Category Archives: In The Classroom

K6225 Knowledge Discovery & Data Mining

What the instructor, Dr Chris Khoo, says about the course:

There are two data mining courses offered in the School:

  • a technical course offered in the MSc Information Systems programme (CI6227 Data Mining)
  • a practical course (this course, K6225) using a how-to-do-it, how-does-it-work and how-to-apply-it kind of approach, with a minimum of mathematics.

This course seeks to develop the student’s commonsense ability to manipulate data from different angles. When I first taught this course more than 10 years ago, I focused on teaching methods and techniques, expecting students to be able to use commonsense to apply them. I was horrified at the end of the semester to find in the term reports and exam answers that students had many misconceptions and was applying the methods incorrectly. I gradually learnt then “commonsense” is actually uncommon, and that data analysis is an art, requiring knowledge, skill and creativity. The course now adopts a more problem-based approach where students analyse a particular dataset throughout the course of the semester — each week applying the technique they have learnt in class. Every week, 2 or 3 groups of students give a 3 minute presentation of their data analysis results — so that I can point out misconceptions, how the analysis can be improved, and subtleties not highlighted in the lecture material.

This semester, I’m experimenting with social media to supplement classroom interaction. A blog and twitter account will be set up for students to send comments, questions and reflections. This is in addition to the discussion forum in EdveNTUre.

The first half of the semester is devoted to statistical analysis, and the second half to machine-learning methods. This is because there is no separate statistics course in the KM programme, and I think it is dangerous to go into an organisation to do data mining without knowing basic statistical analysis.

PhD students have found this a good substitute for a stats course. I must caution students though the course doesn’t cover experimental design and Analysis of Variance, which PhD students doing quantitative research should know. (Courses on ANOVA are available in the Psychology Division.)

H6662 Digital Preservation course

 What the instructor Dr Paul Wu says about H6662 Digital Preservation:

As students of information science, we are keenly aware of the challenge of finding the right information at the right time against the information deluge in this digital age. However, few have realized that even with the information found at hand, we are still in danger of losing it soon if we don’t consider digital preservation seriously.

National culture institutions have been aware of the threats to the longevity of national digital heritage in the past two decades. The film Into the Future:  On the Preservation of Knowledge in the Electronic Age (accessible on YouTube at  as a four part series) highlights how much more fragile digital information is than information traditionally carried on paper files. That is why the National Library Board of Singapore, together with our school, and a consortium of around 30 national libraries around the world, have endeavored to develop the Web Archives of Singapore since 2006, to protect Singapore’s Web heritage now and in the future. Still, it is too late to preserve the earlier websites of NTU!

At the personal level, our common experience with HTTP error 404 page-not-found messages is evidence of the risks associated with digital information. The photos we post on Flickr and Facebook, videos on YouTube, and mp3/4 on iTune are also in danger of disappearing on us. You may have heard about a certain popular blogger who lost her entire blog, together with a large part of her identity. The same can happen to us, just as for others or for an entire nation, when we lose our photos, blog posts, documents and videos – digital records of our identity.

It is the purpose the H6662 Digital Preservation course to familiarize us with the issues highlighted above and potential solutions to address such risks. We shall learn from the knowledge painstakingly accumulated by national culture institutions and partners who have developed programs for digital preservation around the world. Such knowledge can even be applied at the personal level – e.g., one can visit a Library of Congress portalet (at for some tips on “Personal Archiving”. In the course, you will get a chance to apply what you have learned in a case study that may concern you or your community. Collaboration and participation will be highly emphasized in this course – even in reading the literature by having reading wikis. We also encourage leveraging on work done by past students so that current students can really focus on achieving tangible results in the course, both conceptually and experientially.

New Course on Communities of Practice

We welcome Mr Gopinathan as a part-time lecturer for Semester 2, AY2009-2010.

Mr Gopi is a Principal Consultant (KM) with the Civil Service College (CSC). He has developed and delivered KM training workshops for the CSC, and has co-facilitated workshops on Communities of Practice (CoP) with Dr Etienne Wenger, a globally recognised thought leader in the field of CoP. Mr Gopi has helped to launch a few CoPs in Singapore and has recently completed a study on CoP adoption among organisations in the Singapore Public Service. He is also experienced in developing and implementing information and KM systems for Private and Public Service organisations. His recent achievements include the development of a KM roadmap for the Singapore Public Service. A speaker at several KM conferences and seminars, Mr Gopi is often called upon as a resource person for KM within the Singapore Public Service.

This semester, Mr Gopi is teaching a new course K6233 Communities of Practice. This is what Mr Gopi says about the course:

Leading organizations in the private and public sectors have discovered that Communities of Practice (CoPs) are the ideal vehicle for engaging practitioners directly in the development of strategic capabilities. These leading organizations are finding that there is much they can do to cultivate communities intentionally and integrate them in the organization. But they have also learnt the importance of doing so in a way that honors the integrity of communities as structures of personal engagement, in which practitioners connect their sense of professional identity with strategic aspirations. In the 21st century, successful organizations will be the ones that achieve such a productive integration of the formal and the informal. This is the new challenge of the knowledge economy.

This course aims to equip students with the knowledge and competencies for cultivating CoPs in organizations. Topics include basic concepts and models of community elements, types and lifecycle of CoP, review design principles, success factors and organizational factors, and community-building techniques. Students will engage in case studies, gain practical experience in selected knowledge sharing techniques and in preparing for the launch of pilot communites, walk through various dimensions of the design of pilot CoPs and outline a launch process for the CoPs.

K6229 Knowledge Policies in Organizations — course revamp

This course has been revamped by Dr Margaret Tan to focus on Corporate Governance, a hot issue in industry. This is what the instructor says about the course:

As a result of several high-profile corporate collapses, corporations around the world are trying to implement Corporate Governance frameworks to protect and provide assurance to shareholders’ investments, and to comply with new legislations. Well-managed companies adopting good corporate governance principles and processes are attracting new investments. The course will provide an understanding of how and why corporations collapse and what can be done to provide investors confidence. Corporate Governance has grown rapidly as a field of study, with many universities offering graduate courses and PhD students researching in this area.

H6692 Introduction to Archival Informatics

What the instructor, Dr Paul Wu, says about the course:

Our digital society is rapidly producing new digital assets and obsoleting “old”, traditional ones. In developed countries, new posts such as Digital Archivist are increasingly created to deal with the information management of both old and new information assets. The course surveys the theoretical frameworks developed in traditional archival studies and diplomatics, and examines the necessity and advantages of Archival Informatics for managing digital assets systematically, to prevent the loss of corporate memory and societal heritage.
Application of Archival Informatics in various domains will be reviewed for students to explore further as case studies – these may include include preservation of social media (blog, forum, wiki, facebook), evidence-based managment, and digital forensics. Through these case studies, students learn to apply fundamental principles for managing digital assets and culture for various organizations in the face of the current digital revolution.
Surprising to most people who first encounter it is the realization that Archival Informatics concerns certain long standing principles and conceptual understanding derived from Archival Science that, like classification and knowledge organization, is applicable in many areas. An article by Luciana Duranti on “Digital Diplomatics and Beyond: Towards Digital Records Forensics” (to be published in Archivaria) illustrates this. She discusses the relationship between recordkeeping/archives and forensics. Many decision making processes involve the use of records and archives, including the juridical application of laws where forensics and information discovery are required. Prof. Luciana Duranti directs the InterPARES 3 international project involving two dozen countries in which I am a co-investigator and a general study of Web is underway to discover the relevance of Web archiving in relation to the decision making and collaborative processes in eLearning and e-Social Science.

Professional Seminar course

The Professional Seminar is an innovative feature of the MSc programmes that provides an opportunity for students to acquire some soft skills, as well as interact with industry leaders. This is what the course director , Dr Paul Wu, says about the course:

Professional Seminar is a division-wide course that aims at developing professionalism and communitarian values among students with very diverse background. Industrial veterans and experts are invited to address as well as interact with students about contextual issues and development trends surrounding the information profession in cultural institutions, business organizations, and various industries. More particularly, students are oriented to, following a Consturctivist Pedagogy framework, form an interdependent learning community where individual as well as peer-to-peer learning are encouraged and cultivated. Through practical group activities, students help each other sharpen their soft skills and develop excellence in leadership, communication, critical thinking and professional ethics which are needed in their future vocation.

New PhD-level course: A9013 Conceptual Foundations of Information

Dr Brendan Luyt is offering a new PhD-level course A9013 Conceptual Foundations of Information in the coming semester. Here’s what Brendan says about the course:

I’m very excited about the new course I am going to teach for the first time this coming term. It’s specifically designed for our doctoral students and so will be run as a seminar rather than a lecture. I hope to spark debate and thinking over a variety of issues of fundamental importance to the field of information science by focusing on a few key authors: Patrick Wilson, Bruno Latour, Geoffrey Bowker, and Pierre Bourdieu. These are all scholars who have addressed issues that lie at the heart of information science: epistemology, classification, and the relation between each of these and social structure. I imagine that many of our more technically oriented students will feel various levels of nervousness when they learn about this, but I hope they can overcome their fear of the unknown and consider the course more of an intellectual adventure. Besides they will soon come to understand that the issues we will address are of direct relevance to their doctoral projects. In fact, one of their assignments will be to explore the linkages between their research interests and the theory we will address in the class!

Afraid the course is open to PhD and research Master’s students only.