Welcoming new ODL students for January 2017 semester

A new chapter began for about 500 students who had registered for part-time, open distance learning (ODL) mode of study at Wawasan Open University in the January 2017 intake.

Welcoming the new students during the orientation at the main campus.

Welcoming the new students during the orientation at the main campus.

Many got their first taste of University life when they attended the Orientation organised simultaneously by the Regional Centres in Penang (PGRC), Ipoh (IPRC), Kuala Lumpur (KLRC), Johor Bahru (JBRC) and Kuching (KCRC), today.

Senior academics represented the University at the Orientation to brief the students on WOU’s ODL model and present the Dean’s List awards. Seventy-one students were named to the Dean’s List for academic excellence in the January 2016 semester. There were 25 recipients from PGRC, 23 from KLRC, 14 from JBRC, 6 from KCRC, and 3 from IPRC.

Prof Santhiram presents the Dean's List award to Lim Pui Shan. At right is Ipoh Regional Centre Director Ching Huey Ling.

Prof Santhiram presents the Dean's List award to Lim Pui Shan. At right is Ipoh Regional Centre Director Ching Huey Ling.

The Dean, Assoc Prof Dr Intan Osman, and Deputy Dean, Prakash Arumugam, of the School of Business & Administration joined the orientation at the Penang main campus. Prakash highlighted the important online links, namely the student portal, learning management system (LMS), online assignment submission system, MyEnrolment, Turnitin, and MyLibrary.

Prakash highlights the important online links to Remember.

Prakash highlights the important online links to Remember.

The orientation at the other locations were participated by School of Education, Languages & Communications Dean Prof Santhiram Raman (IPRC), School of Science & Technology Dean Associate Prof Dr Wendy Bong Chin Wei (KLRC), along with the School of Humanities & Social Sciences Dean Dr Nagarajan Subramaniam (KCRC) and Deputy Dean Jasmine Emmanuel (JBRC).

Dr Bong shares on the University's ODL model at Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre.

Dr Bong shares on the University's ODL model at Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre.

The orientation also served as the platform to recognise four Star Ambassadors - Phang Li Shing and Ho Zi Xuan from PGRC and Amirta Raj Manickam and Sivanesvaran Krishnaswami from KLRC – for referring three or more people to study at WOU during the July 2016 intake. They were each rewarded with a certificate and shopping vouchers worth RM200 under the WOU Friends & Family Programme.

Jennifer Alberto leads in the oath-taking at Ipoh Regional Centre.

Jennifer Alberto leads in the oath-taking at Ipoh Regional Centre.

Meanwhile at IPRC, pre-school teacher Jennifer Alberto, who enrolled for the newly-introduced Diploma in Early Childhood Education, led the freshmen in reciting the students’ pledge. This was followed by WOU’s Marketing & Admissions Executive Robert Ooi Teik Leng, who graduated at the recent Convocation ceremony, sharing his experiences on student life. He is presently continuing with his Master of Education at WOU.

Deva Guru offers pointers on managing student life to the freshmen at KLRC.

Deva Guru offers pointers on managing student life to the freshmen at KLRC.

At KLRC, close to 100 registered students turned up for orientation. Acting Head, Roshini Jesselyn Ramesh Chandru, welcomed the students, while Deva Guru Kurupatham, who is pursuing the Commonwealth Executive MBA programme, offered pointers on how to manage their study. Freshman Tengku Ahmad Faizul, who is embarking on his Bachelor of Management (Hons) with Psychology programme, led in the oath-taking.

Ahmad Faizul leads in taking the oath at KLRC.

Ahmad Faizul leads in taking the oath at KLRC.

The new students were excited and glad to receive a first-hand demonstration of the University’s LMS, WawasanLearn, and on accessing the student portal and other online support.

The half-day event ended on a fun note with a treasure hunt complete with prizes to acquaint the new students with the facilities and services available.

A freshman learning how to log onto the student portal at PGRC.

A freshman learning how to log onto the student portal at PGRC.

Staff Appreciation and Celebrating Together

Wawasan Open University ‘turned 10’ this year and recognised a total 44 employees with long service awards for their continuing loyalty, dedication and commitment to the future of the University.

Thirty-one received the 10-year service award and another thirteen the 5-year service award during a simple ceremony organised by the Human Resources Department at the lecture theatre of the main campus today.

On hand to present both the awards was WOU Sdn Bhd Chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap. Topping the list for the 10-year service award was Chief Operating Officer Yeong Sik Kheong.

"Thank You" to Yeong for his long years of service.

"Thank You" to Yeong for his long years of service.

Meanwhile, the Educational Technology & Publishing (ETP) Unit followed by the Registry had the highest number of recipients:

Ø  ETP (6) – Assistant Manager Khoo Chiew Keen, Senior Multimedia Technologist Marnisya Abdul Rahim, Senior Graphic Designer Chrisvie Ong Lin Lin, Senior Executive Jeanne Chow Min Hian, Graphic Designer Audrey Lisa Yeong Yoke Mei, Assistant Officer Sharon Alice Wiessy

Ø  Registry (5) - Advisor Sovindar Kaur, Senior Assistant Registrars Lim Swee Choo, June Cheah Ruenn Ling and Cheryl Ooi Hui Hui, Senior Executive Perkash Kaur

Marnisya Abdul Rahim (ETP) congratulated by Dato' Seri Stephen Yeap.

Marnisya Abdul Rahim (ETP) congratulated by Dato' Seri Stephen Yeap.

Perkash Kaur from Registry.

Perkash Kaur from Registry.

The other recipients of the 10-year service award are listed below:

Ø  General Services & Administration/GSA (2) - Director Andrew Joseph, Assistant Manager Sharifah Azura Syed Osman

Ø  ITS (1)- Manager (Application) Ch’ng Eng Hoo

Ø  Learning & Library Services (4) - Manager Chew Bee Leng, Assistant Manager Norhasni Abdul Aziz, Assistant Manager(Circulation Services) Ooi Siew Lee, Assistant Library Supervisor Zubaydah Zamri

Ø  Finance (4) – Assistant Manager Jadey Lee Cheng Gaik, Purchasing Executive Tan Mei Lin, Executive Janice Wong Siew Eng, Officer Hanishah Zainon

Ø  Centre for Professional Development & Continuing Education/PACE (2) – Senior Marketing Executive Lim Yeang See, Admin Assistant III Kang Shing Lee

Ø  Johor Bahru Regional Centre (2) - Director Dr Ng Peng Long, Senior Marketing & Admissions Executive Wong Chui Hong

Ø  Ipoh Regional Centre (2) – Senior Student Service & Admission Executive Syndy Ho Hsiao Yin, Senior Marketing & Admissions Executive Ngow Chee Wei

Ø  Kuala Lumpur Regional Centre/KLRC (2) – Senior Finance & Administration Executive Tan Chia Yun, Senior Marketing & Admissions Executive Raja Isaiah Rasiah

General Services & Administration Director Andrew Joseph.

General Services & Administration Director Andrew Joseph.

Norhasni Abdul Aziz from Learning & Library Services.

Norhasni Abdul Aziz from Learning & Library Services.

Among those presented with the 5-year award were ETP Director Grace Lau, School of Business & Administration Senior Lecturer Dr Chuah Poh Lean, School of Science & Technology Senior Lecturer Dr Teoh Ping Chow, Finance Executive Jennifer Ch’ng Chai Lin, and Regional Operations Senior Executive Clement Justus Gomez.

Clement JustusGomez from Regional Operations.

Clement JustusGomez from Regional Operations.

Everyone then proceeded to the Homestead Hall for the annual gathering arranged by the Staff Recreational Club. Guests included Members of WOU’s Board of Governors, Tan Sri Dr Chin Fook Weng and Dato’ Emeritus Prof Dr Wong Tat Meng. To the thunderous applause of all present, Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye announced a one-month bonus this year for management and staff.

The much anticipated lucky draw saw 23 prizes given away, such as shopping gift vouchers, iron, hair dryer, blender and rice cooker. The first prize, an oven was won by Fara Falida Ramely from KLRC, the second prize a vacuum cleaner by Saw Jong Khai from Quality Assurance & External Relations Directorate, and the third a juice extractor by Selva Raja from GSA.

Second prize winner Saw Jong Khai receiving his vacuum cleaner from Prof Ho.

Second prize winner Saw Jong Khai receiving his vacuum cleaner from Prof Ho.

The crowd had an entertaining luncheon as they mingled and feasted on the delicious food, while being serenaded by live guitar music and songs. They enjoyed the nasi briyani served with dalca, chicken, fish, prawn, egg kurma, taukua sambal and French beans, and nicely complemented with sliced papaya and water melon.

Staff mingling and enjoying their meal.

Staff mingling and enjoying their meal.

Penang: Changing mindset to create a better future

Individuals and communities must have the right mindset and work together in spite of the obstacles to change their sphere of influence if they are to create a better future in terms of physical and social wealth.

Prof Suresh Narayanan (right) introduces the speaker.

Prof Suresh Narayanan (right) introduces the speaker.

This was expressed by Tan Sri Andrew Sheng, Chief Advisor to the China Banking Regulatory Commission, at the public lecture on ‘Why East and West Will Meet in George Town’, organised by WOU’s Centre for Dialogue under the Chancellor’s Lecture Series at the main campus today.

He said Penang is geographically well located and that it is not real estate but people and talent that create wealth. He stressed that innovation can be the drivers of real growth in cities, and this requires human capital, R&D inputs, risk capital, workforce, and tech concentration.

He suggested Penang grab the best of the East and the West and organise the social technology and the business package into a workable model to take George Town to the next level.  “It’s not a matter of how you do it as the technology is available but whether we have the mindset to do it.”

Highlighting the success of Silicon Valley in the United States.

Highlighting the success of Silicon Valley in the United States.

He mentioned successful city-to-city alliances, like that of San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland to form the Silicon Valley in US, which has some 40 universities and is now home to the top 39 high-tech companies, including Adobe, Apple, Facebook, eBay and Netflix. He said investments now are in start-ups, with ICT directly impacting future national wealth and income creation.

Sheng quoted research that by 2020, 940 million online shoppers are expected to spend $1 trillion on cross-border e-commerce transactions, with today’s money made with apps and services like Uber, Alibaba, Facebook, and Instagram.

He remarked that Penang faces long-term competitive challenges namely: it cannot rely solely on real estate; loss of talent to abroad and growing over-reliant on foreign labour for construction and service jobs;  intensifying competition from other cities; and lack of coordination between academic, business and civil service.

Sheng elaborates on how Penang can move forward to achieve growth.

Sheng elaborates on how Penang can move forward to achieve growth.

He shared that Penang must position itself in the networked economy, where the world is today our customer base, and there is easy access to information on content, branding, infrastructure and marketing.  He said Penang must improve productivity and increase labour utilisation to generate growth, stressing the key is continuous education, training and skills upgrading at state, corporate and individual levels.

He noted that universities are hub for knowledge and content generation, and that graduates are not only talent-pool for new ideas, but also cheap labour for entry into jobs. He said universities need to work together with the community - business, government, civil society - to be a platform for knowledge exchange and innovation, and that this cannot happen without input of Penang’s corporate captains, civic leaders and academic profession.

Responding to queries from the audience.

Responding to queries from the audience.

During Q&A, Sheng replied that we are now plugged into a global economy. “What’s stopping us to go to the next level? It’s the individual.” He advised for people not to blame anybody but rather to change their sphere of influence as individuals and by working as communities to create the future.

The lecture was attended by about 70 people including Pro-Chancellor Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Board of Governors Chairman Tan Sri Emeritus Prof Gajaraj Dhanarajan and Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye.

Part of the crowd at the lecture.

Part of the crowd at the lecture.

Infusing values for upgrading democracy

Audiences got a different glimpse of democracy and were shown a few tools of upgrading democracy, at a public lecture on ‘Upgrading Democracy: Soft Laws, Good Laws and Human Rights’ at the WOU main campus today.

A section of the crowd at the lecture.

A section of the crowd at the lecture.

Veteran lawyer Roy Lee, who has practised public law, drafted legislation and consulted in numerous countries in Asia and Australasia, stated that soft laws, good laws and human rights are the three key features and upgrades in modern democracy, and that the best reference for countries is international standards.

Declaring that democratic governance is crucial to democracy, he defined it as a collection of robust mechanisms that keep the Executive honest, ensure the Executive does not abuse its powers, acts fairly, and works hard for the people. The four benchmarks of democratic governance are accountability, transparency, fairness and independence, he added.

He gave examples of democratic governance institutions like the written Constitution, judicial review, independent Courts, domestic human rights law, international human rights law, the Ombudsman, Freedom of Information legislation, public procurement laws and guidelines, a Human Rights Commission, free media and journalists, free social media, NGOs, interest groups, and Parliamentary oversight committees.

Roy Lee has a law degree from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

Roy Lee has a law degree from Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

He stressed that certain civil and political rights such as freedom of expression, assembly and association are indispensable in a democratic society. He also spoke of countries without written Constitution like New Zealand and UK, which have learnt to use the Parliament properly to protect the rights of the people.

Regarding soft laws, Lee said soft law institutions do not rely on litigation or criminal law, but infuse democratic values like “accountability, transparency, fairness, human rights and rationality, into decision-making and actions by public officials”. He noted that soft laws – e.g. regulatory impact assessments, consultation, human rights norms, codes, policies, principles, other guidance, ombudsman independent Police Complaints Commission - are needed in a democracy,

Elaborating on soft law institutions.

Elaborating on soft law institutions.

He said soft law institutions help design standards for good laws in a democracy. He listed eight features for good laws: clear objectives and guiding principles; clear and objective criteria for exercise of significant powers; appropriate placement of powers; appointment, removals, accountability and independence of decision-makers; graduated sanctions; sufficient safeguards; sufficient transparency; and international standards and best practice.

Lee mentioned sufficient safeguards like court appeals, independent panel, and judicial reviews, and sufficient transparency for amendment revocation and concessions or agreements with utilities or monopoly providers. He also said that there are enough international standards and best practice to follow, even on judiciary, parliament, campaign and political finance, discrimination and equality.

He concluded, “Lots of soft laws upholding democratic governance are critical upgrades to democracy. There is no quick fix for Malaysia’s deficit of democratic governance. A whole package of reforms is needed.”

Moderator Dr Wong Chin Huat (left) from Penang Institute poses a question.

Moderator Dr Wong Chin Huat (left) from Penang Institute poses a question.

He suggested a review of key institutions and laws, parliaments, courts, prosecutions, police, Prime Minister’s office, and legislation restricting fundamental freedoms against international standards or best practice; establishing soft law institutions/mechanisms; and creating awareness starting from school about democracy and human rights,

During Q&A, he replied that the Constitution can be amended with two-thirds majority, and so the safeguards for democracy are strong soft laws for every structure and strata of society, and infusing democratic values in these institutions and the people.

Prof Dhanarajan and Emeritus Prof Dato' Dr Wong Tat Meng of WOU.

Prof Dhanarajan and Emeritus Prof Dato' Dr Wong Tat Meng of WOU.

About 40 people attended the event organised by the Penang Institute and WOU, including WOU Board of Governors Chairman Tan Sri Emeritus Prof Gajaraj Dhanarajan and Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye.

Preparing for the future: ODL based on m-Learning

A good understanding of open distance learning (ODL) based on mobile learning (m-Learning) can be gleaned through the experiences of Korea National Open University (KNOU).

Prof Tae Rim Lee, from KNOU’s Department of Information Statistics, presented a lecture on ‘Mobile e-book for Open & Distance Learning’ to WOU staff today, in which she shared the history, experiences and lessons from KNOU’s m-Learning project. 

Explaining the history of mobile learning in Korea National Open University.

Explaining the history of mobile learning in Korea National Open University.

She elaborated on the components of m-Learning namely the contents, technology, service and the learners.  Contents are raw data or original draft, technology is learning management system or multimedia, while service is training, delivery methods, operation, system, and reference.

She informed that the m-Learning or ‘campus in hand’ of KNOU has a main menu comprising Campus Information (MyPage, Academic Calendar, Phone Book),  Administrative Information (Enrolment, Courses, Grade, Register) and Learning Service (VOD Lecture, AOD Lecture). She demonstrated on how to access mobile e-book and run the application using her smartphone.

Prof Tae making a point.

Prof Tae making a point.

According to Prof Tae, KNOU built its e-Learning hub site, e-campus, in 2002, and kicked off its m-Learning hub site, U-campus, in December 2008 with 17 departments of online graduate school.  The university began employing OER for ODL in 2011 and commenced MOOCs in 2014. KNOU presently has 13 regional campuses nationwide and its own cable television network, which proves useful for web lectures.

She said the initial u-KNOU service or mobile campus in hand provided students with instant access to video lectures, multimedia lectures, and their academic information while they move with their 3G cellular phones. Following user feedback, the improved u-KNOU service was expanded to various mobile devices and a variety of service networks, with upgraded interface and display methods. Other service functions like ID and password, seamless display, variation of play speed, etc were added.

Prof Gajaraj Dhanarajan and Grace Lau (2nd and 3rd from left) at the talk.

Prof Gajaraj Dhanarajan and Grace Lau (2nd and 3rd from left) at the talk.

Among those who attended the talk at the main campus were Chairman of WOU’s Board of Governors, Tan Sri Emeritus Prof Gajaraj Dhanarajan, School of Science & Technology (SST) Dean Dr Wendy Bong Chin Wei, Educational Technology &   Publishing Director Grace Lau Pee Hoay, and Educational Technologist Assoc Prof Dr Ramesh Sharma.

Earlier, Prof Tae recounted the evolution of ICT in higher education, remarking that e-learning and m-Learning affords a good opportunity for busy people to study during their spare time.

Recognition for two global leaders and 622 graduates

(November 24-26, 2016)

Wawasan Open University recently awarded honorary degrees to two global women leaders at the helm of international organisations that work towards the betterment of people and society, during the seventh convocation ceremony.

Tun Chancellors declares commencement of ceremony.

Tun Chancellors declares commencement of ceremony.

The recipients of WOU’s Honorary Doctor of Letters degree were Professor Asha Kanwar, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), headquartered in Vancouver, Canada and Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood, Under Secretary General for Partnerships at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), based in Geneva, Switzerland.  Dr Jemilah is the founder of MERCY Malaysia, a medical charity which she led as President from 1999 to 2009.

In his convocation address, Chancellor Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah lauded the honorary graduates for their achievements “in their respective field of expertise and for raising the global profile of women in leadership”.

Prof Asha Kanwar receives her Honorary Degree from the Chancellor.

Prof Asha Kanwar receives her Honorary Degree from the Chancellor.

He highlighted the importance of unity in diversity and urged all to make Malaysia better for our future generations. “As citizens who love Malaysia, we want to see the nation develop further, for the ringgit to be strengthened, for the country to prosper socio-economically, and for the general standard of living of the rakyat to improve. For this to happen, we require those in administration and leaders representing the interests of the people to be of high calibre, capable, honest, trustworthy, accountable and transparent individuals.”

He continued, “A peaceful Malaysia, with united citizens, with minimal violence in its midst, with proper management of the nation’s wealth, with all the positive values of a healthy society, will make the country stronger and better. This is the kind of country we can be proud of and which we want our descendants to inherit.”

Chancellor Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah delivers his convocation address.

Chancellor Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah delivers his convocation address.

Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye, in congratulating Prof Kanwar and Dr Jemilah, said, “As individuals and leaders, they dare to step up and impact societies and nations with the strength of their vision, passion and determination.”

Pro-Chancellor Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon added, “These two global women leaders are excellent examples of strong commitment and absolute dedication to the ideals of service to the people in their own nations and to the world at large in the field of education and health care respectively.  They have brought positive changes and real meaning to the lives of many people, especially the disadvantaged.  They are indeed good role models for all of us to emulate.”

(From left) Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Prof Kanwar, Prof Ho and Dato' Emeritus Prof Dr Wong Tat Meng.

(From left) Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Prof Kanwar, Prof Ho and Dato' Emeritus Prof Dr Wong Tat Meng.

In her inspiring video acceptance message, Dr Jemilah mentioned the realities of living in an increasingly polarised world, and implored, “How do we make sure we do not allow this degree of polarisation to happen in our own backyards?”

She told the graduates to reflect on how they will “contribute to society, whether in Malaysia or outside, to think of yourself not just as Malaysian citizens but also global citizens” and “to make your mark in the world today”.

The convocation held at the main campus over three days produced a total of 622 fresh graduates at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Among them was the first batch of 45 graduates from the full-time, on-campus learning (OCL) programmes.

Graduates seated in the hall.

Graduates seated in the hall.

The remaining 577 formed the part-time, open distance learning (ODL) graduates from the undergraduate (423) and postgraduate (154) programmes. They included the first batch of graduates from the Bachelor’s degree programmes in English Studies (5), Multimedia Design (1), and Networks & Data Communication (1).

For their excellent academic performance, the most outstanding graduate from the ODL postgraduate programme, Irene Cheng Chiew Ping, won the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Memorial Prize, while the top graduate from the undergraduate programme, Kalaiyalagan Karuppiah, won the Chancellor’s Gold Medal. The inaugural Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik Memorial Gold Prize for top OCL graduate went to Shirley Leong Yan Yan.

Integration by celebrating festivals together at WOU

Integration and respect for one another’s cultures seemed to be the underlying message during the WOU Deepavali celebration this year.

Breaking coconuts before start of Deepavali luncheon.

Breaking coconuts before start of Deepavali luncheon.

The celebration at the main campus on November 18th kicked off with the breaking of coconuts at the Homestead entrance by Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye, Chief Operating Officer Yeong Sik Kheong, and Registrar cum QA & External Relations Director Dr Andy Liew.

This was followed by the lighting of the traditional oil lamps at the hall entrance by Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) Prof Madhulika Kaushik and Group Finance Director Chua Saw Nee.

Chua (left) and Prof Madhulika light the oil lamps.

Chua (left) and Prof Madhulika light the oil lamps.

Guests were greeted by a colourful peacock floor drawing (kolam) and door gifts of traditional bangles and pottu. The Homestead Hall was decorated with greeting cards and overhanging coconut leaves, while Indian traditional music added to the festive atmosphere. Every table was also laid with plate servings of murukku, a favourite Indian cookie.

Assoc Prof Dr Wendy Bong (right) being adorned with pottu on arrival.

Assoc Prof Dr Wendy Bong (right) being adorned with pottu on arrival.

Prof Ho, his forehead adorned with pottu, spoke about the importance of multiethnic integration in a multiethnic, multi-cultural country like Malaysia and on how different festive celebrations and gatherings like the ones practised traditionally in WOU has a special meaning or purpose. There is the need to be wary of the negative impacts of polarisation creeping into society.

He continued, “Looking at us sitting here today, a mixture of all ethnic groups, I somehow feel comforted that we are actually doing our own part in trying to curb or at least reduce this threat of polarisation.” Respecting each other’s culture and participating in joint festive celebrations like this is a step in the right direction, Prof Ho added.

Prof Ho highlights the importance of integration of the different races.

Prof Ho highlights the importance of integration of the different races.

 

Prof Madhulika shared a legend on Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and invoked blessings for everyone present and especially for the University.

The event then proceeded with a fashion show by a group of full-time students, who modelled the traditional costumes of the major races in Malaysia, reinforcing the message of integration.

The students also performed a number of fast tempo Indian dances, including the kolattam dance, a cultural dance from South India using bamboo sticks. Kolattam comes from the word ‘kol’ for cane and ‘attam’ meaning dance.

Students perform the kolattam dance.

Students perform the kolattam dance.

Staff and students feasted on rice with dishes of chicken, mutton, and vegetable, complemented with juice, massala tea and bru coffee.

WOU celebrates major cultural festivals with luncheon or high tea for staff to cultivate appreciation and respect for each other’s beliefs and practices.

WOU welcomes collaboration with University of Hull

WOU is looking at potential partnership arrangements with University of Hull (UoH), UK that can deliver benefits to both institutions and particularly to its students.

This latest development emerged following a meeting between Professor Mark Lorch, Associate Dean, International Engagement, Faculty of Science and Engineering, UoH and WOU senior management at the main campus today.

Vice Chancellor Prof Dato' Dr Ho Sinn Chye (3rd from right) joins in the discussion led by Chief Operating Officer Yeong Sik Kheong (centre).

Vice Chancellor Prof Dato' Dr Ho Sinn Chye (3rd from right) joins in the discussion led by Chief Operating Officer Yeong Sik Kheong (centre).

The WOU team comprised Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye, Chief Operating Officer Yeong Sik Kheong, Regional Operations and Marcom Director K H Chong, School of Science & Technology Dean Assoc Prof Dr Wendy Bong Chin Wei, and School of Business & Administration Deputy Dean Prakash Arumugam.

The meeting explored a few potential areas of collaboration as listed below:

1.    Co-developing Continuing Professional Development (CPD) short course in a Computer Science specialisation such as Game Development that could be delivered as a distance learning module

2.    Delivering UoH MSc in Computer Science courses, such as Security and Distributed Computing, in the distance learning mode. 

Prof Lorch from University of Hull.

Prof Lorch from University of Hull.

UoH, located in the northeast of UK was founded in 1927, making it the 14th oldest university in the United Kingdom. The faculties there include science and engineering, arts and humanities, medical and social sciences, law and business. Its students are mainly from full-time study, while a small number pursue blended learning, supported by online learning materials and online tutorials.

WOU briefing on new diploma for pre-school teachers

WOU is conducting a series of briefings for principals of kindergartens and nursery centres on the new Diploma in Early Childhood Education (DECE) programme that is set to be offered via open distance learning (ODL) in the January 2017 intake.

Registration for the briefing.

Registration for the briefing.

Dean of the School of Education, Languages and Communications (SELC), Prof Santhiram Raman shared that the 90-credit Diploma programme consists of 29 courses for completion in 6 semesters or 3 years. “There are four courses in the first semester, and five courses in each of the remaining semesters,” he informed.

The first briefing cum tea talk session held in the main campus today was attended by 10 principals, with the second for Penang planned in December. Similar briefings are also being held at WOU’s Regional Centres in Kuala Lumpur, Kuching, Ipoh and Johor Bahru.

WOU Vice Chancellor Prof Dato' Dr Ho Sinn Chye welcomes the principals.

WOU Vice Chancellor Prof Dato' Dr Ho Sinn Chye welcomes the principals.

Prof Santhiram said the purpose of the DECE programme is to provide professional upgrading opportunities for existing or would-be teachers working in childcare and pre-schools centres who do not possess diploma qualifications. This is to help them keep in line with the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) ruling for all preschool teachers, both in government and private agencies, to have at least a diploma by year 2020.

He stressed that the DECE offers training to enhance teaching professionalism and the quality of teachers in Early Childhood Education. He urged the attendees to send their teachers to WOU as the ODL part-time study allows students to continue in their job while they pursue their diploma.

Prof Santhiram shares the programme outline.

Prof Santhiram shares the programme outline.

He assured that the DECE had been developed by external experts in the field of early childhood education. He said the courses in DECE cover pedagogy, psychology, management and administration, curriculum planning, law and social policies, as well as entrepreneur development.

He cited 6 reasons to study with WOU, namely affordable tuition fees; quality education supported by experienced academicians; extensive network of learning centres; flexibility; approved by MOE and Malaysian Qualifications Agency; and electives for mother-tongue teachers.

Prof Santhiram said students can choose to attend tutorials in any of the centres or study independently via the learning management system, WawasanLearn, and submit assignments online. He added that students can opt for Mandarin language pedagogy or Tamil Language Pedagogy from the four elective modules to equip themselves to teach more effectively.

Prof Santhiram extends an invitation to send their teachers to study in WOU.

Prof Santhiram extends an invitation to send their teachers to study in WOU.

He declared that the total fee is only RM11, 265, due to the attractive 10% rebate on tuition fees given in conjunction with WOU’s 10th year anniversary.

He shared that upon successful completion of the programme, graduates will have the knowledge, skills and competencies to be employed in childcare settings and preschools as teachers and administrators, while those teachers in preschool centres without formal qualifications will now be suitably qualified to teach.

As further incentive, he said that that principals or institutions that send 5 teachers or more will receive additional discounts.

SELC Lecturer Ooi Li Hsien (left) shows the library facilities during the campus tour following the briefing.

SELC Lecturer Ooi Li Hsien (left) shows the library facilities during the campus tour following the briefing.

WOU set to turn out over 600 fresh graduates

WOU will produce a new batch of 623 graduates and confer honorary degrees on two internationally well-known women leaders at the seventh convocation ceremony to be held in the main campus from November 24th-26th.

The recipients of WOU’s Honorary Doctor of Letters degree this year are Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood, founding and former president of MERCY Malaysia, and Prof Asha Kanwar, President and CEO of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), an intergovernmental organisation of the Commonwealth of Nations which is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada.

Dato' Seri Stephen Yeap (left) announces the Honorary Graduands.

Dato' Seri Stephen Yeap (left) announces the Honorary Graduands.

Speaking at the press conference today, WOU Sdn Bhd Chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap stated that Dr Jemilah is being recognised for her “highest level of professional achievement, personal contributions and leadership in relation to humanitarian goals and actions”.

“Her outstanding efforts and sustained advocacy for volunteerism in medical rescue work to help those in need and affected by crises, irrespective of ethnicity and across borders have indeed captured and inspired the lives of all Malaysians and many other people across the globe,” he added.

Tan Sri Dr Jemilah founded MERCY Malaysia.

Tan Sri Dr Jemilah founded MERCY Malaysia.

In the case of Prof Kanwar, he said that she is accorded recognition for her exceptional leadership and lifelong contributions in the field of higher education in general and in open distance learning (ODL) in the international arena specifically.

He remarked, “She has promoted the development of national policies for ODL and Open Educational Resources (OER), and contributed significantly to enhancing the role of ODL not just for education and lifelong learning but as a means for achieving global development goals.”

“Through her leadership in COL, she actively promotes the role of education in empowering individuals so that they can be responsible for their own well-being and for the development of their nations,” he added.

Renowned educationist Prof Kanwar.

Renowned educationist Prof Kanwar.

Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye shared that the convocation, which coincides with WOU’s 10th year anniversary, will be notching a few firsts. The University is set to roll out the first batch of 45 graduates from its full-time, on-campus learning (OCL) Bachelor degree programmes in Management and Accounting.

The remaining 578 ODL graduates comprise 154 from the postgraduate and 424 from the undergraduate programmes. He highlighted on the first batches of 7 graduates from the degree programmes in English Studies (5), Multimedia Design (1), and Networks & Data Communication (1).

Press conference held at Lecture Theatre 2.

Press conference held at Lecture Theatre 2.

Prof Ho also announced the top graduates and the awards they won. The winner of the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Memorial Prize for best ODL graduate at the postgraduate-level is Irene Cheng Chiew Ping of Seberang Jaya, Penang. She is graduating with the MBA in Manufacturing and Production Management (MBA-MPM) programme.

The Chancellor’s Gold Medal for top ODL graduate at the undergraduate-level is won by Kalaiyalagan Karuppiah of Puchong, Selangor, who is graduating with the Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Accounting degree.

The inaugural recipient for the newly-introduced Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik Memorial Gold Prize for top OCL graduate is Shirley Leong Yan Yan, 23, of Ayer Itam, Penang. She topped her class in the Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Management programme.

Prof Ho (right) shares details on the graduating students.

Prof Ho (right) shares details on the graduating students.

“The University has so far produced 1,787 graduates since our first convocation in 2010. WOU is expected to add another 623 graduates at this year’s convocation ceremony to bring the total to almost 2,500 graduates,” he concluded.