29 May 2017 - NUS Computing faculty members have been honoured for their excellence in teaching at the 2017 Annual Teaching Excellence Awards (ATEA) Ceremony, held on 15 May at the University Hall Auditorium.
A/P Huang Ke-Wei, A/P Leow Wee Kheng, Dr. Henry Chia, Dr. Lek Hsiang Hui and Dr. Seth Gilbert each received the Annual Teaching Excellence Award, which is awarded to faculty members who have demonstrated excellence in teaching. In addition, Dr. Zhou Lifeng was inducted into the Honor Roll for having been a three-time ATEA recipient.
Emphasising the importance of making things simple, clear and easy to understand for his students, A/P Leow said that he would rather distil the essence than get bogged down by details, when he teaches. He also stressed that he teaches what he practises. “Many of my teaching examples hail from the real world. I make my students realise that what they learn is relevant to them, not just in the present, but also in the future. And I avoid using abstract examples that are detached from the real world.”
Provost and Deputy President (Academic Affairs) Prof. Tan Eng Chye and A/P Huang Ke-Wei
A/P Huang shares a similar teaching philosophy. He said, “I will demonstrate why and how the subject I am teaching is useful in the real world to motivate students to learn.” He added that he tries to make his assignments and projects engaging so that students will develop an interest in the subject and continue their learning in the future. “When I prepare my lecture slides, I will google extensively to look for valuable teaching materials. I will pick examples and diagrams such as charts and tables that are interesting for the students. I will also find relevant YouTube videos to explain the concepts in my class.” A/P Huang said that his teachers played a major role in motivating him to be an inspiring teacher himself. He elaborated, “My teachers in the U.S paid attention to making their Powerpoint slides interesting and lectures more interactive. They also motivated students to engage in self-study. In other words, they cared about the fun factor during the learning process.”
Prof. Tan and Dr. Lek Hsiang Hui
Like A/P Huang, Dr. Lek drew inspiration for his teaching philosophy from his experiences as a student at NUS Computing. He recalled that his instructors then, including Dr. Colin Tan and Mr. Aaron Tan, would ask the students to address them by their first names, which created a sense of friendship between students and teachers. He said that that is the kind of relationship he hopes to create with his students, where they can easily approach him to talk about anything. He elaborated, “I make sure that students find it easy to contact me, be it through a face-to-face meeting, email or Facebook.” In recent years, Dr. Lek has endeavoured to create more varied learning experiences in class for students such as conducting interactive demos, in-class exercises and e-lectures, instead of relying solely on Powerpoint to deliver content to his students.
ATEA nominees are assessed on a wide range of criteria including student feedback, student assessment design, teaching range, module development, project supervision, educational leadership activities and professional development.