Tuesday, September 11, 2007

system proposal presentation

realised i put Wang Yu's matric number wrongly on the report =x I'm really sorry about it.

the presentation was so-so, except that we didn't field the questions well enough. Perhaps if we have coordinated the flows from the start, it might not be that bad. But oh well, let's recover from this minor setback and attempt to correct our shortcomings! We are already in it, there's no way to do a u-turn or get out of the circuit.

i'm going to step up whatever progress we're making, let's hold hands and move in tandem. Sounds gayish... omg =x

during the CS3265 tutorial today, our tutor Ms Mamata Bhandar told the class something - the lecture group participation during yesterday's seminar was lacking. She said, this is a problem with our faculty at large. This meant that Computing students have been less than enthusiastic in articulating their thoughts in occasions such as seminars, talks and even the IVLE forum.

i tend to agree, although this isn't the case all the time. I may sound off the mark by saying this, but i think our environment has created this oppressive culture.

let us examine our old home at Science, S15 and S17, and the new home at COM1:

1. Our old home: the students and many junior staff are always facing the wall or a shelf. A terrific example are the McDonald tables at S15's level 1 and 3. There are also countless labs where the partitions separating humans are so high up that when you peek into the room, you can only find furniture.

2. Our new home: once again, the problem surfaces itself again. At the basement, countless tables face the window. Since the furniture is reused from the old home, there aren't any improvements in the labs too.

3. The CPU of all workstations are installed on the working table itself.

compare this to NYP's School of IT, although the latter is a less research based tertiary institution. All student labs, discussion rooms and even junior staff rooms are in full view of the common corridor. There are no partitions that anyone can hide behind. So the culture is very open - i can see you working or slacking, but that isn't the point though.

i remembered during my time in Final Year Project in NYP. The CPUs were also installed on the tables, thus the working area was really limited. Not to mention the amount of dust that the fans churned out.

when visitors came by, they didn't see us working. They saw only the computers working. I took a bold step and took all the CPUs of my team onto the floor. When Mr Lam CY, the then-Director/SIT came by, he asked me - "why is your cluster so different"? I explained to him my rationale; and in less than a month the entire 3rd floor went through a major operation - to put all CPUs onto the floor.

the seemingly superficial move changed the image for years to come - SIT is now a more dynamic school where students are not necessarily nerds, always facing big boxes the whole day munching on takeaways. When peers encounter a problem, they are able to interact easily, since there are only the monitors and input devices on the tables. The biggest benefit is the huge table space, where students can work on.

so what's the moral of the story? NUS School of Computing needs this bold step as well. We mustn't be slow on this too. Revamp the furniture. We shouldn't get run over by those big PC boxes too.

being strong in academic credentials is traditionally important for a university and the facs, yet as times change the image needs a makeover too.

never mind about losing privacy, because the closed concept is no longer effective.

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