Focus on important matters, students advised

Learn skills to survive in the outside world while at university and do not whine about every small thing as “the world is not a bed of roses”.

WOU’s School of Business & Administration Acting Dean Prakash Arumugam was speaking at the opening of the annual general meeting of the full-time Student Council held at the main campus today.

Prakash presents his opening remarks.

Prakash presents his opening remarks.

Highlighting the differences between the outside world and the sheltered walls of the university, he said, “You may be comfortable here but the working world is a different ball game. Here, you can run to me when you have issues. However, in a working environment, even your boss might not want to entertain you. Remember that the working world needs problem solvers and not problem creators.”

He declared that the university is a good place “to learn the skills you need to survive in the outside world like problem solving, organisational skills and leadership”.

students attending the inauguration.

students attending the inauguration.

He urged the full-time students to help the student council to do their part for the community, including taking the lead to organise activities when they see a need. He discouraged the habit of complaining about every small thing but to accept the fact they may not always get what they want. He reminded the students that the university is always ready to accept good ideas on how to make WOU a better learning environment

He also issued the challenge to the new 2019/2020 Student Council committee to outdo the outgoing council members in performance and activities.

the outgoing student council members.

the outgoing student council members.

Outgoing Student Council President Muhammad Farid Arsyad Foad shared that managing a team requires patience since everyone will have their own opinions. He stated, “One thing I have learnt as a leader is that you must always be firm with your decisions and at the same time, be open to opinions and criticisms.”  

farid advises the new leadership to be open to new ideas and criticisms.

farid advises the new leadership to be open to new ideas and criticisms.

Following the presentation of certificates to the outgoing committee, the new Student Council members for 2019/2020 were inaugurated, as per list below:

President:                  Nur Batrisyia Kamal Mohd

nur batrisyia takes to the stage to introduce her team.

nur batrisyia takes to the stage to introduce her team.

Vice Presidents:          Nurul Sifati Abdullah
Cheah Thim Weng

Secretary:                    Andrew Yeap Hong Wei

Treasurer:                  Venise Chong An Theng

Marketing team:         Henry Goh Han Jie
Vishaal Manoj Kumar

Social Media team:     Jayson Lew Chi Kheong
Seshmitaa Govinda Murali
Ch’ng Li Shan

Weekly Activity team:  Sureynjen Manogaran
Tang Khai Wen

Monthly Activity team:  Siti Khadijah Azizan
Judith Anne Nisha Marshal
Jay Sri Yoganathan 

prakash (centre, front) and Christine khoo (front, right) with the new student council.

prakash (centre, front) and Christine khoo (front, right) with the new student council.

Also present at the AGM and inauguration was Student Council Advisor Christine Khoo Geok Ling.

WOU lends a helping hand during Ramadhan

Wawasan Open University (WOU) handed out parcels of foods, beverages and necessities, contributed by staff, to five single parents in an effort to alleviate their burden and add to their festive cheer. 

The recipients pose with the University staff and guests.

The recipients pose with the University staff and guests.

In a simple ceremony held at the main campus today, WOU Public and Student Relations (PSR) Director Grace Lau Pee Hoay presented the provisions to the recipients, who are single mothers registered with Persatuan Kebajikan Asas Pulau Pinang (PKAPP) under its Women Empowerment Bureau and Welfare Aid division.

Lau (centre) at the presentation ceremony.

Lau (centre) at the presentation ceremony.

The single mothers were Jummah Bee Mohd Ali, 58, from Taman Nusantara, George Town; Salmah Mohd Iqbal, 46, from Sungai Nibong; Suraiyah K. Hussain, 51, from Bandar Baru Ayer Itam; Mariam Abdullah, 60, from Rifle Range, Ayer Itam; and Selahar Bee S.M. Syed, 60, from River Road, George Town.

 They each received flour, cooking oil, rice, sugar, cereals, biscuits, beverages, evaporated milk, dry noodles, canned foods and other provisions, along with laundry detergents, bathing soaps, shower gels and toothpastes.

Happy with the provisions from WOU. At left is Alagesan.

Happy with the provisions from WOU. At left is Alagesan.

The University, through the PSR Department, had launched a Ramadhan charity project themed ‘The reward of giving Sadaqah’ from May 6th to 21st. Staff and students were encouraged to drop off their contributions during this period.

According to Lau, the project was part of the University’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) to reach out to the less fortunate in society during major festivals. “We want to remember the single parents in our community, especially those who find it hard to make ends meet. We hope, in our own small way, we are able to contribute and make a positive difference in their lives so that they can cheerfully celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri this year.”

 

The University remembers the less fortunate during the major festivals, says Lau.

The University remembers the less fortunate during the major festivals, says Lau.

PKAPP founder/president Alagesan Ayaru, in his opening remarks, thanked WOU for its gesture in helping the disadvantaged during the festive season.

“Ramadhan is a time of spiritual renewal and a reminder of one’s duty to our fellow friends and to lift up the less fortunate. We affirm that whatever our faith, we are all one family.” He continued, “It is our chance to remind those in need that they do matter and they are not forgotten.”

Part of the crowd at the event.

Part of the crowd at the event.

Following the presentation, the guests and recipients were treated to a simple berbuka puasa dinner with the staff of WOU.

Among those who attended were PKAPP patron Dato’ Shahul Hamid Abdul Kadir, Persatuan Kemajuan Wanita Pulau Pinang president Fatimah Kader, along with Deans Prof Balakrishnan Muniandy and Assoc Prof Dr S Nagarajan as well as Acting Dean Prakash Arumugam from WOU.

A simple berbuka puasa at the main campus.

A simple berbuka puasa at the main campus.

Know and work towards your career goals

Choosing a career that aligns with your life purpose and areas of interest will allow you to go through difficulties and challenges, and to derive satisfaction and joy in life.

This was expressed by Alexis Chuah, founder of Dreamvast, during an in-house talk on ‘Finding and Pursuing Your Purpose for a Fulfilling Career’ organised by WOU’s School of Humanities & Social Sciences (SHSS) at the main campus today.


Interesting insights for the full-time students on how to pursue a fulfilling career.

Interesting insights for the full-time students on how to pursue a fulfilling career.

She stressed, “To do the job you love, discover your purpose and direction in life, make the changes, and overcome hurdles.”

She shared her own journey of finding purpose and a fulfilling career through self discovery, non-stop learning, dreaming, trial and error, risk taking, planning, choices, fear, management, mistakes and regrets. She did jobs like customer service, lecturing, sales and copywriting to accumulate experience and learning, declaring that her freelance writing helped to launch her career in communications. “Do not shy away from taking side jobs related to your passion and interest. Grab whatever opportunities you can to build your career.”


Chuah talks about her own journey of finding purpose in life.

Chuah talks about her own journey of finding purpose in life.

In encouraging students to pursue their dreams, she stated, “The purpose of your life is found in the intersection of your talent, passion and pain.  Work from your core strengths and interests. Finding your purpose is about meaning and contribution, knowing why you are doing something, as then you will be able to persevere through the hard times.”

Chuah told the crowd to add value and invest in themselves, like enrolling in higher studies, attending workshops, and participating in activities at WOU.  She continued, “Build your skills, qualifications and experience in your desired area. Freelance and offer your skills for free at first in exchange for testimonials. Tweak your resume and LinkedIn profile to highlight clearly the things you have done. Network and learn from others’ experience as well.”


Chuah offers tips on turning dreams into reality.

Chuah offers tips on turning dreams into reality.

She suggested reflection, soul searching, analysis and thinking before “making the changes” to turn dreams into a realistic career plan, such as resigning, getting certification and venturing into something else. “Take action and get advice, feedback and support by joining networking groups or connecting with people on Linkedin.”

She also spoke on overcoming barriers  like  health issues, lack of time, fear, lack of knowledge, lack of money and lack of confidence that are blocking your path. “The biggest hurdle of all is you. Do not let yourself or your self-image stop you from doing what you like.”


the crowd of full-time students at the talk.

the crowd of full-time students at the talk.

Chuah recommended tracking your progress regularly. “Periodically reflect and review your success, failures, mistakes, and motivations for continuous growth. How far you have come, what you did well and how you can improve. It is fine for plans to change, as long as you stay true to your overall purpose, to who you are, and remain open to change and improvement.”

She concluded: “Choose a job based on your life purpose and you will be able to love the journey through the mountains and the valleys.”


School of Humanities & Social Sciences Deputy Dean Jasmine Emmanuel with full-time Student Council president Muhammad Farid Arsyad Foad.

School of Humanities & Social Sciences Deputy Dean Jasmine Emmanuel with full-time Student Council president Muhammad Farid Arsyad Foad.

Over 100 students and a few staff, including School of Business & Administration Acting Dean Prakash V Arumugam and SHSS Deputy Dean Jasmine Emmanuel, attended the talk.

Welcoming May 2019 intake full-time students

The May 2019 intake saw some 35 new students enrolling in the full-time undergraduate degree programmes offered by WOU.

Director of QA & Government Relations Dr Andy Liew (front, centre) and Penang Regional Centre director Ching Huey Ling pose with a group of new students.

Director of QA & Government Relations Dr Andy Liew (front, centre) and Penang Regional Centre director Ching Huey Ling pose with a group of new students.

Four of the students who attended the orientation held today at the main campus in Penang share their story.

Following in her dad’s footsteps

Nadia Zulaikha Zainol, 21, from George Town, Penang, is taking up the Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Accounting programme. She holds a Diploma in Accounting from Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM), Arau, Perlis.

She was looking for a higher learning institution to pursue her degree studies after her diploma. “I searched on the Internet for quite a few universities in Penang. I wanted Penang as I can be nearer to my family and it would be convenient to travel to the campus.”

may2019studentpix1.jpg

She continued, “Following my Internet search, I came for consultation to the Penang Regional Centre with my parents. At that first meeting, I only looked, listened and surveyed but during my second visit, I signed up straight away.” She was drawn to the programme and the syllabus, and after figuring out that WOU offers the most reasonable price, she decided to enrol.

“The counsellor I spoke to was very friendly, and I like the environment, near to the sea and all,” she added.

Nadia has always wanted to become an accountant since her school days. She finds accounting fascinating and it gives her a sense of accomplishment every time she balances the accounts. She aspires to become accountant in the private sector.

Her father has retired as a banker in CIMB, after having worked for 30 years in the banking industry. Her mother is a full-time homemaker. Nadia has three older brothers.

 

Siblings start their higher learning together

Ragu Rameswaran, 22, from Butterworth, and his younger sister Divieayaa, 21, have enrolled respectively in the Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Banking & Finance and Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Management programmes at WOU.

may2019studentpix2.jpg

Their father is an Assistant Engineer in Bayan Lepas while mum is a full-time homemaker. They have a younger brother in Form Four.

Ragu entered with his Foundation in Business qualification from a private university in Petaling Jaya. He has three years work experience in air-conditioning maintenance.

“My girlfriend, who is studying at a private university in Seberang Jaya, recommended that I come and study here. She said WOU is the most affordable and the fees will match my budget. Secondly, I researched about WOU and the programmes, such as whether they are MQA accredited or not. I found everything to be fine. Also, I like the beach, it is so nice.

“I came here with my sister to inquire.  I also checked the syllabus and the short description for each of the courses. I signed up because of the environment, the fees, courses, and the MQA accreditation. I told my sister about WOU as well. I discussed with my parents, and they encouraged us to study, and so we signed up.” Ragu wants to become a financial advisor or work in finance.

may2019studentpix3.jpg

Divieayaa entered WOU with her STPM qualifications from SMK Dato’ Onn, Butterworth. She has work experience as she worked as a cashier, waitress and salesgirl during the school holidays.

 “My former school mate told me that the degree is cheaper than other universities. She is in her second year of her Logistics and Supply Chain Management degree programme here. She invited me to check out the university and my brother also had nice things to say about WOU.”

“I came here to find out; I think it is good to study here. The university looks comfortable, clean and better than other universities.”

may2019studentpix4.jpg

“I chose Management because it’s a good field and it suits my personality. I want to become a manager, like managing clients, teams, and everything. I hope to pick up leadership skills from the courses. I like to be a leader, preferably in the services industry, like hotels or hospitals.

 “I prefer to study somewhere that it is not too near or too far from my home in Butterworth. I plan to look for roommates and rent a place on the island. I want to be independent, so I will try to find a part-time job to pay for my own studies and expenses.”

 

Computer games craze evokes interest in networks

Sim Kian Ming, 21, from Air Itam, enrolled in the Bachelor of Technology (Hons) in Computer Systems and Networks programme at WOU. He holds a Diploma in Computer Engineering from the Penang Skills Development Centre.

may2019studentpix5.jpg

“I was looking for a networking programme, and so I came here to inquire. I walked in, and found that WOU is offering this particular programme through full-time study. I visited a lot of universities, but I think WOU is better, that is why I immediately enrolled here. I love the campus and it is not too expensive. My cousin, who studied part-time at WOU and has since graduated, also mentioned to me about WOU’s programmes.

“My ambition is to become a network engineer. In my diploma studies, I had studied about networking but it was not detailed, more of an introduction. But I liked what I learnt,” he elaborated. 

Sim is crazy about computers from small, as he and his brother loved playing computer games. His mother limited their time playing computer games to one hour a day, which left him feeling unsatisfied. “I think the more she limited our time, the more it drove my love for computers.”

His father works as a lorry mechanic while his mum is a full-time homemaker.  He has two older sisters and a younger brother.

Becoming transformational leaders

[26-28 April, 2019]

Thirty-five participants from 22 countries attended the 2nd Pan-Commonwealth Workshop on “Women’s Leadership in Open Distance Learning (ODL)” held at the WOU main campus from April 26th to 28th to share experiences and learn about transformational leadership.

Participants pose with the speakers.

Participants pose with the speakers.

The women were top academics and senior management staff of various higher learning institutions from the following Pacific and Caribbean countries: Bangladesh, Belize, Fiji, Ghana, Guyana, Jamaica, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tonga, Uganda, Zambia, and Malaysia.

The three-day workshop was jointly organised by WOU and the Canada-headquartered Commonwealth of Learning (COL). The lead facilitator was Prof Dato’ Dr Rashidah Shuib from the School of Health Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM).

Prof Rashidah of Universiti Sains Malaysia facilitates the workshop.

Prof Rashidah of Universiti Sains Malaysia facilitates the workshop.

The workshop aimed to recognise women leaders, motivate and equip women to become advocate for change, and champion gender mainstreaming to advance women’s leadership.

The keynote lecture on ‘Women’s Transformational Leadership in the Commonwealth’ was delivered by Prof Asha Kanwar, President and Chief Executive Officer of COL. She listed the four components of transformational leadership as charisma, inspiration, intellectual stimulation, and individualised consideration. Individualised consideration, she added, is “giving support and personal attention to the group members and helping them to develop self confidence”.

Prof Asha Kanwar, President and CEO of COL, delivers her keynote lecture.

Prof Asha Kanwar, President and CEO of COL, delivers her keynote lecture.

She shared the story of two women from different backgrounds who are leaders through what they accomplished. First was Dame Carol Kidu, who became Minister for Community Development in Papua New Guinea, established community learning centres, promoted lifelong learning, helped other women become leaders, and retired from politics to work in an NGO.

Another was Peria Jakkamal, an illiterate farmer from a remote village in India, who transformed herself, started self-help groups in her village, mobilised women in her community in lifelong learning, and promoted effective use of ICT among the illiterate community. 

Learning about the traits of transformational leaders.

Learning about the traits of transformational leaders.

Prof Kanwar said both the women were people-oriented, empathetic and respectful, broke free from traditional norms, effective negotiators, excellent networkers and communicators, and lifelong learners.

USM Vice Chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Asma Ismail, in her special lecture on ‘Women’s Leadership in the Context of Industry 4.0 and Society 5.0 in Developing Societies’, spoke about the impact of the fourth industrial revolution and Society 5.0 on women in developing societies. She said that emerging technologies will displace 5 million jobs in the future but will also create 2 million new jobs.

Prof Asma, Vice Chancellor of USM.

Prof Asma, Vice Chancellor of USM.

She said females are 5 times less likely to consider a career in technology-based jobs than males, and therefore, as almost one-third of all jobs globally could be automated by 2030, “females are in big danger to be left behind”. She also mentioned the development of smart societies or Society 5.0 in Japan following Industry 4.0, with new services offered through artificial intelligence, robotics and Internet of Things.

Sharing on the impact of disruptive technologies on women.

Sharing on the impact of disruptive technologies on women.

The workshop also featured lectures and discussions on leading, new technologies in ODL, data analytics and interactive learning.   These were presented respectively by LEADERONOMICS country manager for Malaysia Caroline Ong, WOU Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic & Educational Technology) Prof Zoraini Wati Abas, School of Science & Technology Dean Assoc Prof Dr Wendy Bong, and Instructional Design for Engaging Experiences Assistant Manager Fauziyah Md Aris.

Prof Zoraini (left) with Prof Kanwar at the closing of the event.

Prof Zoraini (left) with Prof Kanwar at the closing of the event.

Below are a few testimonials from participants:

“I had a great time in your country. Thanks to all the presenters for the great presentations.”
- Florence Kauami, Programme Developer, Namibian College of Open Learning, Namibia

“Wow! The 2nd Pan-Commonwealth Training Programme on Women and Leadership in ODL was timely with beautiful faces and wonderful people.”
Roselyn Nyagie Kema Kappia, Procurement Officer, Freetown Teachers College, Sierra Leone

The participants come from 22 nations.

The participants come from 22 nations.

“Our chief host, thanks for all the hospitality. We enjoyed every minute in Penang, the people, cuisine and each and every participant’s story is unique.”
- Ubaida Faruk Shehu, Senior Education Officer, National Teachers’ Institute, Nigeria

“Thanks for all the cooperation and sharing of experience in this inspiring workshop.”
- Salote Talanoa Selui, Deputy Principal, Ministry for Education and Training, Tonga

The importance of Employee Engagement

[WOU held a public seminar on “Issues and Challenges of Human Resource and Talent Management in the Digital Economy” at the main campus on April 13th. Over 50 people attended the talks under the event organised by the School of Business & Administration (SBA) and funded by the Institute for Research & Innovation (IRI).]

School of Business & Administration Acting Dean Prakash Arumugam delivers his opening remarks.

School of Business & Administration Acting Dean Prakash Arumugam delivers his opening remarks.

Employee engagement is a must in all organisations to enhance employee performance, employee retention and employee commitment towards his/her job.

Speaking on ‘Employee Engagement’, Human Resources Director of MIMOS, Parameswaran Ayahoo said that the advent of new technology and big data affects how people are engaged at the workplace.

Parameswaran shares on Employee Engagement.

Parameswaran shares on Employee Engagement.

He defined employee engagement as a two-way communication at the workplace to connect with an employee emotionally and mentally”. He added, “There needs to be a bond between you and the employee, only then are you connected and engaging with them.”

 “If an employee feels disconnected from the organisation, it will affect his performance. By engaging the employees, we can motivate them so that they can best contribute towards the organisation’s goals, and we get their commitment, trust and loyalty.”

Emphasising why Employee Engagement is important.

Emphasising why Employee Engagement is important.

He highlighted that an engaged employee is high performing, committed, efficient, and there is no discipline or behavioural issue, while a ‘not engaged’ worker is less committed with minimal effort, little passion, little motivation, lack of creativity, and increased absence. “Actively disengaged employees are disruptive, very miserable, bad attitude, often late or absent, wastes time, don’t follow instructions, insubordination, and undermines co-workers.”

Parameswaran shared that employee engagement can be measured by a pulse survey, one-on-one dialogue, stay/exit interview and employee feedback channels.

Employees must feel connected to the organisation, declares Parameswaran.

Employees must feel connected to the organisation, declares Parameswaran.

“We need the employee to contribute to the organisation’s KPI, goals, vision and mission, and so we must determine the employee engagement level at the organisation. Only then can we know what intervention initiatives can be undertaken to overcome disengagement and enhance organisation culture.”  Activities like sports day and family day are examples of employee engagement.

He said that the challenge is to do employee engagement for the four types of workforce generation, that is, baby boomers (1946-1964), Gen X-ers (1965-1979), millennials/Gen Y (1980-1995), and Gen Z-ers (born after 1996). He pointed out the work traits of the different generation in regards to work ethics, optimism, passion, average tenure, digital fluency and such.

The speaker shows how to enhance employee engagement.

The speaker shows how to enhance employee engagement.

He said the biggest workforce groups now are the Gen Y and Gen Z, and so we need to know what their expectations are and how to engage them. He also said that the skills gap of Gen X or baby boomers must be narrowed by upskilling so as to meet the organisational KPI.

He remarked that technology now makes a thin line between work and leisure, since people can work 24/7 from home and during weekends or holidays, and so you can still engage them.  “Millennials and Gen Z are leading this trend, while Gen X hardly respond to WhatsApp messages on weekends.”

Prakash presents a token of appreciation from the University to Parameswaran.

Prakash presents a token of appreciation from the University to Parameswaran.

He cited 5 ways to enhance employee engagement, and they are: transparency and build trust; align employees to organisation’s vision and mission; provide supportive work environment to perform their job; reward and recognise employees; and employee empowerment in decision-making.

He concluded that human interaction in employee engagement can never be fully replaced by technology, with platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, merely a tool to enhance engagement.

From left: Prakash, Parameswaran and moderator of the talk, Assoc Prof Dr Balakrishnan Muniapan.

From left: Prakash, Parameswaran and moderator of the talk, Assoc Prof Dr Balakrishnan Muniapan.

Matching workers’ profile to job is good talent management

Employers should match the individual’s profile to the job for optimum performance and a good work attitude at the workplace.

Speaking on “Talent Management via Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) in the digital economy”, Dr Arivalan Ramaiyah, Director & Principal Consultant for Praxis Skills Training & Consultancy Sdn Bhd, said a good talent manager must put aside ego, emotions, and self when dealing with people, and “calibrate to match with the worker’s values and emotions”.

Dr Arivalan had the audience in stitches with his examples and explanations.

Dr Arivalan had the audience in stitches with his examples and explanations.

He stated that if you match with the behaviour of a person, “you can gain their rapport more rapidly and connect with them. Understanding a person’s personality type allows you to give them information in a way they are most receptive to.”

He said most conflicts in the workplace are caused by people’s extrinsic and intrinsic values. “Intrinsic values like self-image and self thought are the source of our core motivation and behaviour patterns. It is programmed in our mind, hence called metaprogrammes. The state of mind, or emotions, is trapped at our unconscious level. There is a barrier between our conscious and unconscious mind, and so we do not sometimes know why we respond or act in a certain way,” he remarked.

Understanding the language and behaviour profile of employees.

Understanding the language and behaviour profile of employees.

He highlighted the various Language and Behaviour Profiles (LAB) of individuals and why matching the job to the worker’s profile is important.  “The ‘Towards To’ people are solution providers, anxious to know the problem and diagnose it, while the ‘Away From’ worker gets disturbed when you bring them problems. The ‘Procedural’ people are all about filling forms, while ‘Optional’ people hate procedures.”

Dr Arivalan pointed out that the ‘Proactive’ people blame themselves when something happens, while ‘Reactive’ workers blame everybody else. “Reactives can destroy the culture of an organisation as they play the blaming game.”

The job must match the employee’s profile, says Dr Arivalan.

The job must match the employee’s profile, says Dr Arivalan.

He said ‘Internal’ people hate the meetings culture, and want to be left alone to do a job, and the “External’ characters are very sociable. “A ‘Self’ person is selfish, micro manages, and wants a say in everything; the “Others” person is considerate and concerned about people; the ‘Independent’ is comfortable working solo, produces results and a good taskmaster; and the “Cooperative” is dependent.”

“Most conflicts arise in the company from profile mismatch of the worker to the job. To manage talent, you must go into the psyche of individuals and match the worker’s personality profile to fit the job,” he stressed.

The Q&A session in progress.

The Q&A session in progress.

He advised employers to match jobs to the worker’s profile, and to have interview questions to determine the applicant’s profile. “If the job matches their profile, then he has passion, gives his best and loves his job.”

Dr Arivalan also highlighted the performance and potential matrix to manage talent, where skills are mapped against attitude, ranging from low to high.  He explained that a skilled person may complete his tasks well but if he has attitude problems, he will create enemies in the process. He cited examples of bad attitude as arrogant, anger, humiliate people in front of others, show a bad example, use bad words, and back-stabbing.

From left: Dr Arivalan, School of Business & Administration Acting Dean Prakash Arumugam, Parameswaran Ayahoo from MIMOS, and moderator of talk, Assoc Prof Dr Balakrishnan Muniapan.

From left: Dr Arivalan, School of Business & Administration Acting Dean Prakash Arumugam, Parameswaran Ayahoo from MIMOS, and moderator of talk, Assoc Prof Dr Balakrishnan Muniapan.

He suggested employers balance skills of workers with their potential/attitude, clarifying that skills can be taught easily while attitude is difficult.

Emotional intelligence skills for handling stress

Emotional intelligence (EI) skills are helpful in managing emotions when stressed, a psychology counsellor from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) told an audience of over 100 teachers/non-academic staff of St Xavier’s Institution.

The crowd listening to the talk on stress management.

The crowd listening to the talk on stress management.

Speaking on stress management during a workshop held at the main campus today, Dr Yasmin Othman Mydin said that stressful situations can evoke negative emotions like anxiety, depression, fear and anger. “When you have too many things happening in your life, negative emotions pop up to affect your thoughts and behaviour.”

She emphasised that EI skills are needed to manage, cope and solve the emotional issues within one self and with others. She cited the four EI skills sets as self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and social skills.

“Firstly, recognise, understand, and identify your emotions when stressed. If you are aware, then you can better manage your emotions, rather than react with anger.” She explained that anger, sadness and fear are natural emotions; however it all depends on how you manage them so that they do not become intense or control you, and you are more stable while you wait to find a solution.  

Dr Yasmin lists out the four components of emotional intelligence.

Dr Yasmin lists out the four components of emotional intelligence.

She remarked that self-awareness will help prevent your emotions from over-ruling or disturbing you and you will better understand how you tend to react to a particular situation. “Then, in future, you are more alert and will respond more appropriately.”

As for social awareness, Dr Yasmin stated that it is the ability to understand the emotions of others, to show empathy, concern and care. “When you understand another’s emotions, it will help you deal with that person more rationally.” Social skills, she continued, relate to communication, building a bond, and teamwork.

Breathing relaxation technique…Dr Yasmin requests the audience requested to close eyes and focus on their breathing.

Breathing relaxation technique…Dr Yasmin requests the audience requested to close eyes and focus on their breathing.

She highlighted the benefits of developing EI skills. “You gain personal resilience to face situations in life. As you build inner strength and keep emotions in check, you become a better leader and relate better with others. People with less resilience are more easily shaken, angry and sad.

Dr Yasmin, who is also a senior lecturer and cognitive behaviour therapist at USM, said that when one experiences stress, the elements involved are emotions, behaviour and physiology (e.g. gastritis).

A teacher speaks about the work stress in the schools.

A teacher speaks about the work stress in the schools.

“Stress is in the eye of the beholder. It largely depends on how one thinks of the event. There is a connection between thoughts, emotion and behaviour. Emotional disturbances are largely due to the process of your thinking. So you listen to your thoughts.

“An event becomes stressful when we think negatively, we feel negatively, and act negatively,” she pointed out, using the analogy of relationship break-ups, which can lead one to think they are useless and so isolate themselves and not want to talk.

Dr Yasmin (centre), flanked on her left by Jasmine Emmanuel of WOU, poses with the participants.

Dr Yasmin (centre), flanked on her left by Jasmine Emmanuel of WOU, poses with the participants.

The workshop was jointly organised by the Penang Regional Centre and the School of Humanities & Social Sciences (SHSS). Among those present was SHSS Deputy Dean Jasmine Emmanuel.

WOU workshop on research skills for Thai PhD students

(8-15 April, 2019)

WOU conducted a workshop for seven doctoral degree students from Silpakorn University (SU) to equip them with practical knowledge and skills in undertaking research and preparing dissertations.

The PhD students from Silpakorn University.

The PhD students from Silpakorn University.

The five-day workshop on "Refining Research Skills" for the second-year PhD students from SU, a national university in Thailand, was held at the main campus from April 8th to 15th. It was organised by the Centre for Professional Development & Continuing Education (PACE) and facilitated by the School of Education, Languages and Communications (SELC).

The workshop aimed to assist the students in completing their PhD. The SU students were Prueksa Dokkulard, Napaporn Boonsri, Massaya Rungaroon, Waleerat Puttasri, Chonthicha Manosin, Naraya Sirapanuwat and Praiwan Khantasiri.

Grace Lau talks about the University.

Grace Lau talks about the University.

The workshop kicked off today with an introduction to WOU by Director of Public & Student Relations, Grace Lau, who highlighted that WOU to date has produced 2,726 graduates from the undergraduate programmes and 1,029 graduates from the postgraduate programmes.

Speaking on ‘Pedagogical Transformation’, Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas mentioned transforming the teaching and learning at WOU to address the skills needs of students and employers, as well as to improve sustainability, enhance retention, and increase enrolment.

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She declared that of the 23, 120 students enrolled in WOU as at March 2019, 62% are aged 19-32 years, adding that young learners have short attention span, demand quick responses, require just in time knowledge, and value recognition. She said that they would prefer biteable learning content delivered just in time, fast responses via LMS and WhatsApp messages, and badges or mini-certificates for their efforts.

Meanwhile the Dean of SELC, Prof Balakrishnan Muniandy, in his presentation on ‘PhD Journey: Before, during and after’, offered tips on managing life before, during and after their doctoral degree.

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SELC Lecturer Dr Tan Saw Fen shared on the use of the NVivo qualitative data analysis computer software. She said the software helps the researchers to organise, store and retrieve data so that analysis can be done more efficiently and rigorously. “Both textual and visual files, like audio, video, emails, images, spreadsheets, online surveys, social and web content, can be imported into NVivo for analysis. The use of query and visualisation tools in NVivo helps researchers to make sense of their data.”

There were also presentations of other WOU researches, such as developing a scale to measure students’ psychological capital, identifying the challenges to APEL, and studying the impact of student engagement on performance.

Prof Phalachandra Bhandigadi (centre), flanked by Dr Tan (4th from left) and Arathai Din Eak (4th from right) of SELC, pose with the students after the workshop.

Prof Phalachandra Bhandigadi (centre), flanked by Dr Tan (4th from left) and Arathai Din Eak (4th from right) of SELC, pose with the students after the workshop.

Promoting cultural harmony through photos

The Malaysian culture, cuisine, lifestyle and harmonious spirit were the focus of the exhibits displayed by the full-time students at the Photo Exhibition held in the main campus today.

A total of 21 groups of students pooled their resources together to present their best work at the exhibition titled ‘Ethnic Relations in Malaysia’.

Staff and students admiring the exhibits.

Staff and students admiring the exhibits.

The project was organised by Lecturer Rabikha Hasni from the School of Humanities & Social Sciences (SHSS) as part and parcel of the students' assignment for the MPU3113/03 Hubungan Etnik course. It was designed to be a team effort of the students from different ethnic backgrounds to produce their final project photo and descriptive write-up.

On hand to present the award certificate to the winners at the Photo Exhibition was Assoc Prof Dr S Nagarajan, the Dean of the School.

Dr Nagarajan (centre) with the winning teams.

Dr Nagarajan (centre) with the winning teams.

The Best Photo award was won by the Cendol Ais Kacang group for their excellent snapshot of a devotee carrying kavadi during the Thaipusam festival. The group members were Chew Chin Chai, Tan Hui Fen, Gangasri Buvaneswaran, Sumiyyah Zainul Abiddin and Lee Ling Hui.

Rabikha (right, foreground) views the Best Photo exihibit.

Rabikha (right, foreground) views the Best Photo exihibit.

The Orkids team who showcased a mixed marriage in pictures won for Best Creativity. Its members were Nur Rashada Abdul Mubarak, Mindy Ooi, Lim Ching Li, Nerroshini Manoraj and Jegatheswary Mani Kumar.

Orkids group photo exhibit on mixed marriages.

Orkids group photo exhibit on mixed marriages.

The Best Theme award went to Nasi Kandar who highlighted Sports Excellence in Malaysia and past football legends like Soh Chin Aun, Mokhtar Dahari and Arumugam. The team comprised of Lew Tze Wei, Yim Zhen Xian, Diwagar Ravi and Dhenaaratchagan Madiyalagan.

Two members of the Nasi Kandar group, which won Best Theme, explain their concept.

Two members of the Nasi Kandar group, which won Best Theme, explain their concept.

Fellow students and staff who visited the exhibition were enlightened about the local happenings through the photos and explanations offered.