- LumiNUS’s light goes out — transitioning to CANVAS
LumiNUS, the evolution of the almost two-decade-old IVLE, will be transitioning to the CANVAS Learning Management System (LMS). Senior Deputy President and Provost Prof Ho Teck Hua declared this to all staff and students on 29 March 2022 about the change, which is “expected to allow for improvements in teaching, learning, and integration with other NUS systems.” This comes as a shock to some as LumiNUS was only used for two years.
The Canvas Transition Project is launched to aid in the smooth transition from LumiNUS to Canvas. The transition starts in May 2022 and will take place over the next two semesters. In the meantime, LumiNUS will continue to be used and will be switched over to a read-only status in January 2023 for content retrieval for three years.
- Returning to campus for face-to-face lessons in the middle of the semester
On 26 February 2022, 43rd Union President Lee Yat Bun released a statement to the whole student body regarding the change in lesson formats. According to the email, some faculties such as Business and Computing had “sent emails to their students to notify the intent of their faculty to return to physical classes whenever possible.” This is after two years COVID-19 reached Singapore’s shores and almost all face-to-face classes shifted online.
Additionally, an announcement was made on LumiNUS on 24 February 2022 that “the University intends to resume face-to-face (F2F) classes for all modules whenever possible and appropriate.” This was met with concerns from students related to the sudden change in lesson format, and came as a surprise to some who were not informed of the university’s intention to do so, especially prior to the semester and during the ModReg phase.
Though NUSSU Exco has been meeting with the NUS Board of Undergraduate Studies (BUS) to air students’ concerns, BUS stated that “the University’s stance has always been “(1) to follow the national guidelines with regards to the resumption of face-to-face activities, and (2) to optimise the learning experience for students, and that is to be achieved through replacing online lessons with physical ones wherever possible.”
Despite NUSSU’s discussions with BUS to delay the transition by implementing changes in the next semester instead, BUS reaffirmed their stance and remained firm about the announced changes.
- Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory changes
The “to S/U or not to S/U” dilemma may be an easier one to solve with the new changes to the S/U policy.
In the Registrar Circular dated 13 December 2021, it was announced that at the end of every semester, eligible undergraduate students can now enjoy more flexibility in the S/U policy.
- Students can exercise S/U options on eligible modules read in the current and preceding semesters in the same Academic Year, including Special Term Part 1 and/or 2.
- ‘S’ grade will be assigned if students receive a ‘D’ or ‘D+’ grade for the module, instead of ‘C’ or ‘C+’ grade
- With effect from AY2021/2022, the first 20 S/U MCs that could only be utilised for modules read in the first two regular semesters can also be utilised now for modules read in the Special Term in your first year of study
Source: 13 Dec 2021 Message from NUSSU President email
However, you cannot amend or withdraw any S/U options exercised at the end of previous semesters. This provides more hindsight and certainty surrounding grades for each academic year.
4. NUS Mental Well-Being Day
NUS Well-Being Day was first introduced in the middle of the semester in late October 2021 as an opportunity for staff and students to take a break for a day. On 5 November 2021, a day after Deepavali public holiday, NUS was “shut down to recharge as a community” to “reconnect with family and enjoy time away from school and work” over the long weekend.
While the inter-school holiday aims to offer “a little space for rest, reflection and reinvigoration”, some students felt that the sudden announcement brought up more stress over the last-minute changes in classes and schedules.
On 11 January 2022, President Tan Eng Chye announced that the initiative will be continuing with one Well-Being Day per semester. The first on Thursday 14 April and the second on Friday 21 October. Both dates provide a long weekend break, either before or after a public holiday. With this direction, this initiative is likely here to stay.
5. Full-time undergraduate students from lower-income families to have fully-subsidised tuition
Both incoming and existing full-time Singaporean undergraduate students who come from households with Per Capita Income (PCI) of not more than S$1,000 can now receive help for their tuition fees to be fully covered with the new Enhanced Financial Aid Scheme. An additional S$15 million per year funding is set aside “to strengthen financial assistance for students from low-income households.”
Students in the above category can also receive additional financial support for living expenses, on-campus stay and overseas programmes.
6. New House model at Prince George’s Park (PGP) equipped with Proactive Pastoral Care (PPC) and masters
House, NUS’s fourth model of residential living, will be launched in AY 2022/2023, where PGP House (Blocks 20-25) will be renamed Pioneer House, and the second house (Blocks 26-30) will be known as LightHouse, as announced on 5 January 2022.
Piloted at PGP House in 2017, it has a peer mentoring programme that “proved popular among residents,” according to the email sent out by Prof Ho Teck Hua, Senior Deputy President and Provost. House joins three current residential living models—Halls, Residential Colleges and Student Residences. A third house, currently known as Residence 4 (Blocks 15-19) will be launched in the following academic year.
The new House model features a structured PPC system where every resident will be assigned to a support team for regular check-ins.
The current residence model at PGP Residences (PGPR) and UTown Residence will be revamped to include masters to “strengthen local governance and ground support for enhanced pastoral care and community building.” The appointed masters will assume their roles on 1 July 2022.
Have any thoughts or feedback on the recent changes? Feel free to write to NUSSU at firstname.lastname@example.org or tell us what you think https://theridge.sg/contact-us/.