The Project Work (PW) Department’s vision is to develop every Pioneer to become an inquiring, confident and effective team player, and to inculcate in every Pioneer the department’s core values of ‘Having a Sense of Commitment’, ‘Seeking Continuous Improvement’, and ‘Influencing Thinking and Change.’ These are in line with the outcomes of a 21st Century education.
With the changing media landscape and evolving social trends, rise of social media and plethora of citizen journalism platforms, students need to be increasingly equipped with the skills to engage in/with issues and process information that is presented in a manner that is less structured, not subject-specific and open-ended. Learning no longer stops at the acquisition of knowledge, but the development of the skills to seek, acquire and manage the knowledge that is available in great abundance but in a flux.
Students need to understand that in the real world, no one works alone and the conception of insightful ideas and the implementation of effective solutions are usually a result of an effective team. In order to maintain a competitive edge, the skills to generate, analyse, evaluate ideas, design and implement research in an effective and useful manner are critical.
Innovations in Singapore already point us in this direction:
“Pull TV is Here!”
In 2012, a team of NTU computer science researchers conceived and developed the idea of Social Cloud TV, where TV shows can be “pulled” onto our mobile device so that we can continue to watch it on the go. Content can also be ‘thrown back’ to share the show with others and friends on our phonebook and other social networking platforms can be invited to watch on their own devices. This is quickly attracting the attention of pay TV operators and it may not be long that we are able to “pull” with our current TVs and mobile devices!
"The Lantern that Lit the Way!"
In 2012, a research duo at NTU created a device, called the occluder, to plug a hole in the heart for cardiologists so that they can keep the heart open while an operation is being carried out by adapting the design from the Chinese paper lantern. The occluder enters the body sheathed in a thin tube, travelling through an artery into the heart. Once it reaches its intended destination, it opens up like two folded umbrellas on both sides of the hole and pulls them together creating a tight seal. After the seal is formed, cells will start to build around the top of the umbrella. When enough cells gather to close the hole, the biodegradable umbrella dissolves, leaving behind a healthy heart.
“Pollen to replace synthetic microcapsules”
Research team from NTU collaborated with Samsung Medical Centre to develop method to remove materials inside pollen grains, leaving behind empty shells that can be used to encapsulate drugs in 2018. Since pollen grains are readily available and can be ingested, it can be used as a replacement for synthetic microcapsules, which are also more costly to manufacture. This results in a cheap and sustainable method that makes use of something little thought of in our natural environment as a solution.
The department hopes that with the skills that we equip our students, they can go on to continue to hone the skills to become an effective team player, and later on, a team leader as well.