Co-development of Data Analytics Curriculum with Microsoft Learn
Published Jul 15 2021 02:09 AM 3,861 Views




Hi everyone, thank you for reading the blog. I am Miow Ting, a passionate and experienced educator who specialises in data visualisation, data analytics, Fintech solutioning, and software development. I am the Course Manager of the Diploma in Business Intelligence & Analytics (DBA) in Nanyang Polytechnic, Singapore. Currently, I am leading the DBA curriculum team in restructuring the existing subject-based curriculum into a competency-based curriculum in partnership with technology leaders.


The Innovative Polytechnic – Nanyang Polytechnic

Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) was established as an institution of higher learning in 1992. The six schools in NYP offer quality education and training through more than 40 full-time diploma courses and common entry programmes. NYP also has a full suite of continuing education and training options for lifelong learning, ranging from specialist and advanced diplomas, to SkillsFuture modules and courses.



In 2020, NYP launched the NYP Professional Competency Model (NYP-PCM). This new teaching model fundamentally reimagines and transforms poly education. Instead of learning in silo subjects, learning is structured around actual work tasks, say analysing data pulled from smart sensors and doing up a report and presentation about the findings. So in this case, engineering, communication, data analytic lecturers teach together to show how the skills interplay, making for a holistic approach to the learners’ synthesis.


A key feature of the PCM? We involve top corporations in the field, like Microsoft, to co-build the course. This means courseware can be built in directly, and in some cases, our industry partners also come and co-teach and co-certify our learners.


It was first introduced in NYP's Diploma in Business Intelligence & Analytics (DBA). Progressively, over the next five years, more NYP diplomas be offered under the NYP-PCM.


What's Unique About Professional Competency Model?

Integrated Learning

Agile Response

Industry Co-development

Professional Accreditation

The new teaching model enables multiple disciplines needed for a competency to be taught in a seamless and integrated manner in what we call as a  “Competency Unit” (CmU) so that learning is more effective. This model is agile as new CmUs can be added in response to technological advancements and industry needs. When industry needs change, the CmUs can also be updated quickly. A key differentiator of the PCM is that curriculum and courseware from top companies can be incorporated directly via CmUs into our programmes. This enables students to acquire industry competencies while enhancing opportunities for industry practitioners to co-teach some of the CmUs alongside NYP’s lecturers.

Students under this model will graduate with additional industry certifications that can help kickstart their career. This will ensure that our graduates will be able to stay abreast of new changes and be ahead of the curve.


Course Structure of Diploma in Business Intelligence & Analytics (DBA)

The DBA programme consists of:

  • 33 Competency Units – Within each transdisciplinary Competency Unit, skills and knowledge from different disciplines are integrated and taught holistically.  This enables the students to acquire competency for specific work-tasks.
  • Four Competency Canvases – A Canvas helps students synthesize competencies gained from related CmUs with a Work-Integration-Unit. This is a project, contexualised to mimic the workplace, so that the students develop competencies to a higher level, and show the ability to execute complex tasks. Students select four Competency Canvases as part of the programme requirement.
  • One Final Year Project (FYP)
  • One Internship Placement (ITP)
  • 10 General Studies Modules (GSMs) – these modules give students exposure to other areas of interest and allow them to go beyond their chosen area of specialisation.

On completion of the programme, the various competencies that the student developed will constitute the nine course competencies that will place graduates in good stead for work and life.


Integration of Microsoft Learn and DBA Curriculum

Both Microsoft and NYP agreed to co-certify students for the Visual Analytics Canvas in DBA. The Visual Analytics Canvas comprises 4 Competency Units (CmUs) and 1 Work-Integration-Unit (WIU). Microsoft Learn curriculum content will be incorporated into the Data Visualisation CmU and the Visual Analytics Project WIU, leading to the Microsoft certification as a Data Analyst Associate. Students will synthesize their skills and knowledge they have learnt from the various CmUs in the Visual Analytics Project. All students are required to take Microsoft Exam  DA-100: Analyzing Data with Microsoft Power BI as one of their assessment for the DBA programme.


Upon passing the Exam DA-100, students will be awarded the co-certification (Certificate in Visual Analytics) and the Microsoft Certified: Data Analyst Associate e-badge. The students will have the competencies in performing data preparation, aggregation and mining to generate insights from raw business data. They will also be competent in presenting insights through real‐time dashboards for visualisation that address business imperatives and needs to support decision making for business purpose.




I am also happy to share that Microsoft has long played a role in developing NYP learners – In Mar 2020, the introduction of Microsoft’s Azure Fundamentals curriculum to all students in NYP’s School of Information Technology (SIT) enabled students to develop fundamental skills in cloud computing and in the process, enhanced their competencies in cloud platform services. This enhanced the students’ knowledge of cloud services, which is vital to today’s IT professionals.  SIT students and staff had signed up and were awarded the certification that is widely recognised by the IT industry.



Moving Forward

Partnerships between NYP and technology and industry leaders are crucial to the holistic development of students. It will prepare them well to meet industry expectations and needs. Driven by my strong desire to bring real-life challenges to the classroom, I continually seek out opportunities for collaboration. I am grateful that Microsoft recognised my zeal in developing today’s students into tomorrow’s IT professionals, and has been extremely supportive of my efforts.


I am also very thankful for the trust shown by Microsoft, evidenced by the substantial contributions in curriculum, courseware, and development of DBA curriculum. Microsoft’s involvement and contribution to the curriculum further assured our students that they would develop in-trend skills and become valued professionals in the dynamic IT industry.


I hope to further deepen collaborations with Microsoft and enlarge opportunities in curriculum integration, co-development, co-teaching, co-mentoring and co-certification in the future, not just for DBA but also for other diplomas.


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