WOU shares administrative best practices with OUSL

WOU conducted a three-day training workshop on regional centre operations for 15 assistant directors from the regional centres and study centres of The Open University of Sri Lanka (OUSL) from 9-11 April 2018.

 Prof Phalachandra addressing the participants.

Prof Phalachandra addressing the participants.

The training programme was coordinated by Prof Phalachandra Bhandigadi from the School of Education, Languages and Communications.

The objective of the workshop was to expose participants to WOU’s best practices in student recruitment, admissions, assessment and support systems as well as in the other operations like HR recruitment, property management, library services, budget planning, development and delivery of programmes, and learning facilities.

 Senior Assistant Registrar Gomathi Chandrasekaran elaborates on student admissions.

Senior Assistant Registrar Gomathi Chandrasekaran elaborates on student admissions.

OUSL is the only open university in Sri Lanka and has 9 regional centres and 18 study centres spread across 9 provinces. It boasts a student enrolment of 5,000 every year. OUSL offers 63 programmes with ongoing recruitment all year round for its different groups of programmes.

At the closing session, Prof Phalachandra mentioned that there are future plans for WOU to collaborate on training and research with OUSL. He also recalled that WOU had conducted a 10-day training workshop for the academic staff of OUSL in November 2014.

 Registrar Dr Andy Liew Teik Kooi (standing, left) highlights on WOU's constitution and policies.

Registrar Dr Andy Liew Teik Kooi (standing, left) highlights on WOU's constitution and policies.

In his sharing on behalf of the participants, Dr Kithsiri Hector Jayawardana, Acting Director of OUSL’s Regional Educational Services, lauded the “very useful” training.  He added, “WOU has new and fast techniques and methodologies. We must also convert to new tools and technologies to improve our system.” He said OUSL is targeting to increase its total enrolment from the current 45,000 to 50,000 registered students by 2020.

He also remarked that OUSL will require WOU support for the training of other groups of regional centres’ staff in the future. “We still follow a lot of manual techniques and have only now introduced some online methods.” 

 Prof Zoraini Wati Abas presents certificate of attendance to a participant.

Prof Zoraini Wati Abas presents certificate of attendance to a participant.

Acting WOU Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas highlighted that both universities can learn from each other through “sharing of knowledge and skills”. She also proposed that OUSL can participate as a member of the editorial board for a planned Asian Journal on Open Distance Learning (ODL) to be published in collaboration with other open universities, ideally twice a year, and also join the OER Symposium at WOU next year.

She later presented certificates to the participants for completion of the 3-day training at WOU.

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OUSL, established in 1980, has its main campus located in Colombo with about 25,000 students while the various centres have 1,000 to 6,000 students.

 

Views from two participants of OUSL:

Dr K H Jayawardana, Acting Director of Regional Educational Services, OUSL

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“We register and provide education and services to the local students in our area. Our task should be expanded so that we need not bring everything to the central campus in Colombo.

Through this workshop, we have learned various techniques and easy methods to cater to the needs of students and offer them better service. The online system seems to be the most effective way to conduct registration and even for teaching. 

We had introduced online registration, about 2 years back, and also for re-registration. But the system belongs to the vendor and we have to approach the vendor even for small changes. Last year there were lots of problems but this has now been reduced. We are now requesting and asking management to have a better IT system so that we can handle even higher registration numbers.

We definitely have to use more online and IT facilities to reduce the workload, especially since the regional staff are kept busy throughout the year. We will inform the management to perhaps adopt the WOU system and have a particular period for intakes and student registration.

We have learnt a lot from this workshop and we hope to inform our authorities to modify the current system to enable us to provide optimum service and support to our students.”

 

Ms Hiranthi Galahitiyawa, Assistant Director, Badulla Regional Centre, OUSL.

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“We find that WOU uses computerised systems more than us; this is useful and makes work easier, such as e-HR and the PDF course materials. WOU also has a very good system for final assessments. With e-HR and e-Finance, the approval process is much faster without unnecessary delay.

We have introduced MyOUSL for enrolment and have a learning portal, but this is not that frequently used by our students due to limited IT facilities in some sectors in Sri Lanka.

We now undertake HR and finance work manually, while printed course materials and printed books are delivered from the central campus to all the centres.  We have e-books only for some courses.

Following the training, what we can start to apply at OUSL is e-HR. We then need not go to the central campus and do all the documentation. It will be quite easy. I will also recommend to our management to use e-Finance because we now have to fill the forms and send to the central campus by mail, and so it takes time to process.  

Our academic calendar is full as we run the programmes throughout the year.  I don’t think there are any plans to change this because with the facilities available, we may not be able to do all the registration at one time period. Overall the workshop was important for us as the topics discussed were all related to our duties.”

Promoting engagement through sponsorship in Charity Run

Wawasan Open University (WOU), in the spirit of corporate social responsibility (CSR), sponsored the participation of 40 staff and students in the ‘Run with Shades’ event held at the Penang Youth Park today, in conjunction with International Women’s Day.

 WOU participates in the Charity Run in support of domestic violence survivors.

WOU participates in the Charity Run in support of domestic violence survivors.

The sponsorship was in line with the University’s mission to more actively engage staff and students besides extending support to notable causes and reaching out to the community.

WOU, through its Marketing and Corporate Communications (MARCOM) department, sponsored 15 staff and 25 on-campus learning (OCL) students to join the 7-kilometre charity fun run.

 A few of the staff and students before the start of the run.

A few of the staff and students before the start of the run.

According to MARCOM and Regional Operations Director K H Chong, “WOU, as a people’s university, is determined to do its part as a good corporate citizen to support the work of NGOs like the Women’s Centre for Change (WCC), Penang.”

He continued, “The University has also declared 2018 and 2019 as the Year of Staff Engagement and Student Engagement respectively. We are therefore undertaking efforts to motivate our staff and students to become more engaged and connected to the institution through participation in various activities sponsored or organised by the University. We trust this will lead to a more pleasant, harmonious and productive work environment.”

 The full-time students with their finisher medal.

The full-time students with their finisher medal.

Chong added that the run also aligns well with the goal of the University to promote sports and recreational activities among the staff.

The University had contributed RM2,000 in sponsorship for its participation in the run  organised by WCC Penang and the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) in support of domestic violence survivors. Among the over 2,100 participants were Corporate Communications Manager Rasidah Mion and OCL Student Council president Pan Bo Zhong.

 All smiles...the staff show off their Run with Shades medal.

All smiles...the staff show off their Run with Shades medal.

The event was flagged off by State Women, Family and Community Development Committee chairman Chong Eng, MBPP mayor Yew Tung Seang, and WCC President Mariam Lim, at 7.30am. WOU’s participants managed to finish the run within 90 minutes to receive the finisher medal.

 The participants enjoyed free food, drinks and various performances after the run.

The participants enjoyed free food, drinks and various performances after the run.

Giving Priority to Staff Engagement and Transformation

WOU is focused on activating its transformation plans and improving on staff engagement this year to further enhance the profile of the University. In fact, the management has declared 2018 as the ‘Year of Staff Engagement’ and the subsequent year as ‘Year of Student Engagement’.

These were among the announcements from Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas during her maiden town hall session titled ‘WOU Transformation for the Next Decade’ at the main campus on March 6th. “WOU is about to transform itself into becoming a greater institution in the next decade, after a challenging past decade,” she remarked.

 Part of the staff at the town hall.

Part of the staff at the town hall.

She highlighted 4 selling factors of WOU, “A University by the Sea, A University with a Garden, A University with a Heritage Building, and A University with Student Diversity”.  She continued, “We are the people’s university. We can do more to become, truly a people’s university by putting the students first in our minds and in our hearts.”

She also presented enrolment statistics and financial highlights from 2007 to 2017, proclaiming to the loud applause of the staff that WOU “more than broke even for the first time” with an Expense over Income ratio of 99%.

 Prof Zoraini announces the Expense Over Income ratio for last year.

Prof Zoraini announces the Expense Over Income ratio for last year.

She asked the academics to consider the potential workload of the part-time students who have to juggle job, family and other responsibilities, with little time left for revision every week. She revealed that an analysis of the top 11 failing courses at WOU showed that the instructions of the TMAs were not clear or confusing, had too many questions or questions above the expected learning outcomes. She spoke on the need to tweak the TMAs and make the course materials more learner-friendly.

She said the University will implement measures to improve enrolment through its transformation activities and general operations, adding that as a start, WOU’s mission statement is being revisited with input from the Deans and the Management Board.

 A beautiful garden - one of the assets of the University.

A beautiful garden - one of the assets of the University.

Prof Zoraini informed that the University has already set up a Transformation Steering Committee headed by Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Chairman of WOU Board of Governors, and a Transformation Working Committee chaired by her which has 8 working streams. The streams are Digital Transformation, Pedagogical Transformation, Student Engagement, Staff Engagement, Marketing Stream, Financial Stream, Tutor Management, and Dual to Tri-semester Transformation.

She also announced that in line with the Year of Staff Engagement, there will be activities facilitated by the Human Resources department this year to contribute to the overall staff engagement, and in turn increase employee productivity and achieve targets.

 Responding to comments from staff.

Responding to comments from staff.

She urged all staff to be passionate, engaged employees and to work as a team if WOU is to achieve its transformation, staff engagement, student engagement and other objectives. “Team is important, as Together Everyone Achieves More. When we work in a team, we will achieve the success faster and better, more efficient and more effective.”

Earlier, Tan Sri Dr Koh spoke at length about WOU’s history, stressing the importance of increasing student recruitment and retention, and for the University to leverage on its assets, like being a campus by the sea, and to distinguish itself among its competitors.

 Dr Koh elaborates on the history of the University.

Dr Koh elaborates on the history of the University.

During the Q&A, quite a few questions were posed on medical benefits, annual leave, assessment and related academic matters. WOU’s first town hall ended on a positive note. It was not only engaging. The way forward was clear.

 

(ENDS)

Lunar year celebration to usher blessings

A sea of pink and red – from the décor to the outfits - greeted staff and guests during the WOU Chinese New Year luncheon to celebrate the Year of the Earth Dog held at the main campus today.

 (From left) Dato' Sharom, Dr Ho, Mr Ooi and Janice with Prof Wong (right).

(From left) Dato' Sharom, Dr Ho, Mr Ooi and Janice with Prof Wong (right).

It was the first lunar year celebration hosted by Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas, and she initiated the gesture of presenting a token ang pow to all staff and guests. Everyone was also greeted with offerings of kuih bakul and huat kuih, since both these goodies symbolise good luck and posterity.

Among the guests at the event were Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Chairman of WOU’s Board of Governors, and Members, Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap and Mr Ooi Teng Chew, former Vice Chancellors Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye and Prof Emeritus Dato’ Dr Wong Tat Meng, WOU Sdn Bhd Director Janice Yeap, former CEO of Wawasan Education Foundation Dato’ Dr Sharom Ahmat, and representatives from DISTED College, Luxoft and Tricor.

 Prof Zoraini hands out the ang pow packets.

Prof Zoraini hands out the ang pow packets.

In his opening message, event organising chairman, Dr Andy Liew, who is WOU’s Registrar and Director of Quality Assurance, elaborated that in one of the versions for the origin of the Chinese New Year festivity, people would don red clothing and light firecrackers to ward off a Chinese mythical beast known as ‘Nian’.

Prof Zoraini, in her informal welcoming speech, spoke about growing up in a multi-racial environment in Kuala Lumpur, recounting that she had a Chinese, an Indian and a Eurasian playmate during those good old days. “It’s interesting we had this diversity yet a sense of harmony.”

 Prof Zoraini calls on the staff to be loyal and true to themselves, colleagues, friends and to the University.

Prof Zoraini calls on the staff to be loyal and true to themselves, colleagues, friends and to the University.

She remarked that this is the Year of the Dog, adding that the dog is often referred to as a man’s true friend because of its qualities like loyalty, friendship and affection. “Those qualities should also be reflected in us, being loyal and true to ourselves, our colleagues and friends at WOU, and to the University.”

The crowd were then treated to a few Chinese melodies by a guest quartet of beautiful ladies garbed in traditional costumes. 

 Madam Oh Goey Keow (in green) and the other members of Pusat Kesenian Muzik Micico Pulau Pinang rendered three Chinese songs.

Madam Oh Goey Keow (in green) and the other members of Pusat Kesenian Muzik Micico Pulau Pinang rendered three Chinese songs.

Tan Sri Dr Koh and Dato’ Seri Stephen lit the firecrackers at the porch of the Homestead and this was followed by the lion dance to bestow blessings on WOU. Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Outreach) Prof David Ngo Chek Ling gamely received the spit out mandarin oranges while Prof Zoraini accepted the scrolled message of good luck unfolded from the lion’s mouth.

 Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof Ngo receives the oranges from the lion.

Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof Ngo receives the oranges from the lion.

The lion troupe also blessed the offices of Chief Operating Officer Yeong Sik Kheong, Dr Liew, Regional Operations & Marcom Director K H Chong, and the Penang Regional Centre.

WOU staff and guests were treated to a sumptuous lunch of briyani rice with mutton kurma, gravy chicken, curried fish, mix vegetables and cucumber-pineapple pickle, that was complemented with beverages and sliced papaya and water melon fruits.

 Blessing the office of Mr Yeong (right) at the Chancellery.

Blessing the office of Mr Yeong (right) at the Chancellery.

Full-time students invest time and energy for charity

The full-time, on-campus learning (OCL) students showed their caring spirit and learnt about teamwork through two recent projects, the car wash and the Canteen Day.

 The students attacking the car wash duties with gusto.

The students attacking the car wash duties with gusto.

The first endeavour involved 21 students from 3 groups sweating it out under the hot sun to wash a total 60 vehicles of the staff of WOU for RM12 each, with an extra RM6 charge for vacuuming. During the car wash at the main campus car park on February 27th and March 1st, the students earned a profit of RM805, with the proceeds to benefit the Penang Christian Association for Relief (Penang CARE) and Penang Animal Welfare Society (4PAWS).

 Vacuuming the inside of a car.

Vacuuming the inside of a car.

One of the group leaders, Pan Bo Zhong, who is also OCL Student Council president, remarked: “A small effort can create a big impact. We volunteered to raise funds for those in need. Volunteerism brings with it a deep appreciation of all that you have in life and helping those in need is a firm reminder of what really matters - like family, friends, and health. We were motivated to help those in need with whatever capabilities we have.”

 Bo Zhong (background, right) hard at work.

Bo Zhong (background, right) hard at work.

The second activity was the Canteen Day held at the ground floor foyer of the main campus on March 5th. The rather heavy traffic of staff and students for meals and snacks during lunch time brought a total of RM1, 312 in proceeds. Among the items sold by the 42 students from the 6 groups were chicken satay, curry chicken rice, pizza, doughnuts, curry puffs, cup cakes, Malay kuih and vadai.

The Canteen Day was held in aid of 5 organisations and a school. They are Penang CARE, Kechara Soup Kitchen, Children’s Protection Society, St Nicholas Home, Peace and Harmony Home, and SJK (T) Ladang Sempah. The funds will be handed over in cash and/or used to buy necessities for distribution during the visit of the students to the respective institutions in the month of March.

 Chicken satay was popular with the WOU staff.

Chicken satay was popular with the WOU staff.

"Nothing beats teamwork. By looking at the smiles of my fellow students during the entire process of contributing to worthy causes under our co-curricular activity, it motivates us to help the society more. Through the projects, we learnt to support each other and to cooperate to deliver our best,” added Bo Zhong.

Bo Zhong’s group plans to visit Penang CARE on March 16th to present RM1,050 in cash and kind, as well as do some spring cleaning, entertaining and interacting with the elderly residents of the nursing home in Gelugor

 Another draw was this delicious lunch set.

Another draw was this delicious lunch set.

We applaud the students for reaching out to the community through the various projects and for looking beyond themselves to the needs of society.

Towering walkers are Champions

Three ‘gentle giants’ with the apt team name, Hightower, clocked 3.05.3 minutes in the walking race relay round the field in front of the Homestead building at the main campus to emerge as champions of the WOU Walk held today.

 The first team members kick off the race.

The first team members kick off the race.

The team name Hightower, a character from the Police Academy movie series known for his ‘immense stature and superhuman strength’, comprised of ITS Application Support Assistant Manager Tan Hong Leong, ITS Application Manager Ch’ng Eng Hoo and Library Officer Choy Paik Lin.

Big strides certainly helped Hightower as they all stood tall, with Hong Leong and Eng Hoo towering over 6 feet while Paik Lin is just slightly under that height. The team grabbed the first prize to receive RM150 worth of shopping vouchers from School of Science & Technology (SST) Deputy Dean Dr Teoh Ping Chow.

 3rd placing (From Right): Kevin tan, ranjini and Dr ramesh.

3rd placing (From Right): Kevin tan, ranjini and Dr ramesh.

A total of 8 teams, with 3 staff members per team, participated in the WOU Walk. The event was organised by SST under the monthly sports and recreational facilities initiated by the Human Resources Department to promote an active lifestyle.

The runners-up were Team A comprising Penang Regional Centre’s Marketing & Admissions Officer Robin Cheah Kai Yang, together with Graphic Designer Chrisvie Ong Lin Lin and Senior Course Designer Jeanne Chow from the Educational Technology & Publishing (ETP) Unit.  The team clocked 3.17.7 minutes to win a RM90 voucher.

 Runners-up were Team A (from right): Jeanne and Chrisvie, with Dr Teoh.  The other team member was Robin Cheah.

Runners-up were Team A (from right): Jeanne and Chrisvie, with Dr Teoh.  The other team member was Robin Cheah.

Team E came in at a close third with a combined timing of 3.20.2 minutes to grab the RM60 voucher. It comprised of Educational Technologist Assoc Prof Dr Ramesh Chander Sharma, along with Senior Administration Executive Ranjini Kalidass and Lecturer Kevin Tan Pooi Soo from the School of Humanities & Social Sciences (SHSS).

 Towering champions (from right): Hong Leong, Eng Hoo and Paik Lin.

Towering champions (from right): Hong Leong, Eng Hoo and Paik Lin.

A few teams were unfortunately disqualified for running as the rules require one foot to be in contact with the ground at all times. The four race judges from SST were Assoc Prof Dr Lee Chee Leong, Senior Lecturers Dr Lim Ting Yee and Chandarasageran Natarajan, and Lecturer Muhammad Norhadri Md Hilmi, who relied on video-recordings to make a fair decision.

 Participants pose with the organising committee from the School of Science & Technology.

Participants pose with the organising committee from the School of Science & Technology.

Our congratulations to SST for organising the WOU Walk and to all participants for their support to this staff activity.

Be respectful, be grateful, students told

In view of the fast pace world of today that throws so many distractions upon the younger generation and the decline of certain values,  the new full-time students of WOU were advised to be respectful, to prioritise their time, and to be grateful.

 Penang Regional Centre Director Teh Kim Kow welcomes the freshmen.

Penang Regional Centre Director Teh Kim Kow welcomes the freshmen.

WOU Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas was addressing over 20 on-campus learning (OCL) students from the February 2018 intake during the orientation held at the main campus today. She started off informally, asking the students how they were feeling before introducing the Deans, Registrar Dr Andy Liew and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Outreach) Prof David Ngo.

She offered 10 tips or pointers altogether as a guide to help the students achieve success in life and in their studies. She advised them to study and revise their course materials regularly instead of waiting last minute before an exam. “Do not be afraid to talk to your lecturers about things concerning your studies, including your assignments. Respect your lecturers, greet them and say thank you,” she added.

 Prof Zoraini advises students to be courteous and show respect.

Prof Zoraini advises students to be courteous and show respect.

“Make friends in class and find a study buddy to come alongside you. Fourthly, join clubs and get involved in activities in the university. Also, manage your time so that you accomplish all that you need to do to get your degree.

“Be a good son, daughter, granddaughter, nephew, and so forth. You are not alone but a member of a family.  Learn how to make good friendships, and while you make new friends, don’t forget your old friends. Prioritise your time. Do the important things first.

“Learn about yourself, who you are now and who you want to be and how to get there. Share your dream,” Prof Zoraini encouraged.

 Prof Zoraini calls on students to be successful and graduate with a degree.

Prof Zoraini calls on students to be successful and graduate with a degree.

And lastly, she stressed, “Be grateful. Reflect on who you would like to thank, perhaps the person who brought you to WOU, your parents. Be grateful to the University, the lecturers, and to the friends you have. Nobody owes us anything. So be grateful to what life offers us and for what we can be.”

She called on the students to motivate themselves to study and to do the required assignments so that they are able to graduate as planned.

 Muhammad Afiq Akmal leads in the oath-taking.

Muhammad Afiq Akmal leads in the oath-taking.

For the oath-taking ceremony, 21-year-old Muhammad Afiq Akmal Mohamed Ismail who had newly enrolled in the Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Management programme, led in reciting the students’ pledge.

Prof Zoraini then presented the certificates for the 12 Dean’s List recipients from the May 2017 OCL semester to representative Ong Sze Khai who is currently pursuing his Management degree.

 Ong Sze Khai receives the Dean's List award on behalf of all the recipients.

Ong Sze Khai receives the Dean's List award on behalf of all the recipients.

During the day-long orientation held at the main campus, the new students were also briefed on the MPU courses, the learning management system Wawasan2u, and the digital library facilities.

New ODL students embark on their WOU journey

WOU’s part-time, open distance learning (ODL) mode of study drew some 600 adult learners for the January 2018 intake, with many drawn by the affordable pricing, flexibility and learner support facilities.

 Director of Penang Regional Centre Teh Kim Kow welcomes the freshmen at the main campus.

Director of Penang Regional Centre Teh Kim Kow welcomes the freshmen at the main campus.

The majority attended the orientation organised simultaneously by the five Regional Centres in Penang (PGRC), Ipoh (IPRC), Kuala Lumpur (KLRC), Johor Bahru (JBRC) and Kuching (KCRC) on January 14th.

Prof Zoraini Wati Abas delivered her maiden Acting Vice Chancellor speech at the orientation in Kuching while the Deans/Acting Dean of the four Schools represented WOU at the remaining four locations. They read out her speech and elaborated on the University’s ODL model.

 Prof Santhiram highlights the learning component in WOU.

Prof Santhiram highlights the learning component in WOU.

At the main campus, School of Education, Languages and Communications (SELC) Dean Prof Santhiram Raman participated in the orientation organised by PGRC.  The other representatives were School of Humanities & Liberal Studies Dean Assoc Prof Dr S Nagarajan (KLRC), Assoc Prof Dr Wendy Bong Chin Wei (JBRC), and School of Business & Administration Acting Dean Prakash V Arumugam (IPRC).

The academics were on hand to present the Dean’s List award. A total of 99 students were named to the Dean’s List for academic excellence in the ODL January 2017 semester, with 38 from PGRC followed by 31 KLRC, 15 JBRC, 9 IPRC and 6 from KCRC.

 Dr Nagarajan with the Dean's List recipients from Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre.

Dr Nagarajan with the Dean's List recipients from Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre.

The half-day programme also offered a glimpse of student life at WOU, acquainted the freshmen with key personnel, and provided practical help to log-in to student portal and the learning management system, WawasanLearn.

In Ipoh, Ahmad Ramli Mohamed Ismail, who had enrolled for his Bachelor of Technology (Hons) in Electronics programme, led in the oath-taking while Dean’s List recipient, Amanda Fong Kim Yen, from the sales and marketing degree programme, talked about her learning experience at WOU.

 Prakash shares on the ODL model at the Ipoh Regional Centre.

Prakash shares on the ODL model at the Ipoh Regional Centre.

In Kuala Lumpur, 108 of the total 186 new students participated in the orientation. They were welcomed by Acting KLRC head Roshini Jesselyn Chandru, followed by Dr Nagarajan elaborating on the ODL model and presenting the Dean’s List awards.

 Dr Nagarajan addressing freshmen at Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre.

Dr Nagarajan addressing freshmen at Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre.

Student representative N Muniandy Ramachandran from WOU’s Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Psychology programme shared on student life at KLRC. Freshman Chan Huan Ling, newly enrolled in the Master of Education (TESL) programme, led in reciting the students’ pledge.

 Chan leads the new students in the oath-taking ceremony.

Chan leads the new students in the oath-taking ceremony.

The orientation culminated with a fun Treasure Hunt exercise to encourage interaction and enable the students to explore the facilities and services of WOU.

OCL Students learn confidence through Public Speaking

Twenty-year-old Eugene Teh Wen Jie emerged as champion in the grand finals of the Public Speaking competition organised by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences (SHSS) for the full-time, on-campus learning (OCL) undergraduates from the 2017 intakes.

 Eugene speaks about the revival of Nissan.

Eugene speaks about the revival of Nissan.

Eugene, 20, from the Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Logistics & Supply Chain Management (BBLC) programme, beat five other finalists at the grand finals held on December 19th in front of fellow students and academics at the main campus.

He spoke on ‘The Fall and Rise of Nissan”, stating the history of Nissan, its revival plan and the successful Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance.

 Academics and students giving their support to the competition.

Academics and students giving their support to the competition.

The students were judged on topic, content, personal viewpoints, proper use of language, delivery, eye contact and body language, ability to maintain audience interest, and being confident, natural and relaxed. The judges for the finals were Dr Ooi Chia-Yi, Rabikha Hasni Suparman, Irmadura Ramli and Kevin Tan Pooi Soo from SHSS.

The youngest finalist Grace Gan, 19, from BBLC, spoke confidently on the very interesting topic of ‘Volcano’, explaining the formation, types, shapes, uses and impact of volcanoes, and the protective clothing to reduce harm from the ashes.

 Grace evokes the audience interest on volcanoes.

Grace evokes the audience interest on volcanoes.

Henry Goh Han Jie, 20, from the Management programme, expertly explained in detail about the malaria pandemic, the symptoms and treatment. 

One orator, Dhiveena Subramaniam, 20, from Banking & Finance (BBBF), stood out in that she did not use any PowerPoint slides like the others, but adeptly used her voice, facial expressions and intonations to talk about ‘Fear’. She advised not to allow fear to hinder us from realising our dreams or living our lives.

 Dhiveena speaks fearlessly on the topic of 'Fear'.

Dhiveena speaks fearlessly on the topic of 'Fear'.

Finalist Ameline Lai Ying Ying, 22, also from BBBF, talked about ‘Climate Change’, focusing on the impact of the greenhouse effect on polar bears, and calling people to trim down wastes, be it plastics, paper, glass, and so on.

The last speaker, Asswni Mariappan, 21, from Sales & Marketing, described the history of ‘Bharatham’, an Indian dance.

 The finalists pose with the academics and students.

The finalists pose with the academics and students.

About 35 OCL students had battled it out in the six heats of the competition opened to students pursuing the Public Speaking course under the soft skills courses cluster.  The six grand finalists had won their respective heats.

Dean of SHSS, Assoc Prof Dr S Nagarajan, was on hand to present the certificate of excellence to the winner, Eugene, as well as certificates to all the finalists.  In his comments, he suggested for the students to personalise their content, like for example describing the importance of business leadership or what dance means to culture, rather than stating the bare facts.

 Dr Nagarajan offers some tips on public speaking.

Dr Nagarajan offers some tips on public speaking.

WOU students offer a potpourri of Malaysian cultures

Staff of WOU were feted to a 60-minute cultural entertainment by the full-time, on-campus learning (OCL) students that offered a taste of the diverse cultures in Malaysia and the harmonious relationship between people of different faiths.

 The umbrella dance by four full-time students, three ladies and a guy.

The umbrella dance by four full-time students, three ladies and a guy.

In his opening remarks at the ‘OCL Cultural Evening: A Malaysian Potpourri’ held at the main campus today, Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye praised the hands-on participation by the 39 OCL students taking the Comparative Religions course in the September semester. The lecturer is School of Humanities & Social Sciences Deputy Dean Jasmine Emmanuel.

“Especially in a country like Malaysia where diversity is our hallmark, this course would promote our understanding of diversity from the perspective of religions, in terms of central concepts, beliefs and practices, cultural focus and so on,” said Prof Ho.

 The kolattam or sticks dance.

The kolattam or sticks dance.

Kicking off the evening was a solo Indian classical dance, bharatanatyam, after which followed dance performances of the different ethnicities, namely the fan dance, umbrella dance, Indian folk dance, ‘kolattam’, dikir barat, and kung fu.

 The fan dance.

The fan dance.

The students also presented two skits that afforded insights into the Chinese and Hindu traditions. The first titled ‘Butterfly Lovers’ is a tragic Chinese romantic folktale, reminiscent of Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’, and the other was ‘Ram and Sita’ from the famous ancient Indian epic of Ramayana.

 The skit on Ram and Sita.

The skit on Ram and Sita.

Guest performer was OCL student Muhammad Farid Arsyad Foad, 22, from the Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Management programme, who rendered a Chinese song, the evergreen ‘What a Wonderful World’  and Jingle Bells while strumming his guitar.

The cultural evening closed with a fashion show showcasing the different traditional outfits of Malaysians, like salwar kameez, saree, kebaya, cheongsam, baju melayu and sherwani suits.

 Farid woos the audience with his renditions.

Farid woos the audience with his renditions.

The event was part of the coursework assessment component for the Comparative Religions course. Among those present were Deputy Vice Chancellors Prof Zoraini Wati Abas and Prof David Ngo Chek Ling, HR Director Surrayya Shuib, academics and students.

 The performers pose with Prof Ho (centre) and a few staff of WOU.

The performers pose with Prof Ho (centre) and a few staff of WOU.

Jasmine highlighted, “This was a hands-on learning experience of each other’s cultures and religions. The project also exposed the students to a broader and deeper set of skills, knowledge and habits of success than those they develop through the traditional focus on academic content knowledge. This will serve to enhance graduate employability and prepare them for the challenges of work life.