Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has launched a new learning hub, a major piece in its transformation from the traditional big lectures, to its modern, interactive flipped classroom pedagogy, an integral part of the NTU Smart Campus vision.
Named The Arc, NTU’s new learning hub is equipped with the latest technologies to support the flipped classroom pedagogy. Students learn the course content online before class and the face time with professors and classmates is devoted to collaborative learning.
As with its first learning hub, The Hive, NTU has done away with traditional classroom layouts in designing The Arc, which boasts flowing lines and energy-friendly fittings.
The 6-storey building has 56 new generation smart classrooms. Each smart classroom is equipped with multiple LED screens, wireless communication tools and flexible clustered seating designed for group discussions.
With the completion of The Arc, NTU now has more than 280 smart classrooms. Together with other recently completed buildings such as The Hive and the Clinical Sciences Building in Novena, 116 new smart classrooms have been built since 2015. In addition, NTU has converted 166 smart classrooms from existing tutorial rooms.
The Arc was launched today by NTU President Professor Subra Suresh and five Student Club presidents.
Prof Suresh said: “The Arc is designed not just for learning but to create opportunities for students to get together to discuss ideas and interact across disciplines. It is therefore fitting that we have five student leaders with me today to officiate the opening of this new building together.”
He added: “The creation, transmission and dissemination of knowledge is at the heart of any global university. In this digital age, students learn using technologies in pedagogical modes that are often distinctly different from those used by earlier generations, and they will graduate into a rapidly changing workplace which will demand for interdisciplinary and collaborative skills.
“The Arc is one of the key pieces in NTU’s flipped classroom transformation. This model of learning will prepare students with the necessary skills to excel in jobs which may not even exist today.”
NTU on track in flipping its courses
NTU had set a bold target to design at least 50 per cent of its undergraduate courses using the flipped classroom pedagogy by 2020.
The university is on track with 314 or 32 per cent of courses already redesigned, and another 170 currently undergoing conversion.
NTU Students’ Union President (NTUSU), Edward Lim, a third-year undergraduate, said: “Like many other students, I’m looking forward to having lessons at The Arc with its state-of-the-art smart classrooms, project rooms and comfortable nooks and corners that are conducive for group discussions.
“We enjoy the flipped classroom way of learning as we do not just listen to lectures passively but now engage in discussions actively. With lively interactions with professors and fellow students, students take on a more dynamic and participative role in their own learning.”
The Arc provides students with plenty of study spaces with 13 project discussion rooms, a dedicated reading room, and a 108-seat lecture theatre. It has two lower levels with rooms that serve as workshops for engineering students.
The Arc will also house most of NTU’s Singapore Centre for 3D Printing (SC3DP) facilities, which researches various areas of smart technologies such as printable electronics, lightweight aircraft components, and even 3D printed medical implants.
Incorporating curved structures and spiral stairs, The Arc is designed with innovative and eco-friendly features befitting its place as the newest building on the NTU Smart Campus.
Instead of walls, it comes with an aluminium sunscreen that reduces solar glare and heat. This keeps the rain out while allowing constant ventilation throughout the day.
Its air-conditioning system saves energy by using passive cooling coils to chill the air without the use of fans. These coils work by creating a natural convection cycle, cooling the air as it sinks downwards, which displaces the warm air upwards.
The Arc has already been awarded the Green Mark Platinum in 2017 – the highest award for sustainable building design in Singapore from the Building and Construction Authority.
Over 95 per cent of the buildings on the NTU campus are now Green Mark Platinum certified (equivalent to LEED-Platinum certification in the USA), well on track to achieving the target of 100 per cent by 2020.
The Arc also comes with ramp access and bicycle parking stations. Other energy-saving features include energy-efficient LED lighting and motion sensors.
The world’s Smart Campus here at NTU
With another key pillar of its education roadmap completed, The Arc also serves as a new nerve centre of the NTU Smart Campus, where digital technologies are adopted to support better learning and discovery, and improve the sustainability of resources.
Prof Suresh said, “We aim to be the world’s Smart Campus and demonstrate how innovative tech-enabled solutions can help improve everyday life in a sustainable manner. Of course, technology is just one side of the coin as the other important element NTU will focus on is its impact on society and how it bolsters the natural environment.”
Last month, Prof Suresh announced the first phase of the broad and multi-pronged NTU Smart Campus initiative. Besides eco-friendly buildings, NTU is also a living test bed for various smart technologies including driverless vehicles and fast charging electricity-powered shuttles.
An NTU Smart Pass embedded with a contactless identity chip has also been launched for cash-free payments, and in the near future, for personal identification, security access and more.
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The Arc by the numbers
Gross floor area: 18,113 square metres
Architect: DCA Architects
Design Architect: KIRK
Building height: 6 storeys including 2 lower levels of workshops and a 3D printing research centre
Smart classrooms: 56 smart classrooms, ranging from 30 to 72 clustered seats
Project discussion rooms: 13
Nur Amin Shah (Mr)
Assistant Manager (Media Relations)
Corporate Communications Office
Nanyang Technological University
About Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has 33,500 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the colleges of Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and its Interdisciplinary Graduate School. It also has a medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, set up jointly with Imperial College London.
NTU is also home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI) and Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N).
Ranked 11th in the world, NTU is top in Asia and has been placed the world’s top young university for the past four years. The University’s main campus is frequently listed among the Top 15 most beautiful university campuses in the world and has 57 Green Mark awards (equivalent to LEED-certified), of which 54 are Green Mark Platinum, covering 95 per cent of the campus buildings. NTU also has a campus in Novena, Singapore’s medical district.