Can we encourage citizen participation in governmental policy-making through online deliberation? This is the question that the Online Deliberation project team, headed by A/P Weiyu Zhang, has been trying to answer in the past couple of years. They have been involved in the development, testing and operation of an online deliberation platform. The platform attracts its members through random sampling (for national representativeness), after which they undergo weeks-long online deliberative sessions. The entire process is gamified with incentives to encourage better participation. To ensure deliberative quality, members are trained on online educational materials and provided with an IBIS based argumentation-support system. The platform provides support for argument visualization through a deliberation graph — a mind-map of salient arguments organised as an abstract topic-model. Separate access points are provided to policy-makers, wherein they can view anonymised meta-data of past deliberative sessions and carry out automated textual analysis to glean relevant insights. Currently, the platform helps citizens share their opinions and articulate policy suggestions regarding the issue of national population, but in the future the Online Deliberation team hopes to expand to other usage scenarios as well.

The Team

Faculty Members


Wei Yu

Weiyu Zhang is Associate Professor at the Department of Communications and New Media, National University of Singapore. She holds a Ph.D. in Communication from Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on civic engagement and ICTs, with an emphasis on Asia. She is the author of the book “The Internet and New Social Formation in China: Fandom Publics in the Making”. Her published articles have appeared in Journal of Communication, Communication Theory, Communication Research, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Information, Communication, & Society, International Communication Gazette, Computers & Education, Computers in Human Behavior, and many others. Her current project is to develop and examine an online platform for citizen deliberation. Her personal website is: www.weiyuzhang.net


Leanne Chang

Dr. Leanne Chang is Associate Professor in Media and Communication Studies, School of International Communications, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, the University of Nottingham Ningbo China. She had previously worked in the Department of Communications and New Media at the National University of Singapore. Her research program integrates health communication and political communication with focuses on health in aging societies and the procedural justice of health policy making. Her work involves the use of both quantitative and qualitative approaches to develop theoretical understanding of health information management and health decision making, as well as to explore the communicative basis of citizen support for policy making. Her research has been published in communication and public health journals such as the Journal of Communication, Communication Theory, Health Communication, the International Journal of Medical Informatics, and Qualitative Health Research.


Carol Soon

Carol Soon (Co-PI) has done a PhD dissertation on how Singaporean bloggers identify and organize themselves in civic engagement. Carol has also examined the opportunities and challenges posed by internet technologies to women organizations in Singapore and Australia, when she was awarded the visiting fellowship to Murdoch University. In so doing, her work has explored the intersection between technology deployment and institutionalization/de-institutionalization of contemporary movement organizations. Her Singapore-focused works have appeared in Asian Journal of Communication, and Journal of Information Technology and Politics.


Simon Perrault

Dr Simon Perrault received his BSc and MSc degrees from University of Lille 1 (France) in 2006 and 2008. He then worked as a research associate for the University of Ghent (Belgium) in 2009 before starting his PhD in Computer Science in Telecom ParisTech (France). He defended his PhD in April 2013, and joined the School of Computing in National University of Singapore (NUS) in December 2013 as a post-doctoral researcher. He is now an assistant professor at the Yale-Nus College. His research interests are Human Computer Interaction, specifically Mobile and Wearable Computing.


Sheng Dong

Shengdong Zhao (Co-PI) has a research focus on web and social media, which are meant for promoting collaboration among users and engendering social benefits. He and his team have created a Facebook game called “Farmer’s Tale” to attract and make it easier for people to volunteer. Another project called MOGCLASS developed a multimodal collaborative music environment that enhances students’ musical experience and improves teachers’ management of the classroom. Evaluation results showed that MOGCLASS is effective in motivating students to learn music, improving the way they collaborate with other students as well as helping teachers manage the classroom. Other web-based toolkits he and his colleagues have built include a web analysis tool for measuring users’ revisit behaviour and a tool to measure user interaction with streaming 3D meshes. Many of these projects have been presented at major conferences such as ACM CHI.

Administrative Staff



Azeemah Mustafa was a Research Associate at Communications and New Media Department of National University of Singapore. She holds a Master degree in Human Sciences specializing in Organizational Communication from International Islamic University Malaysia. Prior to her appointment, she served various non-governmental organizations including United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and played a leading role in community building projects in one of the largest Islamic organization in Singapore. She has managed several research centres in Singapore such as the Centre for Research on Islam and Malay Affairs (RIMA) and Centre for Specialization in working with Malay/Muslim. She also worked closely with the local and international media, contributing regular columns on daily newspaper and assisting coverage on broadcast media. Azeemah was a recipient of various awards amongst others, Al Ghazali Best Student Award at the 25th Convocation Fiesta of the International Islamic University Malaysia. Her broad exposure in local and international community work has developed her interest in wide array of organizational communication, culture and communication, media and society, media advocacy and media policies. In her free time Azeemah travels and takes up classes to fuel her thirst for knowledge.



Jing Jing

I’m Liang Jingjing, I got my bachelor of Arts degree from Nanjing University in China, and now I am a grade 1 master student at the Department of communication and new media, National University of Singapore. My current research interests lie in online public opinion, political communication, and also fandom culture.


Sanju Menon

Sanju is a final year PhD Student whose doctoral thesis in HCI explores how behavioral design can influence the nature of communication within the context of online deliberation. He obtained his Master’s Degree in Cognitive Science from CBCS, India. He also has 2 years of work experience as a busineness & Marketing Manager and 1 year (included) experience with product development & market research as co-founder for a startup. 


Yang Tian

YANG Tian is a master student in Department of Communication and New Media. He received his bachelor’s degree of Computer Science & Technology and Journalism (for second degree) both from Tsinghua University in 2015. His research interests mainly focus on political communication. 


Wang Yang

WANG Yang is a PhD candidate at the Department of Communications and New Media, National University of Singapore. Her research interests focus on Information and communication technologies (ICTs) domestication of transnational households, digital media use and gender identity, as well as public participation of Chinese netizens.

Software Engineers



Jeffrey Effendy is a final year undergraduate pursuing degree in Computer Science with minor in Financial Mathematics at National University of Singapore. His study field is mainly focused on visual computing and computer graphics.



Turning daydreams into reality, one line of code at a time.” – A software engineer and technopreneur at heart, Joseph believes in software engineering excellence and innovation being able to enhance, optimise and disrupt business processes. As an engineer, he specialises in development of web-based products and services, and he is always interested in optimising businesses/creating new markets through the use of technology. He can be found at https://joeir.net and he writes about technology somewhat regularly at https://blog.joeir.net.

Sponsors & Partners


This research was funded by Singapore’s Ministry of Education Tier 2 grant (MOE2013-T2-1-105). Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funder.


Department of Communications and New Media, NUS

Link: http://www.fas.nus.edu.sg/cnm/


Link: http://www.nus-hci.org/

Institute of Policy Studies

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Link: http://lkyspp.nus.edu.sg/ips/


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