional video programmes. This advancement in infrastructure
thereby promotes the deployment of digital media for teaching and learning
Video conferencing, which
NUS pioneered among the tertiary institutions in Singapore seven years
ago, is fast expanding to ‘multimedia’ conferencing as CIT
upgrades from the standard of H.320 to H.323 for Intranet and Internet
delivery. Multimedia conferencing is more versatile as it incorporates
audio, video and data communication on the digital platform. Currently,
CIT is leading a local and regional effort to configure and test the use
of H.320 codecs for H.323 applications. CIT has also recognised that basic
audio-visual applications are different between video production recordings
and those for multimedia conferencing. ‘Line of sight’ and
‘sense of presence’ are vital for the latter. The Computer
Centre Auditorium is currently being refurbished with sophisticated equipment
for the delivery of proficient multimedia conferencing.
Another service from the Multimedia Production group is photography,
including analog and digital formats for on-site shootings, studio-based
camera capture and slide making. Video duplication services cater to most
conventional video formats. CIT aims to extend this service to cross platform
transfers between analog and digital formats. Audio duplication is available
for cassette-based material. We are targeting digital audio-based services
in the near future.
CIT is committed to maintaining the leadership role in multimedia conferencing
and production technology and will undertake to exploit available expertise
to the fullest.
NUScast is a network TV application
available on the NUS Intranet. NUScast was launched in November 1998 to
provide a channel to broadcast educational and entertainment programmes
within NUS*. The entertainment and news programmes include CNN, BBC and
Discovery Channel that are licensed from Singapore Cable Vision and Channel
News Asia. A radio channel produced and managed by NUSSU (NUS Student
Union) is also available on NUScast. With informational and news broadcast
at your figure tips, you can expand your repertoire of knowledge simply
by clicking your mouse.
NUSLive is another service under NUScast. As the name suggests, NUSLive
screens live lectures, talks, conferences and seminars conducted within
NUS. Not only can students watch their lectures live on the Intranet,
they can also view the lecture materials that are in PowerPoint simultaneously.
NUSLive further enriches the classroom experience by having broadcast
lectures archived in a Multimedia-on-Demand (MoD) server. Students can
refer to the lectures at their own time and pace from their desktops or
notebooks. Another benefit of NUSLive is that it alleviates the resources
required to hold repeated lectures for modules with large enrolment.
Pilot broadcasts of lectures
through NUSLive were held from January to March 1999. More than 40 lectures/seminars
were aired during the pilot trial and the feedback gained was positive
and constructive. The pilot broadcasts were archived in the MoD server
and are now accessible from the NUS Intranet web site at URL http://mod.nus.edu.sg/.
Implementation of the live broadcast on a larger scale is scheduled in
July 1999. We aim to broadcast the lectures of an entire module/course
For more information our NUScast services, visit our Web page at: https://online.nus.edu.sg/nettv/.
*The network TV application is configured using the
Microsoft NetShow software on NT platform. The TV programmes are fed into
the Netshow Encoder PC equipped with a Intel Smart Video Encoder card
into Advanced Streaming Format (ASF) for multicast on NUSNET. Client PCs
access the programmes through a web interface using the MS Media Player
software. The broadcast of multimedia contents over Intranet or Internet
is commonly known as ‘Webcast’.