FASS Staff Profile



Brief Introduction

Jonathan Y. H. Sim (沈耀发) is Associate Fellow of the NUS Teaching Academy and Lecturer with the Department of Philosophy, at the National University of Singapore. He teaches Chinese philosophy and the Philosophy of Computing and Data Analytics to both undergraduates and working professionals. He also teaches philosophy to the elderly as part of a collaboration between NUS and the National Silver Academy. For his passion in teaching and his effective teaching methods, Jonathan won the Faculty Teaching Excellence Award (FTEA) in 2019 and 2021. 

He is passionate about preparing his students to make an impact in society, and thus he has been mentoring and supervising many humanities and social science students for corporate internships in tech-related roles; and he has also been training many undergraduates to become effective and engaging educators under the University Teaching Opportunities Programme (UTOP). 

Jonathan has a special interest in crossing beyond disciplinary boundaries in the search for fascinating new insights to address age-old problems. It is for this reason that he has worked with Nobel Laureates (such as the late Sydney Brenner who discovered mRNA) and many top academics around the world to publish books on critical world issues, such as “Grand Challenges for Science in the 21st Century” (New Jersey: World Scientific, 2018), “Buying Time for Climate Action” (New Jersey: World Scientific, 2021), and “Fit for Purpose? The Futures of Universities” (New Jersey: World Scientific, 2022).

For his passion in sharing the joys of philosophy and his unique insights as a philosopher on a spectrum of applied issues, Jonathan has been invited to speak on matters such as AI, education, tech and society, and the future of work for the Business Times, Channel New Asia, China Global TV Network, the Financial Times, the Straits Times, South China Morning Post, and TODAY News. 

Teaching Areas

Currently Teaching:

  • GEI1001/GET1050 “Computational Reasoning”
    • Succeeded in implementing teaching interventions/innovations to enhance learning and students’ self-trust to apply their learning to the working world. Many students are able to successfully secure internships and jobs after graduation because of the skills taught in this module. Presented many of these innovations as talks and articles internationally.
  • UTOA2001PH “Undergraduate Teaching Opportunities Programme”
    • 60% of my TAs received excellent teaching evaluations that exceed the department average. 
    • Collaborating with the Centre for Development of Teaching and Learning to implement the successes of my TA training programme into new TA training initiatives for NUS.
  • PH2301 "Classical Chinese Philosophy"
  • (Executive Education) How to Achieve a More Meaningful Life with Philosophy
    • A collaboration between NUS and the National Silver Academy to offer philosophy courses to the elderly and alumni of NUS.
  • CR001x “Computational Reasoning with Microsoft Excel” on edX (https://www.edx.org/course/computational-reasoning)
    • Received the NUS LIFT Grant of S$13,480 to develop GET1050 into an EdX MOOC
    • After a year, we have a total of 3000 enrolments, with 80 students on the paid track and a 40% completion rate (higher than completion rates of most MOOCs (usually 5-15%)


Past Courses Taught:

  • GEQ1000 "Asking Questions"
  • GET1031A "Computational Thinking"
  • DMA1401PH "Computational Reasoning in the Corporate World"
    • Successfully placed and trained FASS students as interns for tech-related positions who did exceedingly well that some employers are now keen to hire FASS majors for technical positions.
  • DMA1402PH "Confucianism in the Modern World"
    • Under my supervision, 3 students received the Maih Lan Ying Confucianism Scholarship from the Nanyang Confucian Association.
  • (Executive Education) The Professional Certificate in Human and Automated Managerial Skills
    • Compulsory core programme to prepare unemployed learners for upskilling initiatives under the SGUnited Skills Programme
    • Conducted the course 13x times and generated a total revenue of ~$1.8m from this endeavour.


Teaching Areas:

  • Chinese Philosophy, Metacognition, Ethics, Philosophy of Technology, Philosophy of Computing, Philosophy of Data Analysis, C/C++ and VBA Programming.






  • Jonathan Y. H. Sim. 2016. “The Audacity to Reform: The Impact of Clark Kerr’s Vision in History and What We Can Learn in Dealing with the Rising Demand for Higher Education.” Asian Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. 6(1):116-121.


  • Jonathan Y. H. Sim. 2018. “Harmonising Fractured Communities: A Confucian Approach to the Problems of Distribution.” Masters Dissertation. National University of Singapore.
  • Jonathan Y. H. Sim. 2013. “Notions of Harmony in Classical Chinese Thought.” Honours Dissertation. National University of Singapore.


Academic Talks and Public Speaking

Academic Talks and Conference Presentations

  • Dec 2023: “The Rise of New Ethical Challenges in Generative AI from a Confucian Perspective.” Paper presented at the Singapore-South Korea AI Ethics Symposium 2023, organised by the Singapore Science Centre and Chung-Ang University (South Korea). This event was sponsored by the Ministry of Education (South Korea), the National Research Foundation of Korea, Digital Chosun (South Korea), and THE AI (South Korea).
  • Dec 2023: “Teaching Augmentative Uses of ChatGPT and Other Generative AI Tools.” Paper presented at the Higher Education Campus Conference (HECC) 2023, held in NUS.
  • Nov 2023: “Bridging Generations with Ancient Wisdom: Understanding and Overcoming the Divide with the Confucian Notion of Li (禮),” organised by The HEAD Foundation as part of their regular dialogue series for educators in Singapore and Southeast Asia (online streaming).
  • Nov 2023: “The Future of Education with ChatGPT and Other GenAI Tools: Insights from the Challenges and Opportunities in Teaching with GenAI Tools Today,” organised by the Ministry of Education, Gifted Education Branch for the Gifted Education Conference 2023, “New Frontiers. Greater Opportunities.” at Hwa Chong Institution.
  • Nov 2023: “Exploring Teaching and Learning in Dentistry with Generative Artificial Intelligence: Opportunities, Challenges and Insights,” organised by the South-East Asian Association of Dental Educators (SEAADE) for their 34th Annual Scientific Conference in NUS.
  • Oct 2023: “Training Undergraduate Teaching Assistants: Challenges and Opportunities.” Career Advancement for FASS Educators (CAFE), NUS.
  • Oct 2023: “How to Foster Responsible and Rigorous Learning with ChatGPT and Other GenAI Tools in a Medical Context.” Department of Microbiology and Immunology, NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine.
  • Sep 2023: “GenAI and Education: What’s Coming and How the Future of Education Could Look Like.” NUS Teaching Academy.
  • Aug 2023: “Fostering Responsible and Rigorous Learning with GenAI.” NUS Centre for Development of Teaching and Learning (CDTL), Lunchtime Series.
  • Jul 2023: “Exploring Teaching and Learning with Artificial Intelligence: Opportunities, Challenges, and Insights.” Applied Learning Conference 2023 at Marina Bay Sands, organised by the Singapore Institute of Technology.
  • Jun 2023: “How are we responding to ChatGPT in our teaching?” Asian Community of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL-Asia).
  • 2023. “Ideas for Teaching and Learning Philosophy with ChatGPT and Other AI Tools.” NUS Department of Philosophy.
  • 2023. “ChatGPT and Its Impact on NUS.” NUS Teaching Academy. 
  • 2023. “The Role of Universities in Higher Education.” Panel Discussion organised by the George Town Institute of Open and Advanced Studies at Wawasan Open University, Penang, Malaysia. (Invited Talk)
  • 2022. “Methods for Fostering Intellectual Self-Trust in Students.” Paper presented at the Higher Education Campus Conference (HECC) 2022, held in NUS. (This paper won the Best Paper Presentation award)
  • 2022. “The Five Awarenesses of Teaching and How Reflecting on Them Shapes Me as an Educator.” Career Advancement for FASS Educators (CAFE) in NUS.
  • 2022. “Sharing on Teaching GET1050/GEI1001 in FASS.”  Computational Thinking Plug-and-Play TEG Learning Community, NUS. (Invited Talk)
  • 2021. “Computational Reasoning: How to Think Critically about our Digital Solutions?”, Organised by SkillsFuture Singapore at Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT). (Invited Talk)
  • 2021. “Engaging the Minds and Hearts of the GE Learner.” Organised by Office of the Provost and Senior Deputy President (PVOSDP) for the “General Education Tutors’ Summer Conference.” (Invited Plenary Speaker)
  • 2021. “How to Effectively Engage Students through Blended Learning,” Career Advancement for FASS Educators (CAFE) in NUS.
  • 2019. “Thinking About Computational Thinking: Questioning the Processes for Flaws, Biases, and Socio-Ethical Implications.” Science and Mathematics Research Seminar. Science and Mathematics Cluster, Singapore University of Technology & Design (SUTD). (Invited Talk) 
  • 2017: “The Role of Li (禮) in the Distribution of Material Goods.” Paper presented at the 20th International Conference of the International Society for Chinese Philosophy (ISCP), held in NTU Singapore.
  • 2017: “Is There a Social Justice Dimension in Li (禮)?” Paper presented at the 3rd Nanyang Graduate Student Colloquium 2017. (This paper won the Best Paper Presentation award)
  • 2015: “Complexity Science and Chinese Philosophy.” Paper co-authored with Jan W. Vasbinder, the Director of the Institute Para Limes, NTU. Paper presented during the Plenary Session of the Conference on Complex Systems 2015 in Tempe, Arizona, USA, organised by Arizona State University, the Complex Systems Society and the Santa Fe Institute.
  • 2014: “Differences between the Chinese and Western Traditions of Thought” at the workshop entitled, “Exploring the East-West Barrier,” organised by Institute Para Limes, NTU.
  • 2013: “Reconciling Culinary and Musical Models of Harmony in Classical Chinese Thought.” Paper presented at the Joint Meeting of the Society of Asian and Comparative Philosophy (SACP) and the Australasian Society of Asian and Comparative Philosophy (ASACP), held in Singapore.


Public Speaking Engagements

  • Aug 2023: “Unpacking the Complexities of Digital Dependency.” NUS College of Humanities and Sciences. (Invited Talk)
  • Aug 2023: "A.I. 101: Understanding ChatGPT and Other A.I. Tools for Students," organised by the National Library Board (NLB) for the "Let's be S.U.R.E." programme.
  • Jul 2023: “An Adventure in the Pursuit of Happiness,” organised by the NUS Office of Alumni Relations (OAR) and the NUS School of Continuing and Lifelong Education (SCALE), for the NUS Homecoming 2023 for alumni. (Invited Talk)
  • Apr 2023: “Demonstration of ChatGPT: Uses for Working Professionals,” organised by the NUS School of Computing at the Chat on GPT workshop for the general public.
  • Apr 2023: “The Role of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Humanising Technological Disruptions,” organised by the NUS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences for DiscoverFASS 2023.
  • Apr 2023: “Breaking Barriers: How Technology is Revolutionising Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI),” masterclass conducted at CAPITALAND’s Learning Carnival.
  • Mar 2023: “Confucianism in the Modern World,” a 4-part lecture series organised by the Nanyang Confucian Association – The Academy of Confucius Learning for the general public.
  • Jan 2023. “The Teachings of Confucius: Beneficial or Detrimental to Modern Singapore?” Nanyang Confucius Association. (Invited Talk)
  • 2022. “Discussion with Book Co-author of Memoirs of a Flying Tiger.” Singapore Press Holdings. (Invited Talk)
  • 2021. “HistoriaSG: Behind Memoirs of a Flying Tiger.” National Museum of Singapore. (Invited Talk) 
  • 2016: “Insights on the Dynamic Digital Revolution” at the Asia Business Summit, jointly organised by the Institute of Asian Consumer Insight and Channel News Asia.
  • 2015: “The Ethical and Societal Implications of Hi-Tech Development” at the Smarter World Summit, jointly organised by the Financial Times and the Institute of Asian Consumer Insight.
  • 2014: “Disruptive Innovation, Open Hardware, and Arduino” at the World Arduino Day 2014, jointly organised by SG Makers and the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA), Singapore.


Conference Chair/Moderator

  • 2016: Conference Chair for the conference, “East of West, West of East,” organised by Institute Para Limes, NTU at Mandarin Orchard Hotel, Singapore.
  • 2016: Session Moderator for the paper, “Environment and Brains, Food for Thought,” by Georges M. Halpern, Honorary Professor, Department of Applied Biology and Chemical Technology, Hong Kong Polytechnic University. At the “Silent Transformations” Conference, organised by Institute Para Limes, NTU.
  • 2015: Session Moderator for the session, “Complexity and the Shift in Western Thought,” by W. Brian Arthur, External Professor, Santa Fe Institute. At the “Emerging Patterns” Conference, organised by Institute Para Limes, NTU.

Media Interviews and Mentions

Last Modified: 2024-01-25         Total Visits: 3909