University of Nottingham Malaysia
School of Computer Science

UNM-Petrosains HCI Design Challenge 2019


The UNM-Petrosains collaboration in the Human-Computer Interaction module, led by Dr Marina Ng explored an innovative approach to nurture 21st century skills, particularly in creativity, collaboration and communication, by incorporating a HCI Design Challenge as part of students’ learning. The initial field study conducted at the start of module allowed students to gain experience in integrating the theoretical perspectives of interaction design learned in the classroom with experiences gained in the field. During the 12-week course of study, students learned user-centred design approach or design thinking process of brainstorming, designing and prototyping new ideas to re-design some of Petrosains’s less popular exhibits, with useful feedback and mentorship provided by the Petrosains Innovation Team. At the end of the module, students presented their developed group prototypes at Petrosains to a panel of judges in a UNM-PetroSains Design Challenge competition, which experience was highly beneficial and appreciated by student. The winning prototypes included an interactive exhibit that used digital projection of oil flow animations and sound that could be activated when someone passes by the Oil Platform station and a ‘Guessing the gases’ exhibit that used a rotatable tube of different gases to allow users to observe the light spectra of gases, learn about each gas from a digital display and answer quiz questions by pressing a button.

When students were asked to describe the experience that they enjoyed most from the Design Challenge, the majority of them (56.3%) described the opportunity to design and build a prototype exhibit for Petrosains as the experience they enjoyed most. Students also enjoyed “Doing work together in a team” and “The field trip visits”. When students were asked to comment on their overall learning experience, the most comments received were “I learned a lot”, “It helped enhance my creativity skills” and “Fun & Engaging”.

Overall, the design challenge learning process helped enhance students’ creativity, team-working skills, and engaged them in their learning. In conclusion, the UNM-Petrosains partnership has been successful to revolutionise the way students learn to achieve higher level of engagement and 21st century skill cultivation. Lessons learned will be used to improve the Design Challenge learning opportunity to be offered to students in the coming year.


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Posted on 4th September 2019

School of Computer Science

University of Nottingham Malaysia
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