Two student-led projects which won recognition at RMIT Vietnam’s recent Industry Networking Night, held on 16 May in Ho Chi Minh City, illuminate the University’s focus on authentic learning and assessment.
Authentic learning projects provide transformative experiences to students by using industry-relevant cases, examples and problems while helping students develop industry-relevant skills.
More than 30 such projects were showcased at the event, and five were chosen for the “Best Student Showcase Awards” by over 100 industry guests.
Tran Van Minh, Nguyen Sieu Bo and Nguyen Huy Cuong – all students in the Bachelor of Information Technology program – were members of one of the winning groups thanks to their Smart Plant System.
“The project is about building a system which automatically waters your garden when the soil moisture gets low,” Minh explains.
“We have an array of sensors for moisture, humidity and temperature. These devices continuously send environmental data to the server.”
Users can track this data, which is depicted through easy-to-read graphs, via a website or mobile app. When needed, they can then push a button to turn the water in their garden on or off.
Another winning group includes Le Hai Dung, Tran Hoang Phuong Anh, Tran Ha Nguyen Tam and Ngo Thuy Ngoc Thao, who are all in their final year in the Bachelor of Communication (Professional Communication) program. Their SOUL Project looks at the issues of depression and mental health in a unique way.
A poster board depicts a heart with one half missing. One can choose to complete the heart with a cut-out saying either “I’m here for you,” or “Think positive” in response to someone who says they are depressed.
If one chooses the latter phrase, a magnet pushes it away from the heart, while the former sticks to the board. The group designed this to show that positive thinking is not enough to treat depression.
“We looked at posts on Facebook where people said ‘I have depression,’ and a lot of the comments were like ‘Are you sure?’ or ‘I know the feeling, I’ve been there, just think positive’,” Phuong Anh says.
“This is dangerous and can be hurtful to depressed people,” Tam adds.
She explains that clinical depression, the type caused by a chemical imbalance, cannot simply be cured by thinking positively.
She and her fellow group members were happy that they won the award, though not simply because it reflected well on their work.
“We were happy that people actually listened to our project and are starting to pay attention to depression,” Tam explains.
“One of the reasons we chose this issue is because many people don’t know about mental health and depression in Vietnam, but I think they are open-minded if we start talking about it.”
The three other winning group projects were A Great Tale, Thai Le Design and Care to Action.
Story: Michael Tatarski