Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Critical Reflection on Developing Communication Skills (Updated)

The effective communication module has provided me a great opportunity to further develop my oral communication and writing skills.  Our tutor, Brad, has made this module an interesting and interactive one, allowing us to learn through blogging and Q&A sessions.

Our assignments are mostly in the form of blog posts, and each post must be reviewed and amended with reference to the comments given by Brad and my peers. This allows me to constantly learn from my mistakes and improve with every draft written. Taking the summary and reader response assignment as an example, the first 2 drafts were merely a summary with brief responses, whereas the final draft included a more comprehensive research. Every draft requires much more effort and from this, I managed to learn how to write an appropriate thesis statement and reader’s response.

This module also gave me an opportunity to develop my oral communication skills. Engineering courses seem to have relatively little modules that require oral presentation, therefore I am glad to have a chance to develop and improve my oral skills.

According to the comments I received, fluency is one of my strengths and I do not have any persistent language problems. However, the most common mistakes I made are verbose and run on sentences. I aim to improve on these problems and refrain from having long and unnecessary sentences in my future reports.

As this module is coming to an end, I would like to take this chance to thank Brad and my fellow classmates for this enjoyable learning journey. I look forward to putting these skills to use in the near future. 


Commented on:
- Chris’s Analytical Reflection on 06 December 2016
- AlcinaAnalytical Reflection on 06 December 2016
- MasyitaAnalytical Reflection on 06 December 2016
- Kevin’s Communication Skills Reflection on 10 December 2016
- Frankie’s Critical Reflection on 10 December 2016
- Ming Kang’s Critical Reflection on 10 December 2016

Monday, 21 November 2016

Analytical Reflection on Oral Presentation

Our team did a presentation for our project on reducing overcrowding in public buses. Being the first team to present, I was relatively pressurized since I was unable to see how others perform and avoid making the same mistakes.  However, I thought I did slightly better than my expectation. Prior to the presentation, I constantly stuttered while I practiced according to a drafted script. Fortunately, my efforts paid off and I managed to deliver my part smoothly during the presentation.

Although my presentation was relatively smooth, there are still many areas for improvement. The audience pointed out that I stood behind the podium throughout my presentation instead of standing in front of them. I agree that I should have stood confidently in front of the crowd. This is an essential tip for my future presentations. By showing confidence, my future audience might have a higher chance of accepting my proposals.

For my team’s presentation, I was responsible for planning and designing the slides. I minimized the number of words on each slide and added in many pictures so that the audiences can easily read and understand the points we explained. However, due to the lack of practice as a team, the slide show for my teammates did not went as how I expected it to be. Our points also did not seem to link well and it felt like we were simply presenting our own parts. From this experience, I realised the importance of team communication. In the future, I would practice more with my teammates before the presentation and ensure that all of us know the flow of the slides.

Summary & Reader Response: Sustainability Efforts (Final Draft)

According to the “Sustainability Efforts” (n.d.) webpage taken from Gardens by the Bay (GBTB) website, heavy emphasis has been placed on designing GBTB’s systems and technologies to achieve environmental sustainability.

Firstly, GBTB uses their lake system to filter water naturally with aquatic plants. This system aims to promote the importance of clean water and how plants can play a significant role in our ecosystem. Environmental sustainability can also be achieved by conserving energy. GBTB uses specially chosen glass for their two conservatories to minimize heat gain, along with thermal stratification to reduce the volume of air that needs to be cooled. GBTB also generates their own energy with the “Combined Heat Power (CHP) steam turbine” and solar cells on the “Supertrees”. “Supertrees” are tree-like structures, fitted with technologies that mimic the ecological function of trees. These “Supertrees” can also function as storage for the exhaust air.

GBTB have put in much effort to maintain a sustainable ecosystem. With these systems and technologies to produce naturally treated water, reduce pollution and conserve energy, GBTB has proven that they are indeed upholding the environmental sustainability concept.

Environmental sustainability defines how we should be protecting our ecosystems and the sustainability of our natural resources (Mason, n.d.). Protecting our environment from any potential damage will be the key to this sustainability.

In my opinion, the lake system makes efficient use of the natural ecological processes. Instead of using other sophisticated technologies, GBTB chooses to use reed beds and aquatic plants for the water cleaning process. Using reed bed in the lake system is environmentally friendly and requires minimal energy input (“Reed-Beds,”n.d.). In addition, the lake system provides the benefit of nutrients and pollution absorption by incorporating aquatic plants and reed beds. Nutrient pollution occurs when there is excess nitrogen and phosphorus in air and water (US Environmental Protection Agency [EPA], 2016). Too much of these two nutrients can lead to algal bloom, affecting the water quality. It may even cause serious impact on humans and the environment. The effectiveness of this system has proven GBTB’s attempt to protect our ecosystem, following their main concept of environmental sustainability.

GBTB also came up with an energy-efficient solution for the conservatories by using the specially selected glass as the main material to reduce heat, and uses horticultural waste to generate electricity on-site for the cooling system. This reduces their dependency on natural resources, such as fossil fuels. Using CHP requires lesser fuel to produce energy, which will result in the decrease of greenhouse gases emissions other possible air pollution (EPA, 2016). Greenhouse gas is one of the main causes of global warming and the change in climate. Therefore, it is essential to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases. By doing so, GBTB has shown efforts in environmental sustainability. 

Furthermore, the photovoltaic cells on the Garden’s “Supertrees” absorb radiation from the sun and convert the energy into usable electricity. The world’s natural resources are depleting, but solar energy will last as long as the sun rises. This makes it a good alternative to generate electricity without creating pollution or resulting in global warming. The environmental technologies of the “Supertrees” also allow collection of rainwater for use in the conservatories’ cooling system and irrigation system. This reduces GBTB’s demand on ground water as well as the impact on the environment. With “Supertrees”, GBTB attempts to protect the sustainability of the natural resources and the environment. This further proves that GBTB upholds the environmental sustainability concept.

To sum it up, GBTB follows closely to the environmental sustainability principles. GBTB’s systems and technologies help to maintain a sustainable ecosystem by reducing pollution and producing naturally treated water using the lake system, conserving energy with the conservatories and photovoltaic cells, as well as conserving water using “Supertrees”. Although it is difficult to measure the effectiveness of these systems and technologies, GBTB has proven to put in a commendable amount of effort in protecting our ecosystems and environment.


Mason, M. (n.d.). What Is Sustainability and Why Is It Important? Retrieved from

R. (n.d.). Advantages and Disadvantages of Rainwater Harvesting - Conserve Energy Future. Retrieved November 21, 2016, from

Shahan, Z. (2013). Advantages & Disadvantages Of Solar Power. Retrieved September 24, 2016, from

Sustainability Efforts . (n.d.). Retrieved September 19, 2016, from

US Environmental Protection Agency. (2016). Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Partnership Share. Retrieved September 24, 2016, from

US Environmental Protection Agency. (2016). Nutrient Pollution. Retrieved September 24, 2016, from

Wall, A. (n.d.). Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Energy. Retrieved September 24, 2016, from