APU ISUC Members Soar At TCS Sustainathon Malaysia 2021 | Asia Pacific University (APU)

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APU ISUC Members Soar At TCS Sustainathon Malaysia 2021

A great win by solving real-world problems with a solid foundation of professional knowledge in computer science and software engineering

A creative prototype of an integrated digital learning app by five members of the Integrated Sustainability & Urban Creativity Centre (ISUC) Student Chapter at APU attained 1st runner-up honours at the TCS (Tata Consultancy Services) Sustainathon Malaysia 2021.

Congratulations to Yudhishthra S Sugumaran, the team leader & a Diploma in ICT Software Engineering student and his coursemates -  Ethan Thong Ken Zen, Tan Wai Kaey, Chua E Heng; together with Simerjit Kaur Sagoo, a BSc (Hons) in Computer Science student. The pandemic delayed Malaysian event concluded on 22nd April 2022.

Besides winning a cash prize of RM7,000, they qualified for TCS Sustainathon ASEAN 2021 which is scheduled to be held in June 2022. 

Organised by Tata Consultancy Service (TCS), a global leader in IT services, digital and business solutions, TCS Sustainathon Malaysia 2021 was a hackathon that aims to address the educational challenges faced by the nation during the COVID-19 Pandemic. 

The event attracted proposals from 66 teams. Eventually, nine teams entered the semi-finals stage and five teams qualified for the finals. 

There were a total of four problem statements to be chosen by the contesters, namely – “Digital Divide & Disconnection”, “Absenteeism & Remote Learning”, “Accessible Education for the Blind” and “Integrated Digital Learning Platform”. 

“To address the barriers of remote learning, we chose the topic of Integrated Digital Learning Platform. Our solution aims to centralise all educational activities and resources, establish a strong community for teachers and students, and provide easier traceability of educational progress for teachers and parents of their students or children,” said Ethan. 

Ethan took the role of prototype designer, ideator and domain expert during the competition. According to him, besides great synergy as a team, well-designed and simple slides and effective brainstorming, one of the biggest winning factors was the role play by Yudhishthra as the team leader. 

“He is best known as ‘hackathon hacker’ because of his vast history of hackathon wins. He guided our team which is mostly made up of first-timers through the process and structure of a hackathon, along with the formatting of pitch and expectations of judging.”  

Conversely, Yudhishthra observed his team members and all contestants as a whole are passionate changemakers. “I could see their enthusiasm when championing their solutions during the finale. They always related their solution to the pain points of students, teachers, and parents, and this is critical in ensuring the success of any product. 

Wai Kaey shared that the biggest takeaway from participating in this competition was taking constructive criticism and focusing on the final goal of perfecting a product; E Heng lauded what had been taught in the classroom had helped him and his coursemates in developing the prototype – EduRealm. Also, the fundamentals of business and entrepreneurship had helped him in developing the cost table and obtained funding for EduRealm.

Reflecting on the process that she had come through, Simerjit shared, that she realised the modules provided by APU were used in the preparation stage which allowed her to implement strategies from an innovative business perspective.

On the stage of honour, from left - Ethan Thong Ken Zen, Yudhishthira S Sugumaran, Ms Abbhirami Sivarajan, Simerjit Kaur Sagoo, Chua E Heng and Tan Wai Kaey.

According to Ms Abbhirami Sivarajan, the club advisor and lecturer, this victory was evidence of the commitment, time and passion that has been put in by the team. They had been working on this project for six months by contributing their unique individual skillsets. 

“They have also gained valuable insights given by the competition mentors on how to do market research and make the EduRealm competitive in the market. I truly believe the students can come up with their startups soon,” added Ms Abbhirami. 

We wish the very best to the team in their endeavour at TCS Sustainathon ASEAN 2021 next month. Learn more and Enjoy more!