Teaching Enhancement Grant (TEG) TALKS 2013

November 2013


Facilitating discussions on education research and enhancements in teaching and learning amongst NUS faculty members

Date: 19 Nov 2013 (Tues)







Learning of Human Anatomy : Man verses Machine

Dr Ang Eng Tat
Department of Anatomy

Anatomy education is a principal subject within international medical curricula. Nevertheless, in more developed countries and with the paucity of cadavers and anatomy instructors, anatomists have had to supplement the contemporary syllabus with multimedia. We want to elicit the user-preferences and acceptability of learning anatomy through cadaveric prosections and multimedia software, using a 5-point Likert scale. 56 M1 students (class size – 300) and 80 LSM1 students (class size – 130) completed the retrospective survey and were included in the study. Both cohorts were taught using cadaveric prosections and multimedia software. Subsequently, these students’ feedback on the 2 different teaching pedagogies; prosections alone, and prosections augmented with multimedia, were analyzed. All results were tabulated and p value was calculated using Fisher’s exact test. A p value < 0.05 was the cut-off for statistical significance. M1 students preferred cadaveric prosections over multimedia learning for organs and tissue recognition, as well as the comprehension of general physiology (p ≤ 0.001). Similarly, LSM1 students preferred cadaveric prosections to multimedia learning for the same objectives (p ≤ 0.003). However, all students preferred multimedia learning to cadaveric prosections for self-guided independent study and integration with specific physiology domains (p = 0.001). It appears that students want the best of both approaches in studying the subject.

Presentation Slides




Earth-writing in Japan: Matching Methods and Aims in the Field

Dr Chris McMorran
Department of Japanese Studies


Many academic fields recognize the benefits of taking students into the field, namely allowing them to see previous knowledge in a new light, experience a more intimate level of learning, and build a learning community with their peers. However, in order to maximize the return on the investment of time, energy and money involved in any field experience, a leader must provide opportunities for active learning, collaboration, improved communication, critical thinking, and more. This requires forcing students to do more than simply pass through and observe a particular location. Instead, they must be given opportunities to reflect on and, as I argue, leave their mark on the earth. In this paper, I focus on three learning activities that each constitute “earth-writing” - mapping, reflective writing, and presenting one’s findings - that I have used in a 10-day field study course in Japan, conducted annually since 2011 with a total of 33 students. I explain these activities and provide examples of student work and student feedback on each as a learning experience. I highlight the benefits of these practices, as well as the challenges faced in their implementation.

Presentation Slides




The study on application of podcast and vodcast in teaching CFL beginners

A/P Chin Kwee Nyet & Ms Lin Chiung Yao
Centre for Language Studies


The application of using podcast and vodcast in language teaching and learning has since been attracting more attention to language teachers. Some studies of podcasting and vodcasting in language teaching and learning have thus far been conducted on European and some Asian languages (Abdous, M & et al. 2009; Chan & Chi, 2009; Chin & et al. 2010); whereas nearly none has been done on the Chinese language. The Chinese Language Programme of the Centre for Languages Studies at the National University of Singapore started a developmental project on podcasting in September 2009 and vodcasting in January 2011. This project intends to explore the possibilities and implications of podcasting and vodcasting technologies in Chinese language teaching and learning, namely how podcasting and vodcasting technologies can be harnessed to create supplementary podcast and vodcast lessons, and how effective it is to strengthen learners’ listening and speaking skills, and their knowledge of sentence structures. There are 400 students from beginner Chinese courses involved in this project. A questionnaire was administered to students after a semester of supplementary podcast and vodcast lessons. This paper will look at the background of the podcast and vodcast project, the pedagogical considerations behind the design of the podcast and vodcast lessons, and the included learning contents. It will also report on the results of the analysis of the quantitative and qualitative data.

Presentation Slides




Achieving interactive and participative teaching and learning with Augmented Reality (AR) technology

A/P Ong Soh Khim
Department of Mechanical Engineering

Lectures are a common method of delivering lessons which are unfortunately a one-way street of communication. Enhancing the interactive and participative aspect of lecture-based teaching and learning is instrumental in engaging students. This project achieves this by allowing lecturers and students to interact directly with presentation slides using common everyday devices, e.g., a laser pointer. The developed system frees the lecturers from having to stand close to the computer hosting the presentation or having to carry a control device and allows students to take part in polls/quizzes by selecting answers through pointing on the presentation screen directly using laser pointers. 

Presentation Slides




Using Interactive Learning Tool to Enhance Class Participation and On-the-spot Feedback: A Method to Address Quiet Students and Students with Irregular Attendance

Dr Andi Sudjana Putra
Dean’s Office Faculty of Engineering

Curricula and lectures/lessons are not sufficient in achieving the goal of education. Another very significant component is student engagement, which has been increasingly recognized as important factor in higher education. The traditional lecture-only format, or small variations of it, is losing its prevalence in the classroom and is replaced with mixed delivery methods which minimizes lecturing and which requires in-class participation and interaction. 


We will present our work to increase student engagement by introducing interactivity in class using:

  • Interactive monitoring of student attention in the class
  • Using relevant apps as integral teaching tools in the class

Presentation Slides




Classification in Second Language Tests with Artificial Neural Networks

Dr Seyed Vahid Aryadoust
Centre for English Language Communication


This study reports a novel application of a class of artificial neural network (ANNs) model to second language tests of reading and writing. Multiple variables were defined and hypothesized to classify the primary dependent variable, test item difficulty and performance. Next, a matrix of these variables was developed and subjected to ANN modeling which classified the dependent variable by using several of the explanatory variables. In general, ANNs appears to be a promising tool in language and educational assessment; further applications and avenues for research are discussed.


Keywords: artificial neural network (ANN); item difficult; reading test; test performance; writing test

Presentation Slides




Competency-based Simulation Assessment: The use of simulated patient for Integrated learning and assessment

Mr Tan Khoon Kiat, Ms Sabrina Palham & Ms Rabiah Mohd Dawood
Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies


Prior to this project, assessment of the clinical skills for student nurses was mainly focused on technical skill competency and performed on rubber manikins in the nursing laboratories. With TEG funding, the team was able to (1) develop and test a simulation-based assessment tool that assesses six core competencies, to reflect the comprehensive demand that are expected of a Registered Nurse as determined by Singapore Nursing Board; (2) examine the use of simulation-based scenario in an assessment; and (3) explore the learning, if any, for senior student nurses who were trained to act as simulated patients. This team will present the findings and will also share the impact of this project on the way clinical skills are now assessed in the Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies.


(Other members of the team: Dr Liaw Sok Ying, Dr Sandra Mackay & Dr Jeanette Ignacio, Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies)

Presentation Slides




An e-learning Program as an Adjunct to Simulation Training for enhancement of Acute Nursing Care Competency

Dr Liaw Sok Ying

Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies

Virtual patient has grown substantially in healthcare education. A computer-based virtual patient was developed as a refresher training course to reinforce clinical performance in assessing and managing deteriorating patients.  The aim of this study is to determine the effectiveness of the virtual patient simulation when compared with hands-on experience on patient simulator for improving and retaining clinical performances, following a high-fidelity simulation course on rescuing a patient in deteriorating situation. A randomized controlled study was conducted. Fifty-seven third year nursing students were randomized to either Virtual Patient or Patient Simulator for a 2-hr refresher training course on rescuing a patient in deteriorating situation. Our finding did not demonstrate superiority of any learning strategy. Virtual patient simulation appears to be as effective as the hands-on simulation for improving clinical performance in assessing and managing clinical deterioration.  Given the flexibility, practicality and scalability of the virtual patient simulation, this technology seems to provide a more promising training for refreshing clinical performance.

Presentation Slides




Characterizing effects of hospice fieldtrip on holistic professional development among undergraduate dental students – An assessment of trans-disciplinary pedagogy between dentistry and social work
Dr Hsu Chin-Ying, Stephen

Faculty of Dentistry


The changing landscape in healthcare and the significant decline in professional ethics have been seriously discussed among the medical/dental educators in the last few decades. “Cheating is common, as any dental educator or administrator can attest”, said Charles Bertolami, the Dean of UCSF dental school (Bertolami, 2004). To address this issue, a 3-hour hospice fieldtrip/program was set up in the Faculty of Dentistry (NUS) to expose the final-year dental students to the end-of-life perspective in 2003 with the aim of provoking students to reflect on their fundamental motives in pursuing health care profession. A small CDTL grant has enabled the team to conduct the qualitative assessment of the program in 2012 and a few interesting results have been published. This talk will focus on showcasing the FOD-NUS Hospice program, the major impacts on students’ learning and professional training qualitatively characterized, and the reflection of students and the teacher on this journey.

Presentation Slides




Acquisition of medical immunology knowledge: Analysis of the knowledge structures of medical students

Dr Charles Gullo



In order to develop methods to ascertain long-term working memory and lifelong learning, we have explored the use of knowledge structures with medical students in their pre-clinical learning environment. We chose to do this with the immunology course, a concept driven but high fact-content  containing discipline delivered at a fast pace over a short period of time.  In this presentation, we describe the study and the initial findings we have obtained that we hope leads to further interest in this fascinating but underdeveloped area of study.

Presentation Slides








April 2013


Facilitating discussions on education research and enhancements in teaching and learning amongst NUS faculty members

Date: 23 Apr 2013 (Tues)






Imagining Vietnam: The Juxtaposition of Space and Place in Vietnam War era imagery

  • Mr Walter Patrick Wade
    Centre for English Language Communication

The University Town Ideas and Exposition Programme adopts a content-specific approach to writing pedagogy, asking students to enter into ongoing academic conversations as a means of motivating significant, research-based expository essays. To achieve this goals, lecturers in the writing unit are asked to bring their research into the I&E classroom. In this TEG talk, I will present some of my research findings relating to Vietnam War era photojournalism, which were given at the 2012 National Communication Association Annual Convention, and show how they can benefit pedagogy in the writing classroom by modeling critical media and visual literacy.




Presentation Slides



Writing Hub Consultations and their Impact on Writing Revision

  • Dr Deng Xudong
    Centre for English Language Communication

Peer tutoring, as an integral part of the process approach to the teaching of writing, is the predominant writing centre pedagogy. Despite the prevalence of writing centres in post-secondary institutions in different parts of the world, very little research has been done to explore how successful peer tutoring is in helping student writers become better writers (Bell, 2000). Most writing centre evaluations have thus been restricted to the use of the number of student visits and surveys of students’ degree of satisfaction with the service provided. Most lacking is the examination of actual revisions made by student writers after their peer tutoring sessions in the writing centre, with the exception of Williams’ study (2004) on second language writers in a writing center in a U.S. university setting. This paper reports on a study that examines the interactional patterns of peer tutoring in a writing centre context and aims to find out whether there is any link between such interactional patterns or tutor behaviors and student writers’ subsequent revision of their drafts. Specifically, the study examines the interactions between 10 student writers and their respective peer tutors in an attempt to see whether their interactional behaviours have any impact upon the student writers’ subsequent revisions of their drafts.



Presentation Slides


Blogging as Part of the Reading into Writing Process

  • Dr Lee Ming Cherk
    Centre for English Language Communication

The blog is often touted as a teaching and learning platform which promises greater interactivity among student writers and enhanced interest levels. In that process, it should also enable students to develop their written fluency and ability to express ideas. However, reality reveals that the blog alone cannot do this. This paper discusses how blogs can be systematically integrated into the reading-into- writing process to turn students into better writers. It also assesses what can or cannot be achieved with the blog as a learning platform. The background of this study is an Academic English course for first-year university students in Singapore. The study investigates students’ views about the blog as a platform for giving responses to readings, and for reviewing peers’ work. It also compares the efficacy of online peer feedback vis-à-vis face-to-face teacher feedback. Information is based on survey findings and an analysis of blog discussions.

Presentation Slides


Extending classroom learning through social media space

  • Dr Jeffrey Mok
    Centre for English Language Communication

Facebook has become a big part in the social lives of college students (Junco, 2011). However, what do students really get out of these social media tools when evaluated against the learning and teaching goals of education? This presentation looks at the relationship between learning and social media. Two research questions are asked: How do students rate their learning experience when using the Facebook component course and why do students use Facebook for learning. The methodology involved a survey of 48 students. Key findings include the ease of use, communication tool, social factor and the “push” notion of learning.




Presentation Slides


Web-based toolkit for enhanced learning experience in digital fundamentals courses

  • Dr Akash Kumar
    Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering

In this project, we developed a web-based toolkit, a light-weight application and an automated VHDL source checking system, which is targeted to enhance the learning experiences of students specifically in a course of digital fundamentals. The toolkit allows students to draw circuits and analyse their behaviour easily. The light-weight application allows students to write the hardware description of the circuits and simulate them easily. Additionally, the use of automated source checker gives students immediate feedback about their designs. With that they are able to try multiple designs with ease and improve their understanding and learning.



Presentation Slides


Visualising Quantum Physics using MathematicaTM

  • Mr Andreas Dewanto
    Department of Physics

We incorporate MathematicaTM into introductory quantum mechanics course as a term-project in order to help student visualise the evolution of quantum phenomena for better appreciation and understanding toward the subject. At the end of the project, a brief survey was conducted to gauge the success of the initiative. Despite the students’ initial hurdle to pick up the software, their responds were generally positive at the end of the semester. The execution, challenges faced, assessment mode of the project, and the detailed outcome of survey will be addressed in my talk.



Presentation Slides


Enhancing the teaching and application of neuroanatomical localization with a concise Precis tool

  • Dr Kevin Tan
    Department of Medicine

  • Medical students find Neuroanatomical localization (NL), a key topic in Neurology, intimidating and inadequately taught. To help medical students, a concise Précis for NL was developed and its effectiveness evaluated.
    Second-year medical students were taught how to use both the Précis and standard textbook algorithms (control) to perform NL. Students were randomized into 2 groups (Précis or control) and evaluated with extended-matching questions on NL using only their assigned tool.
    A total of 194 out of 195 answer scripts (Précis, n=94; control, n=101) were analyzed. Mean percentage test scores were significantly higher for the Précis group compared to controls (42.5% vs 37.0%, p=0.014, difference=5.5% [95% CI 1.1 - 9.8]); the effect size was 0.36.
    Our study showed that the Précis was effective and superior to standard textbook algorithms in assisting medical students in performing NL.



Presentation Slides


Learning Data Structures and Algorithms with Unified and Interactive Visualization
Dr Steven Halim
Department of Computer Science



We present a unified and interactive web-based visualization of various classical and non-classical algorithms at http://www.comp.nus.edu.sg/~stevenha/visualization.
Our collection of algorithm visualizations has the following advantages over many other web-based algorithm visualizations in the Internet - 1) It has visualizations of various non-classical algorithms that currently cannot be found elsewhere in the Internet. 2) It is interactive; Users (usually students) can enter their own input data to test the behavior of the algorithm. 3) It has a consistent user interface across different algorithm visualizations that are currently available. 4) It is built with HTML5 making it accessible on modern portable PCs including tablets and smartphones. User studies in two algorithm classes in NUS show that our visualizations is of immense help to some students who prefer to learn visually.




Presentation Slides