1 October 2018 – Three NUS Computing faculty members were presented with the Annual Teaching Excellence Award (ATEA) on 28 September 2018 for their high level of commitment to teaching.
Associate Professor Martin Henz, Associate Professor Ng Teck Khim and Dr Lek Hsiang Hui were each awarded the ATEA for Academic Year 2016/2017. This is Dr Lek’s second consecutive win, and A/P Henz’s and A/P Ng’s first time receiving the award.
Nominees are assessed on a wide range of criteria, such as student feedback, student assessment design, teaching range, module development, project supervision, educational leadership activities and professional development.
A/P Martin Henz, winner of both the ATEA and the Faculty Teaching Excellence Award (FTEA) for Academic Year 2016/2017, is a strong advocate of experiential learning. He introduced a gamified learning platform, Source Academy, to the freshmen programming module CS1101S Programming Methodology. The platform immerses students into a spaceship environment where they can engage with the content taught in a fun and meaningful way.
At the Faculty of Engineering, A/P Henz initiated numerous design-centric and hands-on undergraduate projects where he challenged students to build land, water and airborne vehicles. A/P Henz also started NUS Seafarers, a series of seafaring voyages for NUS students from various faculties to engage in multi-disciplinary learning. He has led four of five voyages, and has brought more than 60 students from six faculties on various adventures.
“When students have meaningful experiences with learning, their interest in the subject and retention of content improves. Thus I try to create meaningful experiences in my modules, student projects and activities, Which hopefully along the way, will ignite a love for computing, for building things, for the sea, and most of all, a love for learning that can last a lifetime,” said A/P Henz.
A/P Ng Teck Khim’s teaching philosophy is to challenge himself to explain and teach very difficult concepts in the simplest way. The three-time FTEA winner and FTEA Honour Roll Recipient ensures that basic concepts are well taught and that his students have a strong foundation in the fundamentals. “The biggest joy of teaching is to see my students understand a difficult concept well,” said A/P Ng.
Beyond helping his students understand their lecture content, A/P Ng also works to prepare his students to meet future challenges. “Strong fundamentals are a necessary ingredient to meet future changes and challenges,” explained A/P Ng. “I believe in unleashing the potential of good students, while placing equal importance on students who as not as academically strong.”
Having passionate and inspiring colleagues who share their experiences and teaching methods have also inspired A/P Ng in improving his own teaching. “It is an honour to receive the nomination and it has motivated me to do better. There are many excellent and deserving teachers in NUS Computing. Winning this award is a bonus I accept with humility because there is so much more I can improve on,” A/P Ng added.
Dr Lek Hsiang Hui, FTEA Honour Roll recipient, shares that his teaching philosophy is to establish a connection with his students, and to create an informal learning environment for his students. He encourages students to share their feedback about his teaching methods, and to learn together with his students. “I try my best to maintain a connection with my students even beyond the semester. I’m sure that we will learn from them someday when they are in the industry,” said Dr Lek.
Inspired by his colleagues’ teaching methods, Dr Lek hopes to conduct lessons that will inspire students to learn and pique their interest in the subject. “I’m always impressed with Dr Tan Wee Kek’s dedication for teaching and I’m thankful for A/P Ben Leong’s help in challenging me to rethink the way I view teaching and the reason why we teach,” Dr Lek added. “I am humbled by this award and winning the award would not be possible without the many colleagues who helped me along the way, and my students who have been supportive and willing to connect with me in order to learn together.”