Education Minister Ong Ye Kung gets up close with Computing@SMU

13 Feb 2018

SMU welcomed Mr Ong Ye Kung, Education Minister (Higher Education and Skills), for a visit to the School of Information Systems (SIS) in the afternoon of 30 January 2018.

The delegation was greeted by SMU President Prof Arnoud De Meyer and SIS Dean Professor Pang Hwee Hwa, as well as several MOE officials.

Caption: SIS Dean Prof Pang Hwee Hwa elaborating on the finer points of the SIS curriculum.

Prof Pang kicked off a series of presentations by providing an overview of SIS revamped curriculum, the new Smart City Management and Technology, SIS graduate employment outcome, and the school’s development plans.

SIS revamped undergraduate curriculum

SIS rolled out its revised curriculum in August 2017 - at the start of the current academic year - which emphasises creating innovative computing and information solutions for business and society. During the first two years of study, the focus is on creating business and social value by developing IT solutions using innovation methods and emerging technologies. New courses such as Information Systems and Innovations, and Business Process Analysis and Solutioning will prepare SIS graduates to translate consumer, enterprise, government and social requirements into innovative IT enabled solutions.

From their third year of study, students will specialise in career tracks based on their aspirations. Building on the skills and knowledge they acquired in the first two years, students will focus on deepening their Consultant & Business Analyst and/or Advanced Technical knowledge during their final two years in these specialisation tracks: Financial Technology, Business Analytics, Digital Business Solutioning, Cybersecurity, Software Development, and Artificial Intelligence.

New major in Smart City Management and Technology

Also launched at the start of the current academic year in August 2017 is the new Smart City Management and Technology major for undergraduates.

The inaugural class of 48 students will undergo their 4-year interdisciplinary major offered by the School of Information Systems in collaboration with the School of Social Sciences. The new major aims to nurture graduates who are able to innovate solutions to urbanisation challenges through application of interdisciplinary knowledge across technology, social sciences and management.

Students will be given experiential learning opportunities to apply the solutions in state-of-the-art smart city initiatives through participation in internships and real-life projects in a selected domain: Mobility, Public Services, Business & Economy, Health & Enabled-Ageing, Home & Environment.

The new major will prepare students for a wide variety of job roles, including IT or management consultants for smart systems, sustainable solutions designer, urban planners, as well as smart systems designer and developer.

SIS graduate employment outcome

Dean Pang said that the highly practical and relevant programmes by SIS have produced job-ready graduates which are appreciated from employers from both the public and private sectors. This is evidenced by the Graduate Employment Survey of SMU alumni who graduated in 2016 which showed that the most significant increase in salary was recorded for SIS graduates.

The survey showed that 2016 SIS graduates achieved a 6.5 per cent increase over the 2015 cohort, receiving $3,897 as the mean gross monthly salary. The median gross monthly salary is $3,600. Those with Cum Laude or better also saw a higher mean gross monthly salary of $4,603 compared to last year’s $3,834.

New degree in Computer Science

Dean Pang also shared that SIS will be launching its new degree programme in Computer Science with its first intake in August 2019. The new degree programme, focusing on IT solution development & management, will address the desire by junior college and polytechnic students who want to attain greater depth in IT skills and knowledge.


Caption: Prof Lau Hoong Chuin shared about the research projects at UNICEN.

Prof Lau Hoong Chuin, Director of Fujitsu-SMU Urban Computing & Engineering Corp Lab (UNiCEN), then shared with Minister Ong the lab’s research efforts, especially in the areas of urban logistics and urban transportation. One of the ongoing projects, in collaboration with the Infocomm Media Development Authority, is to develop and testbed a national AI platform that provides planning as a service for optimising urban deliveries to shopping malls in Singapore.

Caption: Ms Joelle Elmaleh presented on SIS’ Competency Analytics System.

Ms Joelle Elmaleh, Principal Instructor, then gave a demo of the Competency Analytics System which helps faculty and students to focus on competencies rather than purely on grades. The system allows faculty to map course competencies to assessments and provides after each assessment the following insights:

1)         A heat map of the competencies acquired and not acquired by the cohort, which gives faculty another chance to enhance the competency acquisition rate by students.

2)         A personalised dashboard showing each student the extent to which each competency tested in the assessment is acquired. This allows each student to clearly identify the competencies not yet acquired and to focus his/her efforts on those areas of improvement.

Professor Venky Shankararaman, Associate Dean (Education) at SIS, shared about JobSense, which is developed by the Living Analytics Research Centre to help SMU students and alumni develop their career with analytics-generated insights about jobs and skills. JobSense also provides personalised guidance in job search and skills training to maximise users’ potential in the job market.

Caption: SIS students shared about their learning experience at SIS with Minister Ong.

Following the presentations and discussion, Minister Ong interacted with four SIS students, namely Mr Sherman Koa (Year 2), Mr Jerome Lek, (Year 2), Ms Tay Jing Ying, (Year 4), and Mr Tay Shuo Xian, (Year 1). Jing Ying shared about her learning experience in SIS, while Sherman spoke about how he eventually gained admission into SIS through perseverance and hard work.


[Featured photo: Caption: Minister Ong (4th from left) with SMU President Prof Arnoud De Meyer (extreme left), Dean of School of Information Systems Prof Pang Hwee Hwa (extreme right) and SIS students.] 

Last updated on 19 Feb 2018.

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