Posted on August 19, 2013 by orbital

Photo Credits: TerryDu @ Flickr

Dear students:

A very big thanks to all of you for making this first iteration of Orbital a rousing success!  You are all winners in that you have taken your own initiative to take charge of your learning through the hacking process of trial-and-error, assessment, iteration, and design.

Let’s be clear that Python and GAE are just the technologies of today, and even six months down the road, the technology will differ.  The constant will be your determination, to find out for yourselves and learn from and build on each other.  With the myriad talks that you have heard, you’ll have realized that your skills are in high demand and that you really can do something great with what you can pick up on your own.

As we sign off for Orbital, we have a few (four) announcements to make:

Certificates: We will be printing certificates for all teams that completed Orbital.  The achievements will have your name (as provided in the registration for credit form that you filled in this/last week), your Orbital level of achievement (Vostok, Project Gemini or Apollo 11) as well as a layman’s explanation of the level (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced).  You may pick them up at the Undergraduate Office, hopefully by the end of the week.  Your names and achievement levels will also be made public on the Orbital webpage (if you’d like not be listed, we’ll be happy to honor that; just send us mail) as the 2013 Orbital cohort.

Photos / Videos: from Splashdown will be published out on the Orbital homepage in the Splashdown page.  Look for it in a few days with the certificate announcement.  Student videos that are public on YouTube will be compiled into a public YouTube playlist (hint: use your videos, images of your posters in your next pitch for internships, jobs).

Feedback: This course was put together by learning from all of you (in the early feedback in Sem II) and your SoC club seniors (in Comp Club, NUS Hackers, Student Chapter of the ACM, Games Development Group and the Student Network Associates), but we need your help to improve Orbital for the incoming freshmen who will have a chance to do Orbital next summer.  We’ll be asking you to jog down memory lane and critique Orbital, by letting us know all of the ways that Orbital didn’t work, as well as your aha! moments when you knew there was a better way we could have done things.  We’re also looking for a few good men and women who would like to make Orbital happen for the next batch next year as mentors and TAs for the course.  Please stay tuned for a survey link within the next couple of days — we really do appreciate all your feedback — especially your most critical and helpful comments.

Kudos: Orbital was put together by so much love from so many helpful individuals.  We can’t thank them all for helping out, but we’ll try!  They are hard at work behind the scenes to make it all happen as smoothly as possible.  You probably didn’t realize that the infrastructure requirement for running this course is really tremendous…

For the school: UG office staff (Pei Pei, Arifah: Admin support, Registration support), AV staff (Siti: AV support), Building Facilities staff (Judy: for use of SR1 and SR1 setup), Dean’s office staff (Theresa: Coordination of catering), Technical Services (for poster printing), TAs (Cuong, Tam, Pallav, Camillus and Mansheng; Advising, Booster services, Evaluation, Mission Control), Faculty ( Weng Fai, Khe Chai and all of our staff who came to visit you to see your projects).

External help: Mentors (Siva, Jan, Jing @ Google; Laurence, Ruiwen @ BillPin; Luther @ Gradeful, Pallav, Camillus @ SoC; Calvin @ PUGS; Mickey @ HiredTurf, Michael @ mig33: advising Apollo 11, Liftoff workshop), Venture capital and start-up firms, Orbital Liftoff Workshop / Splashdown Closing / Mission Control Sessions (Alvin @ PayPal; Jeffrey, Justin @ Golden Gate VC; James @ Silicon Straits; Winston @ Neo), Blk 71 Staffers (Liana, Nixon: sponsorship of Blk 71 space); IDA (Chris Ng,, Google Developers Group, Python User Group — Singapore, Singapore Python Platoon, PyConSG

We’d also like to thank Google (Cheryl, Minty, Shunjie, Jan, Siva, Jing and Davidson) for their stellar sponsorship of this programme.  They have devoted time, manpower and money (for printing of your posters AND the auxiliary Grow Beyond with Google programme AND food AND prizes) to help propel Orbital up several notches!

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