Ad­dress­ing the big­ger pic­ture

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - COURSE FOCUS -

STU­DENTS who love chal­leng­ing them­selves should con­sider pur­su­ing en­gi­neer­ing at premier choice univer­sity Mul­ti­me­dia Univer­sity ( MMU).

Prof Dr Ah­mad Rafi Mo­hamed Eshaq, pres­i­dent of MMU, says, “En­gi­neer­ing has ad­vanced hu­man­ity and en­abled us to ir­ri­gate and work lands to over­come food short­ages, build strong shel­ters to save us from preda­tors and the el­e­ments as well as raise mon­u­ments to cel­e­brate and re­spect our cul­tures and iden­ti­ties.”

In this day and age, the world needs en­gi­neers more than ever and faces chal­lenges that could spell catas­tro­phe if not ad­dressed – th­ese are known as the 14 Grand Chal­lenges of En­gi­neer­ing.

The chal­lenges are to make so­lar en­ergy eco­nom­i­cal, pro­vide en­ergy from fu­sion, de­velop car­bon se­ques­tra­tion meth­ods, man­age the ni­tro­gen cy­cle, pro­vide ac­cess to clean wa­ter, re­store and im­prove ur­ban in­fra­struc­ture, ad­vance health in­for­mat­ics, en­gi­neer bet­ter medicines, re­verse en­gi­neer the brain, pre­vent nu­clear ter­ror, se­cure cy­berspace, en­hance vir­tual re­al­ity, ad­vance per­son­alised learn­ing and en­gi­neer tools for sci­en­tific dis­cov­ery.

Prof Rafi says that al­though solv­ing each prob­lem is an enor­mous feat, the so­lu­tion lies in the con­certed ef­forts of peo­ple ad­dress­ing th­ese chal­lenges rather than in­di­vid­ual ef­fort.

MMU is recog­nised world­wide for its en­gi­neer­ing pro­grammes. The univer­sity has been listed in Quacquarelli Sy­monds’ ( QS) World Univer­sity Rank­ings by Sub­ject 2015 as a Top 200 Univer­sity for elec­tri­cal and elec­tron­ics en­gi­neer­ing, com­puter sci­ence and in­for­ma­tion sys­tems in 2014 and com­mu­ni­ca­tion and me­dia stud­ies in 2012.

Prof Rafi is con­fi­dent that MMU stu­dents and grad­u­ates can play a big role in solv­ing the 14 Grand Chal­lenges through the en­gi­neer­ing cour­ses.

“We have all the essentials – me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing, elec­tron­ics, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions and even nan­otech­nol­ogy, all of which play a cru­cial role in mak­ing im­pact,” he says.

For ex­am­ple, the chal­lenge of de­vel­op­ing and ad­vanc­ing per­son­alised learn­ing is one that can be pos­si­bly solved.

Cur­rently, teach­ing is mostly done us­ing the class­room method. This style in­volves hav­ing a teacher or lec­turer teach­ing in front of stu­dents.

Yet, for many stu­dents, this con­ven­tional style is not en­gag­ing. As a re­sult, they lose in­ter­est and do poorly aca­dem­i­cally. Ul­ti­mately, th­ese stu­dents suf­fer all sorts of reper­cus­sions, in­clud­ing eco­nomic and pro­fes­sional ones.

With a good per­son­alised learn­ing sys­tem, stu­dents’ strengths and weak­nesses will be iden­ti­fied and the best learn­ing strat­egy eval­u­ated. Based on th­ese find­ings, stu­dents can re­ceive in­struc­tions on how to use the meth­ods that best en­gage them, en­sur­ing they do not lose in­ter­est.

If per­son­alised learn­ing can be re­alised, it will be an im­por­tant hu­man achieve­ment be­cause it will make schools more in­ter­est­ing and stu­dents will get a clearer idea of the ca­reer they would like to pur­sue.

With MMU’s strong en­gi­neer­ing cul­ture, Prof Rafi is also con­fi­dent that MMU is uniquely po­si­tioned to give its stu­dents a head start in solv­ing the 14 Grand Chal­lenges.

“Many of the chal­lenges in­volve con­nec­tiv­ity, com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills and re­sources. Given that the univer­sity’s par­ent is Telekom Malaysia, fu­ture en­gi­neer­ing stu­dents will gain a dis­tinct ad­van­tage by study­ing in MMU. Once you give your­self a good head start, you stand a bet­ter chance of mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions,” says Prof Rafi.

MMU of­fers spe­cial re­bates and schol­ar­ships for stu­dents who en­rol in the April in­take as part of its 20th an­niver­sary

cel­e­bra­tions.

For more in­for­ma­tion, visit www. mmu. edu. my or call 1300 800 668.

In­no­va­tive and savvy en­gi­neers are needed in this day and age to ad­dress the 14 Grand Chal­lenges of En­gi­neer­ing.

Prof Dr Ah­mad Rafi Mo­hamed Eshaq.

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