Posted on February 15, 2013 by orbital

imagesThe Orbital programme will be administered by fellow senior students, in the guise of training events such as workshops and hackathons, and also partially graded by your fellow Orbital batchmates through peer-grading.



Here’s a timeline for the structure of the programme (current as of 15 Feb 2013):

  • Jan 2013: Stakeholder interviews to give program its basic structure
  • Feb: Orbital programme launched. Prospective launchees to express interest in programme to manage logistics. Launchees also to express which self-selected level of achievements they wish to strive for.
  • Feb-Apr: Optional, Orbital-sanctioned workshops run by student groups.
  • Summer Week 1 (13-14 May): Liftoff: 2-day series of talks and workshops at SoC Seminar Room 1. Matching of self-selected advanced groups with industry mentors.
  • May-Aug: Teams work on their progress. Weekly reports to be filed. Monthly check-ins and peer grading to be done by project groups. Mission Control (weekly hacking) sessions to be held in SoC on weekend evenings
  • Sem I Week 0 (5 Aug): Splashdown (showcase) at SoC Seminar Room 1. Final report to be submitted for checking.

After the summer term ends, students will be notified whether they have completed all of the necessary achievements for the pass (S), by Week 1 or 2 of Sem I. If so, the students can enrol for the course and be guaranteed 4 MCs of unrestricted elective (UE) credit at the end of Sem I.

Posted on February 15, 2013 by orbital

Orbital is a new School of Computing programme, designed to give first year students the opportunity to 1) self-learn and 2) build something useful. It is designed as a 4 modular credit (MC) module that is taken pass/fail (CS/CU) over the summer1.

Unlike the School’s traditional modules which emphasize academic learning, this module leverages the growing opportunity that computing students at all levels have in building useful applications. This skill does not normally come by formal training, but rather requires time, experience, trial-and-error to hone. Information foraging for technical details on the Web can be difficult, but we feel that through a combination of self- and peer-help, students will be able to put together useful systems and generate confidence in being able to go beyond the basics, and seek solutions on their own. In fact, computing is the only discipline whose output can scale dramatically; a single person’s work can affect millions of lives, everyday.

Our School does not teach programming prowess as formal coursework, as it is not academic in nature. Orbital is one mode where young energetic students can fill this gap by their own initiative.

Read more about the Orbital programme’s structure in pages tagged with ‘orbital‘.

1Credit will be provided under CP3108B Independent Work.

Thank you for your interest in Orbital 2020! The application period has ended on 18 March, 6pm.
We will review the applications and notify the successful applicants by mid April.
In addition, due to the COVID-19 virus situation, we might have to run our opening event, Lift-off (11 May), in a different way. We will make an announcement about this once we have finalized the details.
Take care and stay healthy!
The application period for Orbital 2020 is going to start on 11 March (today) at 6pm and end on 18 March (next Wednesday) at 6pm.
The briefing slides @ have been updated to include a few important notes (partially quoted as below) and more FAQs. Please read the slides again before submitting your application.
Important notes:
– The application process is NOT first-come-first-served. All valid applications will be reviewed.
– Each team should only submit one application. Additional applications from the same team will be ignored.
– Each student should apply under only one team. If a student is found to be applying under multiple teams, all applications involving this student will be ignored.
– Please follow the instructions in the application form closely. Applications with incomplete / missing / inaccurate / improperly formatted information will be ignored.
– Please make use of the Google Form @ to submit your application.
All the best!
Since the DORSCON level is still Orange and activities of more than 50 participants are to be avoided, there will be no physical briefing session for Orbital 2020.
Instead, please refer to the slides @ for more details about the programme.
Do take note that the application period is from 11 March, 6pm to 18 March, 6pm, and the link to the application portal will be announced closer to the date.
[Summary: To take part in Orbital 2020, you will need to form a team of 2, create a project proposal, and submit your application in mid March.]
Orbital is an optional, self-driven, hands-on, summer project course for year 1 students.
The mission of the course is to give you the opportunity to get some practical experience on software development while granting you modular credits (along with other perks such as testimonials and prizes).
You will be working on a software project of your choice in teams of 2.
There are no formal lectures but two mandatory events: Lift-off (introductory workshop + idea presentation, 11 May) and Splashdown (project presentation + award ceremony, 26 Aug). You will also need to submit progress report online on a monthly basis. Otherwise, it’s independent learning and software development, under the guidance of our teaching team.
Tentatively, the application for Orbital 2020 will be open on 11 Mar with an information session on the same day. The application will be closed on 18 Mar and the successful applicants will be notified by email by mid Apr. A sample proposal can be found @
[Do note that all the events might be held online instead of physically in view of the recent coronavirus situation.]
Please watch out for our email / Facebook announcements for more updates.
For more information about the programme, please check out the following links:
Have a nice week ahead!
[Summary: Go to to pick your slot if you want to interview for Orbital 2020 staff (advisers / tutors / developers) this month. The venue for the interview is COM2-02-10.]

We are currently recruiting advisers, tutors and developers for the Orbital programme this year.
The job scopes of the three positions are as follows:
– Advisers act as peer assessors and cheerleaders for teams taking Orbital. This means that you are to evaluate the progress of a few Orbital teams every month and guide those teams through the project. You don’t need to be tech-savvy — as long as you are willing to give feedback to the teams and help them along, you will have a good time with them.
Busy period: May to Aug (especially close to the monthly milestone evaluations)
Note: If you are experienced and willing to take care of more teams, you could be employed as a “senior” adviser and paid at the part-time TA rate (which is roughly 3 times higher than the student helper rate).
– Tutors act as the instructor for Liftoff and Mission Control workshops. This means you are in charge of teaching a particular subject to the students for 1~3 hours. If you wanted to level up on public speaking and technical tutorials, this is your opportunity. You don’t have to be an expert to teach — anyone can do it if they’re committed, and you can always answer the tough questions offline.
Busy period: May to Jun (especially during the Liftoff and Mission Control workshops)
– Developers are in charge of developing and maintaining Skylab (i.e., the official portal for Orbital). This will be a good chance for you to get firsthand experience on improving a web application for the benefit of all future Orbital students. Experience in ruby on rails and nginx is preferred but not required. You can always pick up the necessary skills as you work on the system.
Busy period: Late Feb to early Jun (especially before the major events / milestones)
If you wish to be interviewed for any of the positions, please visit the Doodle form ( and sign up for an interview slot. If you are interested but unable to make it for the slots given in the Doodle form, please contact me by email ( to arrange for an interview separately. The venue for the interview is COM2-02-10.
Look forward to hearing from you!