CNM Instructor speaks on the Elderly User Experience at UP Singapore Hackathon

Pin Sym speaking at the Active Ageing Hackathon workshop

“Keep on Keeping On” was the theme of Interactive Media Design instructor, Ms Foong Pin Sym’s talk on how to make desirable, useable interactive systems for the elderly.  The Active Ageing Hackathon was focused on developing technology which can help senior citizens not only to lead healthy, active and independent lives but also to continue to be valued and contributing members in their communities.

In her talk to the workshop attendees, whose average age was 32, Pin Sym outlined the vagaries of the ageing experience and how that changes people as users of technology. Ultimately, the ageing is everybody, and what we want most are applications that help us to continue doing what we love and being whom we are.

The workshop was followed by a 48 hour hackathon where Pin Sym and other people working with elderly user groups, guided eager participants into conceiving product ideas and then fashioning prototypes out of some of the ideas.  The possibility of some of the prototypes being eventually developed into marketable and useful products, attracted diverse and talented students and professionals from research, education, corporate and government sectors, including  A*Star, NUS, NTU, Tan Tock Seng Hospital and the CPF Board.

The list of winners is available here .They reflect the incredible diversity of talents and ideas the hackathon generated.

Pin Sym was pleasantly surprised at the number of people interested in working with the silver user group in Singapore. “It was an honor to be invited to speak at this Hackathon, and to have a chance to work with these talented and passionate individuals.”

EDIT: For a written version of the talk, please click here.

Mimetic Recall – an experimental dance showing!

On the 10th and 11th of May, 2013, John Mead, will present a structured, improvisational contemporary dance event of creative work, using techniques he has been developing as part of his doctoral research with CNM. John is in the final year of his doctoral work here and is also the Artistic Director of the John Mead Dance Company / MI Arts.

The performers he is collaborating with are a group of dance students from the Lassalle College of the Arts that he has been teaching and working with this year in order to conduct this research. In addition, 5 dancers that work with John’s company will also be dancing in the showing. The NUS Electronic Music Lab will be providing live improvised and composed electronic music for the event. The research is in partial fulfillment of his PhD and will form a chapter or two in his final dissertation.

The showing will take place on the 9 – 11 of May, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 8:00 PM. at the Aliwal Arts Centre Multi Purpose Hall on 28 Aliwal Street, which is close to the Nicholl Highway MRT station. Tickets can be ordered through Ticket prices are as follows: Standard: $22. Students / NSMen / and 60+ Seniors are $15. Donation tickets can be made for $25 and above. All donations are entitled to double tax exemption.

Please come support your fellow CNM student!

NM6102 visits Social & Cognitive Lab

By Daniel Teo

CNM graduate students from the research methods class NM6102 visited the Social and Cognitive Lab on March 21, 2013. The trip was organised by A/P Maria Kozhevnikov, one of the teachers of the class and director of the lab.


The students were at the lab to get a first-hand experience with advanced neuroimaging equipment, specifically electroencephalography (EEG), which measures the electrical activity of the brain.

Masters student Prashanth Thattai Ravikumar volunteered to be wired up to the machine. A “hairnet” comprising a dense network of electrodes was first soaked in a solution of baby shampoo and potassium chloride. The solution improved the connection between the electrodes and scalp for more precise measurements.

The sopping wet hairnet was then carefully positioned over Prashanth’s scalp. “I feel like a knight!” Prashanth said about the headpiece which enveloped most of his head.

After being hooked up to the EEG, Prashanth began playing a computer game. In the adjacent room, his classmates watched the changes in the electrical activity of his brain on a computer monitor.

Psychology graduate student Obana Takashi who was in-charge of the EEG, also asked Prashanth to perform a series of tasks like blinking his eyes and clenching his mouth. The CNM students watched in amazement as the readings jumped at each movement that Prashanth made while out of sight in the neighbouring room.

After the demonstration had concluded, A/P Kozhevnikov and Takashi explained how the information from the multiple data points were collated and mapped onto different regions of the brain.

For the budding scholars, the lab visit and EEG demonstration, while a welcome change to the typical 3-hour seminar, also inspired them to think of the many ways neuroimaging techniques could be incorporated into future communication research.

Reviews of Sandcastle and Invisible Cities (Films for Social Change)

Screening: February 25 and 27, 2013, 1-3.30pm

Venue: CIT Auditorium

Films: Sandcastle. Written and directed by Boo Jun Feng

             Invisible City. Directed by Tan Pin Pin



“Film is extremely flammable and it reacts on all kinds of fumes that are extremely combustible.” – Tan Pin Pin during the post-screening panel.


After watching Sandcastle by Boo Junfeng and Invisible Cities by Tan Pin Pin, I left the auditorium with many unanswered questions. The films were shown as part of the Films for Social Change series organised by the Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE), a CNM affiliate organisation that specialises in health communication research.

For me, both directors certainly achieved their goal of challenging the audience to question and go beyond what was presented at the literal level of their works.

Boo’s Sandcastle was inspired in part by Tan’s documentary film Invisible City, particularly by an interviewee’s experiences with the 1950s Chinese Middle Schools Riots. The title, Sandcastle, is an allegory for memories.  Like sand, memories are transient and mutable.  Like sand, the memories of a country, can be ephemeral and disconnected from its citizens, especially, from its younger citizens.

In the film, we follow En, a boy waiting to enlist into the army. En discovers an old letter written to his mother from his late father who was a student activist in his youth and later exiled from Singapore because he was thought to be a communist. This letter shows En (and us) a different viewpoint of national history from official accounts.

We hear the heart-felt voice of a man intimating with his long-suffering wife about the need to hold onto one’s ideals and principles. The voice brims with the longing and pathos of husband and father who had to make the invidious choice of being separated from his loved ones in order to stay steadfast to his cause.

I came away with a clearer sense of how those Chinese students in the 1950s and 60s might have felt towards the cause that they were championing. Although all the protagonists were Chinese, this heartfelt film still appeals to a wide audience as it deals with universal themes such as loyalty, family and love. The comments made during the post-screening conversation with the director Boo indicated that many members of the audience had taken away something personal from the film.  As Boo explained, films “help people to see issues because [they are] humanising”.

Invisible City, on the other hand, is a documentary that features documenteurs in their search for other histories of Singapore. The film retained an organic, raw feel through frequent cuts between each documenteur’s story, and photographs and footage of old, pre-independence Singapore.

Tan’s film nudges us to delve into our history and understand why people continue to record things even though their efforts may go unrecognised. The film foregrounds each documenteur’s assiduous effort and their struggle with fulfilling their mission of leaving something behind for future generations. Their dedication inspired more than a few in the audience to record something for posterity to remember and cherish.

The audience witness the past through a montage of archived materials guided by the archivists themselves. Tan explained that she wanted to capture “something that people want to say very dearly [even if the audience had to] work to understand [it].” She hoped that the authenticity found in these narratives will resonate with the audience. The many thoughtful questions asked after the screening proved that the film had left a deep impression on the audience.

These two films have a universal humanism that inspires empathy and change. Watching them fueled my hunger to learn more about Singapore’s alternative histories and to question the official narratives we have taken for granted. I even found myself overcome with emotion at the screenings.

I believe that these two thought-provoking cinematic works of art with their focus on memory and history, bring us a step closer to engaging with national issues, which hopefully creates an impetus for positive change in Singapore.

The writer is a second year CNM student. She is taking NM3219 Writing for Communication Management this semester.

New Blog for CNM’s Interactive Media Design

CNM’s Interactive Media Design course of study has a new website which describes teachers, modules, module offerings for the coming year, suggested study plan, and other useful information.

Students who are interested in this course of study (or interested in taking the modules offered) should check out the site — especially the pages about “Modules offered in AY2011-12” and “Suggested study plan.” These can help students plan ahead in terms of scheduling and pre-requisites.

There are also some exciting changes in the works — so students should keep an eye on those pages!

CNM Interactive Media Design:

CNM Student Places Third at Peaktime International Student Business Case Competition


Joel Leong is a CNM student currently on the NOC program in Shanghai. He participated in the  Peaktime International Student Business Case Competition in Riga, Latvia.  We are proud to announce that Joel and his team have clinched third place at this international competition. Peak Time is the largest international business student competition in the Eastern Europe. The business game, which is entirely organized by students from the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga (SSE Riga), involves students of economics and business from all over the globe. For the last 4 years the winning teams came from Lithuania, the Netherlands and from Singapore.

Joel was part of multinational team dis.rupt! represented by 4 individual participants from the National University of Singapore, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Riga International School of Economics and Business Administration, Technical University of Varna).

Congratulations, Joel!

New Job Posting – Communication Management

We have two openings for Visiting Fellowships in the area  of communication management.  A PhD. In media or communications studies is required. Click here for details.

Update: April 12th 2011. This job posting is now expired and is no longer available.

NM4210 User Experience Design Poster Session 2010

The annual User Experience Design Poster Session is taking place on Friday 12th November 2010 at Seminar Room 3, Level 7 ADM Building, NUS.

Details of the course and topic this semester are as follows:

UXD2010 PosterAbout the COURSE and Projects:
User Experience Design is a growing trans-disciplinary interest for many fields, including interface and interaction design, marketing and branding. While the concept of experience design is still in flux, as a course we have approached it to mean the design of a person’s interaction with a product or interface.
The projects you will view are created to fulfill the requirements of the “Singapore Memory Project” (SMP), a national tertiary level competition held by the National Library Board. The SMP’s goal is to help collect and document personal memories and stories of Singapore. This is in contrast to national heritage or historical stories where the goal is to construct a historical, factual timeline. In these projects we are looking to collect personal anecdotal snapshots of life in Singapore. As a class we have seen this as a challenge to design user experiences that spark participation and meaningful reflection or reminiscence on the part of the participants.

Brief one-line descriptions of the projects at the session:

  1. ArmyVIBES: A community centric web-based game to record memories.
  2. Memory Lane: A musical walk down memory lane.
  3. Chalk: A smartphone app that lets you draw on walls using augmented reality.
  4. MOSAIC, My Own Singapore: An Interactive Collage: A platform which allows Singaporeans to share memories through photographs, and in the process, creating a repository of mosaics that showcase shared Singaporean memories.
  5. XAVATAR: Xavatar makes it fun and easy for you to share your favourite Singapore memories. Live.
  6. Memolicious!: A Food Associations Project – Smartphone users tag photos of food with the associations they have with it and upload them to a database for sharing.
  7. WILAS: Revealing the Singapore spirit through discovering what Singaporeans like by providing a fun and rewarding space for them to create and share this information.
  8. SOS (Sharing on Schools): A social networking site for sharing of memories and information about schools.
  9. Little Read Dot, To Share, to read and to experience reading heart-warming short stories about your whereabouts.