How a modernising NUS is innovating in the classroom

As chief IT officer, Tommy Hor is laying the groundwork for modern-day learning across Singapore, underpinned by emerging technologies and digital transformation.

tommy hor nus

As the country’s flagship educational institution, National University of Singapore’s (NUS) reputation spans the world, built on a heritage of innovation and lifelong learning since 1905, consistently acknowledged as one of the leading universities in the world; NUS was ranked 25th globally in 2020. NUS houses more than 50,000 faculty members, staff and students across campuses in Kent Ridge, Bukit Timah and Outram, in addition to four graduate schools, 13 undergraduate schools and 30 university-level research institutes and centres.

Reputation comes with heightened responsibility, however, and a commitment to use emerging technologies to reinvent learning in the modern-day. Achieving such towering —and ever-changing—expectations comes with an acceptance that innovation starts with the user, bringing real-life scenarios to life through transformative solutions.

“Many technology innovations happened in classrooms,” recalls Tommy Hor, chief IT officer at NUS. “For instance, to be in the shoes of the patient and to feel and see what they experience has proved challenging to the psychiatry students at the Alice Lee Centre for Nursing Studies [NUS Nursing]. We overcame such constraints by developing an innovative application to complement the learning experience through the use of augmented and virtual reality technology. This allowed nursing students to undergo the experience patients go through when they have hallucinations, whether auditory, visual or tactile.”

NUS’s digital modernisation effort

With NUS Nursing as a recent example—and driven by a shared mission in education and research—Hor and his team are also tasked with delivering technology initiatives for enabling a lifelong learning program in Singapore.

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