Dr Cassim Munshi was a Research Engineer at the Institute for Infocomm Research (I2R), a research institute under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore, when his interest in research was piqued. He was involved in a project on technology in education when he became cognizant of the possibility of how the cutting-edge technology that A*STAR offered could be meaningful and effective if the developments in technology synthesized with educational research. This fascination developed his interest in educational research which led him to apply for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) programme offered by the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NIE NTU, Singapore).
As part of his research, Dr Munshi explored how students engaged in self-assessment when they received feedback in an online environment. Dr Munshi shared, "I believed that the findings from this research could aid me in developing theories that could help us understand how technology could be effectively used to develop habits of self-directed learning amongst our students." He envisaged that the desired impact from his research findings on theoretical understanding would benefit teachers, policymakers and developers of technology to make better informed decisions on the types of tools that could effectively support the development of students in their ability to self-assess and self-regulate learning.
One of Dr Munshi's best experiences as a student at NIE was being educated by people "who actually studied education". He added that the level of openness that students enjoyed in their interactions with NIE's faculty members had created comfortable and productive working relationships. "My course lecturers were extremely approachable. I guess this has, in part, to do with the idea that when it comes to education research, everyone you meet has an innate passion in teaching and learning," he recalled fondly.
When asked if the PhD programme offered by NIE had helped prepare him for his career progression, Dr Munshi agreed wholeheartedly, "The PhD programme, together with the research culture that NIE adopts, provides research students with a brilliant platform to enter the world of academia, which I hope to do one day." The more he conducted his research, the more he found that the boundless possibilities to the world of educational research had not quite found its way into practice. "This comes across to me as an opportunity to embark on an entrepreneurial endeavour of bringing our ideas out into the world.
"NIE's PhD programme can be completed in up to a maximum of five years on both full-time and part-time basis. Other than sciences, students can also pursue research work in diverse areas of study, covering arts and humanities, education, mathematics and physical education.
The National Institute of Education (NIE), Singapore is an autonomous institute under the Nanyang Technological University (NTU). It has been consistently ranked amongst the top 20 education institutions in the world and top 3 in Asia by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) ranking. For more information on the range of graduate programmes offered by NIE, please visit www.nie.edu.sg/ge.