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Date [ 2013-03-26, 09:50 ]

A round-up of island news.

(Kuala Lumpur=Koreanpress)  by Ramani Rathir =



Singapore Technologies (ST) Electronics have already started designing and developing Singapore's first commercial satellite. The TeLEOS-1, an earth observation satellite, is targeted to be ready for use in 2015. It is being developed by the company’s subsidiary ST Electronics (Satellite Services).


The satellite images can be used for various functions including monitoring and managing natural or man-made disasters. It may also be used for mineral exploration, targeting the ocean or land abroad, given Singapore’s small size and lack of natural resources. Other areas in which it can prove itself will be in precision farming, setting up of an environmental watch and climate change studies.


Weighing about 400kg, TeLEOS-1 is designed to orbit around the equator, at an orbital height of about 550km.






Changi Airport has introduced  a new mobile application called  "Weekend Escapades.” It provides users with destination-based contents and maps, flight searches and the latest airline promotions.


Users can gain information on 30 cities across 11 countries located within a five-hour flight radius of Singapore. Besides covering the usual weekend dining and shopping hotspots in such well known destinations as Bangkok, Hong Kong, Manila or Tokyo, it also has information on less-visited  Asian cities..


It aims to give ideas and suggestions on where to eat, shop and stay, all of which are tailored to varying  price ranges. A short itinerary is also offered for each city with

accompanying maps. A listing of festivals taking place in the various cities may help decide which country to fly to.

The Lonely Planet Asia and Escape! magazine teams prepared the contents of Weekend Escapades,




The National University of Singapore (NUS) will be the first university on the island to offer the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).  MOOCs are a recent and growing phenomenon in distance education. Here participating universities offer some of their courses for free. online.


 It is unique in the sense that it is, as its name implies, “massive.”  This refers to the huge number of students taking the courses for two main reasons. One, easy access as the courses are conducted via the Internet. Second, and perhaps the most important draw, it is free.


NUS is offering two such courses, for a start, beginning from January this year, in partnership with Coursera, a fast-growing MOOC provider. The first course, which will run for eight weeks, is under the NUS Centre for Quantum Technologies, where students will learn about the “randomness” concept and its usefulness. The second, is a six-week course offered by the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, teaching classical musical composition.


Coursera was started by Stanford computer science professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller in April last year, To date, Coursera has 2.8 million registered students and has 1.4 million course enrolments each month. The company has announced partnerships with 29 new universities globally, giving access to the courses offered by a total of 62 institutions of higher learning. Other renowned universities linked to MOOCs are Stanford, Brown, Harvard, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


NUS Provost and Deputy President (Academic Affairs), Tan Eng Chye felt that “the availability of academic content on an open online platform will accelerate knowledge sharing in higher education globally. More students can now have access to, and benefit from, NUS’ educational offerings.”.


A NUS spokesperson expressed the university’s wish to offer more courses in the future and added that  it is keen to explore such options and plans. Probably,  two or three courses on Coursera will come online  every year.


The move by NUS, has two other local universities thinking of jumping on the bandwagon. Nanyang Technological University and the Singapore Management University are also exploring the possibility of offering their courses via MOOC providers. A time frame has still to be set by these two universities.
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