Our Outstanding Lecturer! Confirm, chop, stamp by President Halimah Yacob
School of Information Technology Published on 05 Sep 2019

As a child, Dr Koh Noi Sian - senior lecturer from the School of Information Technology (SIT) - spent a lot of time in her father's office. He was an educator at the Singapore School for the Visually Handicapped. She recalls his office as a revolving door of students eager to share with him snippets of their day, their hopes, and their fears. Fast forward many years later, and it is the same setting in Dr Koh's office too - a flurry of students, meaningful chats about their lives, and discussions about their assignments. This is what motivates Dr Koh everyday.

An educator for eight years, Dr Koh has seen a wide variety of students, from the hardworking and the diligent to the shy and the outspoken ones. "Each student is unique in their own way. It's my job to help them realise their true potential." Inevitably, some of her students falter and get demoralised by past failures. It distressed her seeing them struggle in class. She constantly thought about what else she could do to get them the help they need.

So, for the past four years, Dr Koh, and a fellow SIT colleague, dedicated all their free time time outside the classroom to develop an Artificial Intelligence system that automatically detects the emotions of her students to help them learn better. Using a webcam to capture expressions, the system – called the Affective Tutoring System – identifies signs of frustration. It also gauges a student’s mental state through speed of typing and mouse clicks. When a student is stuck or on the verge of giving up, a hint pops up. Dr Koh can then check in on the students and guide them on the topic. “We don’t want our students to give up just because they are frustrated.”

Congratulations, Dr Koh, on winning the President's Award for Teachers.