Discovery-enriched Curriculum (DEC) Labs to Enhance Teaching and Learning

by Joe Lee
In response to the University's emphasis on Discovery & Innovation and the subsequent implementation of Discovery-enriched Curriculum (DEC) in academic year 2012-13, the Chief Information Officer together with the Department of Computer Science (CS) proposed to set up a few DEC Labs for academic departments to conduct courses which empower students to discover and innovate, and the proposal was subsequently approved by senior management.  The objective of setting up these DEC Labs is to provide innovative teaching/learning spaces to support a wide variety of modern pedagogical methodologies in the teaching of computing-related subjects.  In order to suit different teaching/learning needs, the DEC Labs feature special interior design and make use of advanced technologies including
the learning areas are re-configurable;
furniture is rearrangeable so that students can dynamically form groups of ad hoc sizes and restore to rows for classroom teaching in a minute or two (see photos below);
the four walls are all writable surfaces to facilitate brainstorming, discussion, or posting of notes;
different wireless computing devices are equipped to stimulate students on innovative thinking; and
multiple TVs support advanced mobile devices for idea presentation and knowledge sharing.  
Below is a list of some notable hardware, accessories and furniture inside the DEC Labs:
DELL XPS 14 Ultrabook
Samsung Galaxy Tab2 7.0
MacBook Pro/Air
Microsoft Kinect Sensor
Steelcase Node Chair

The Computing Services Centre (CSC) set off on the design of room settings and its implementation during the summer and the Labs were ready for use at the start of Semester A 2012-13. Some core courses of the CSE and the SCM have been conducted in these Labs since the commencement of Semester A.  It is estimated that about 1,400 students will attend classes conducted in the DEC Labs throughout the whole academic year.  
Equipment maintenance and day-to-day support of the DEC Labs will be mainly rendered by the CS, while the infrastructure and management will be supported by the CSC working closely with the CS.  For further information and room reservations, users may contact the CSC Service Counter at 3442 8340.