One of the project teams showing their prototype for a system to improve the cleanliness of the open-air hawker centers in Singapore.

Visiting the Golden Gat Bridge before leaving for Singapore

The students at Haw Par Villa, a park in Sinagapore that has statues and displays inspired by Chinese Mythology

International Product Development and Design

Location of Program: Singapore      Year: 2013
Program Director(s): Brian Jensen
Participating Major(s): All Engineering and Technology Majors


In conjunction with students from the National University of Singapore and Penn state, learn and apply aspects of global product design in an international environment culminating in a final design project for a product to be used in Singapore.

Recap of the Year:

The International Product Development and Design course was held from 13 May to 2 June 2013, with the final project report due on 10 June. The course included 7 BYU students, as well as 7 students from Penn State University and 18 from the National University of Singapore (NUS). The BYU students’ names and majors are listed at the end of this report.

On 13 May, the BYU students traveled to San Francisco to visit IDEO, a visit arranged through Matt Adams, a BYU graduate who works at IDEO. Following the tour of IDEO, the class flew to Singapore, arriving in the afternoon of 15 May. The course lectures began on 16 May at NUS, and continued daily until 31 May. Lectures were given by 5 different professors: Brian Jensen (BYU), Matt Parkinson (PSU), Han Tong Loh (NUS), Wen Feng Lu (NUS, and Greg Roach (BYU-Idaho). In addition to the lectures, the students were divided into 6 project teams, each consisting of 2-3 NUS students and 2-3 students from one or more of the American universities. The project teams were responsible to design a product or system to improve the cleanliness or efficiency of the open-air hawker centers in Singapore.

Class was held from 9-5 every weekday. A typical class day would begin with 2-3 hours of lectures, followed by project work time and project reviews with the professors. During the class, there were also two afternoon visits arranged at local companies: one to a design firm (similar to IDEO, but much smaller), and one to a manufacturing company. Students also took advantage of weekends and evenings to see sights in Singapore, frequently with their project partners from NUS. The BYU students kept learning journals in which they described daily what they had learned and experienced that day.

Overall, the students had a great experience and performed well. Looking back at the course, a few things could have helped it to go even more smoothly. For example, students from the three universities had no contact with each other before meeting in Singapore. With only a little effort, they could have connected with each other (for example, through Facebook) before meeting in person. The students also felt that they could have used a bit more time to work on the project, perhaps by reducing the lecture time. They also would have appreciated a tour of facilities available at NUS toward the start of the course. Finally, from the university side, more classroom visits to advertise the course during fall semester would probably have given more students the information they needed to apply. While the course ran fine with 7 students, 12-14 would be more ideal.

The whole class during a trip to visit Makino, a manufacturer of mills and lathes.