NUS has unveiled three new initiatives designed to encourage students to pursue their passions. NUS Senior Deputy President and Provost Professor Ho Teck Hua announced the Design-Your-Own-Module (DYOM) initiative for undergraduates, aptitude-based admission for entrepreneurial polytechnic graduates and the expansion of the bonus points system to include polytechnic, NUS High School and International Baccalaureate (IB) applicants on 8 February.
Under the DYOM initiative beginning this August, all NUS undergraduates keen on designing their own modules can organise themselves into a group of at least 10 and submit a proposal to the University for review and approval. Students can invite industry leaders and experts to tutor them on a subject, for instance fintech, urban sustainability or fine arts; select modules from edX, a not-for-profit massive open online course provider offering more than 2,100 university-level courses from 89 top universities; or, ideally, design a combination of both.
“The DYOM initiative empowers students to customise their learning experiences. While DYOM modules might not be directly related to a student’s discipline, the knowledge learnt will complement NUS’ rigorous academic curriculum as well as the existing general education modules to give our students a more enriching and stimulating educational experience,” said Prof Ho.
The optional initiative will allow students to take up to four modular credits from their Unrestricted Electives Modules to pursue subjects that contribute to their personal and professional growth. They will select course materials, assignments and assessment criteria under the guidance of an NUS faculty mentor. All DYOM modules will be graded on a Completed Satisfactorily/Completed Unsatisfactorily basis and will not contribute any marks towards a student’s cumulative average point.
Year 1 NUS Arts and Social Sciences student Felix Tan is keen to design a module on helping students be aware of, and develop, their soft skill competencies. “I believe that in the future workforce soft skills will be very important in how they navigate the workforce. Having a module that actually deals with such an intangible subject will actually benefit students a lot and help them better prepare for the future,” he said.
The second initiative is aimed at talented polytechnic graduates who have demonstrated strong entrepreneurial abilities while pursuing their polytechnic education. Each of the five polytechnics can nominate up to 40 promising students, who will be considered for admission to their first-choice course of study in NUS under the Discretionary Admissions Scheme. Polytechnic students admitted under this new scheme stand to gain from NUS’ active industry partnerships and experiential entrepreneurial education.
“We are aware that many polytechnic students are very entrepreneurial and we believe that NUS has the best entrepreneurship ecosystem, so we want these students to take advantage of what we have…making use of BLK71 and NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC), especially those in the region. I think they will benefit a lot from it,” said Prof Ho.
Since 2002, more than 2,800 NOC alumni have established over 370 companies globally, more than a dozen of which have been acquired.
Finally, in an expansion of an initiative introduced last year awarding bonus admission points to A-Level students applying for their first-choice programmes in order to encourage them to pursue their passions, polytechnic, NUS High School and IB students will similarly receive bonus points for their first-choice courses. The initiative saw 9 per cent more A-Level applicants offered admission to their top choice courses in 2018. A preliminary analysis revealed that these 700 students are doing as well as their peers who were admitted into the same courses without the bonus points. The University expects more applicants to be offered their first choice as a result of this policy.
See press release.