Exciting Heritage Trail Hunt adventure

The WOU Heritage Trail Hunt was an exciting yet mind-boggling adventure for about 40 staff as they had to navigate the streets of Little India and the surrounding vicinity while they attempted to work out the answers to the subtle clues given. 

Team Alpha trying to find answers from their surroundings. They came fifth in the heritage trail competition.

Team Alpha trying to find answers from their surroundings. They came fifth in the heritage trail competition.

A total of 13 teams, with three staff per team, participated in the heritage trail challenge organised by the Marketing & Corporate Communications (Marcom) department today. 

Kudos to all the participants for their support to the event.

Kudos to all the participants for their support to the event.

The staff had gathered at the entrance to the lobby of the Penang City Council multi-storey car park at Beach Street before starting out on the approximately two-hour hunt.  Grit, determination and team spirit were all evident as they proceeded on their trail.

Besides matching clues to answers gleaned from structures and buildings in their walking path, the teams had to snap wefies or group photos at certain strategic locations.  This was where the playful and comedic streak of the various team participants came to the fore, with many striking eye-catching poses against the backdrop of steel rod caricatures and drawings on the walls. 

"Kick" the smoking habit is what Team Juliette seems to be saying. They won second prize.

"Kick" the smoking habit is what Team Juliette seems to be saying. They won second prize.

All participants must be congratulated for their tremendous support to the event, which was held under the banner of the monthly sports and recreational activities of WOU, initiated by the Human Resource Department to promote an active lifestyle among the staff.

The top prizes went to teams that managed to complete the hunt with the highest marks and under the allotted time. Team Kilo emerged as champion to win shopping vouchers worth RM150. The members were Khoo Chiew Keen (Educational Technology & Publishing), along with Rabhika Hasni Suparman and K Ranjini from the School of Humanities & Social Sciences (SHSS).

The champions - Khoo (centre) from Team Kilo, with his two 'angels', Rabhika and Ranjini.

The champions - Khoo (centre) from Team Kilo, with his two 'angels', Rabhika and Ranjini.

Team Juliette, featuring the women power of Dr Norizan Baba (School of Business & Administration), Shaffiah Mohd (Information Technology Services) and Surrayya Shuib (Human Resources), grabbed second prize to win the RM90 shopping vouchers.

Meanwhile Team Golf, made up of the SHSS faculty members of Kevin Tan Pooi Soo, Ch’ng Ping Ping and Cheah Seeh Lee, came in third to receive vouchers worth RM60.

Third prize went to Team Golf. From left: Kevin Tan, Seeh Lee and Ping Ping.

Third prize went to Team Golf. From left: Kevin Tan, Seeh Lee and Ping Ping.

The consolation prize winners were Team Hotel with members Trinnie Triveny Chandran (HR), Choy Paik Lin (Learning & Library Services) and Julie Lim Cheng Cheok (Chancellery) in fourth placing, and Team Alpha comprising Jegatheswary Tamilmany, Muhamad Faiz Abdul Wahab and Siti Zahara Mohd Razali from the General Services & Administration Department, in fifth.

Paik Lin (left) and Julie Lim (right) strike a graceful karate pose. Team Hotel grabbed fourth placing.

Paik Lin (left) and Julie Lim (right) strike a graceful karate pose. Team Hotel grabbed fourth placing.

 Syabas to all the winners!

WOU: Supporter in the fight against cancer

Wawasan Open University (WOU) extended its support for the 11th consecutive year to Relay for Life Penang, which was organised by the National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NCSM) Penang branch and the Penang Hospice Society. 

WOU Corporate Communications Manager Rasidah Mion (left) presents the mock cheque to Dato' Seri Dr T Devaraj.

WOU Corporate Communications Manager Rasidah Mion (left) presents the mock cheque to Dato' Seri Dr T Devaraj.

The Relay was held today for the first time at Athletics Stadium, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), representing a change of venue from the Penang Youth Park.

WOU, in a show of support, was a silver sponsor and also sent a team of about 15 participants, comprising staff and full-time students, to join the walkabout. The aim of the annual event themed ‘Fighting Cancer Together’ is to create awareness on cancer, remember loved ones lost, celebrate survivors, and raise funds for the fight against cancer.

The full-time students of WOU hold the banner high as they participate in the walkabout.

The full-time students of WOU hold the banner high as they participate in the walkabout.

WOU participants carried placards and a banner declaring the University’s support to the Relay since 2007 as they joined the survivors and other teams to walk around the stadium’s track. Some survivors had come from as far as Johor Bahru, Melaka, Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Taiping.

In his speech earlier, NCSM Penang Chairman Dato’ Seri Dr T Devaraj informed that this is the 13th year of celebrating the Relay in Penang to get people “to recognise that cancer is a burden and this burden can be reduced if all of us can work together, especially by leading healthy lifestyles”.

Dr Devaraj welcomes the sponsors and particiipants.

Dr Devaraj welcomes the sponsors and particiipants.

In launching the Relay, USM Deputy Vice Chancellor (Industry and Community Network) Prof Dr Abdul Rahman Mohamed, quoted Malaysian statistics to state that “the risk of males getting cancer is 1 in 10 and for females is 1 in 9”. Cancer contributed to 14% of total deaths that occurred in Ministry of Health hospitals in 2015 and is reported to be the third common cause of death in Malaysia, he added.

“The best way to fight cancer is primary prevention through changes in lifestyle, which include not smoking, following a healthy diet, regular exercise and decreasing exposure to carcinogens. The best way to survive cancer is early detection through regular screening and checkups. Once diagnosed, remember that many of these cancers are curable,” he stressed.

Prof Abdul Rahman calls on the crowd to make healthy lifestyle choices.

Prof Abdul Rahman calls on the crowd to make healthy lifestyle choices.

Prof Abdul Rahman presented certificates of appreciation to WOU - and other sponsors - as the emcee shouted, ‘Wawasan Open University, an old friend and wonderful ally of Relay for Life Penang!”

The event featured music, henna/face painting, entertainment, games, food stalls and exhibition to lend a mini carnival atmosphere for the enjoyment of the young and the old.

Full-time students with WOU staff that include (from right) Assoc Dr Ramesh Chander Sharma, Kevin Tan, Chew Bee Leng (hidden), K Ranjini, Rabikha Hasni Suparman, Lim Yeang See and Sharon Alice Wiessy.

Full-time students with WOU staff that include (from right) Assoc Dr Ramesh Chander Sharma, Kevin Tan, Chew Bee Leng (hidden), K Ranjini, Rabikha Hasni Suparman, Lim Yeang See and Sharon Alice Wiessy.

Become employable graduates with WOU, freshmen told

The new full-time, on-campus learning (OCL) students were encouraged to develop themselves holistically during their study with WOU so that they become employable graduates and consequently enhance the image of the University.

Speaking at the orientation for some 50 OCL students from the September 2017 intake at the main campus today, Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye urged them to start thinking of the job they want to do so that they can groom themselves accordingly starting from day one of their academic journey at WOU.

The new full-time students for the September semester.

The new full-time students for the September semester.

He shared that many corporate companies and bosses are saying that they cannot find suitable graduates, and hence the students must start preparing themselves. He said the focus is not so much on what the students have studied but rather on the soft skills. “How good are you in communicating with people? How good are you in speaking in English?”

Prof Ho added, “Your ability to communicate and your critical thinking skills. The employer will assess whether you are able to think, advise and help the company.” He told the freshmen to equip themselves with soft skills so that they are successful in job interviews as they are competing with candidates with the same qualifications. “The boss is interested in how you talk, how you communicate, how you answer the questions, what kind of thinking has taken place behind your answers.”

Prof Ho offers pointers on how to succeed as a student of WOU.

Prof Ho offers pointers on how to succeed as a student of WOU.

He asked the students to individually design their own success as a student of WOU. They should be clear about their goals which may be different from those of their classmates. “Distinguish or make yourself stand out from the others so that you can find the right job more readily.”

He also advised them to become proficient in understanding technology as the future job market will be different due to the influence of emerging technologies. He assured that WOU’s programmes have been designed to groom them to achieve their goals. “WOU is a very innovative and forward thinking university that keeps in mind the future of our graduates so that you become readily employable by the time you graduate.”

Students advised to master IT skills and to be active in co-curricular activities.

Students advised to master IT skills and to be active in co-curricular activities.

He also highlighted their need to be familiar with the learning management system, Wawasan2u, and realise the importance of participating in co-curricular activities to help strengthen interpersonal, critical thinking and networking skills.

Prof Ho called on the freshmen to be bold and ask questions and challenge the lecturers academically to build up their knowledge base. He advised that they form study groups and maintain good relationships with their Academic Advisors.

Lastly he requested that they play their role as good ambassadors of WOU by giving due attention to positive academic conduct and interactions with peers. “This is your duty as a good student of WOU”, he added.

Penang Regional Centre director Teh Kim Kow (right) introduces his staff.

Penang Regional Centre director Teh Kim Kow (right) introduces his staff.

Earlier Penang Regional Centre director Teh Kim Kow introduced his team while School of Business & Administration (SBA) Senior Lecturer Yap Li Lian introduced the Academic Advisors.

The oath-taking was led by Al-Ameen Rosli, 21, who had enrolled in Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Logistics and Supply Chain Management.

Al-Ameen leads the freshmen in reciting the students' pledge.

Al-Ameen leads the freshmen in reciting the students' pledge.

Among the attendees were Chief Operating Officer Yeong Sik Kheong and Registrar Dr Andy Liew Teik Kooi.

ODL students hold blood donation campaign

About 45 people, in the spirit of giving and community service, turned up for the blood donation campaign organised by a group of part-time open distance learning (ODL) students of WOU.

The blood donation campaign at the main campus in Penang.

The blood donation campaign at the main campus in Penang.

The blood donation drive held at the Homestead Hall of the main campus today witnessed 26 successful donors, and most of them were ODL students.

A few University staff did manage to donate, and among them were ITS Senior Database Administrator Shaffiah Mohd and Library Assistant Mohd Yusuf Hanafiah.  This was only the second time donating for Shaffiah and the fourth for Yusuf.

Yusuf shows up at the campaign to do his part.

Yusuf shows up at the campaign to do his part.

The blood donation campaign proclaiming the message, ‘One pint saves three lives’, was organised by a team of nine adult learners pursuing the Diploma in Early Childhood Education programme. They conducted the campaign as part of their co-curriculum project, in collaboration with the Blood Bank of Seberang Jaya Hospital and Bukit Mertajam Hospital.

Shaffiah puts aside her fears to donateblood.

Shaffiah puts aside her fears to donateblood.

According to Christina Yew Pei Phing, the project leader, “The purpose is to encourage and inspire the public, particularly young adults, to become lifelong blood donors and help save lives, thus contributing to the community at large.”

Her fellow team members were: Arikimah Joseph, Najeeha Natasha Noor, Choong Yee Ching, Kasturi Subramaniam, Woon Shieh Ling, Yeoh Chee Hin, Chua Siok Yong and Ng Boon Kee.

Team members from the DECE programme help out with registration.

Team members from the DECE programme help out with registration.

Yew hoped that this campaign for a worthy cause also served to promote the image of WOU in the community.

Promoting family spirit with Family Day

A feeling of camaraderie and warmth was evident all around as staff and family members mingled with directors of the board and the top management of both institutions during the DISTED-WOU Family.

Staff and family enjoyingthemselves at the event.

Staff and family enjoyingthemselves at the event.

The gathering held at DISTED College today kicked off with a zumba workout, followed by Chinese diabolo performances by five WOU full-time students, Pan Bo Zhong, Ng Xin Pei, Goh Kelwen, Tan Xuan Jinn, and Mohd Sanim Mohd Saad.

The full-time students of WOU display their skill.

The full-time students of WOU display their skill.

The event incidentally served as a surprise mini birthday celebration for WOU Pro-Chancellor and Board of Governors Chairman Tan Sri Koh Tsu Koon. To the joyful singing of ‘Happy Birthday’ by WOU Sdn Bhd Chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap and the crowd, Dr Koh had the pleasure of cutting his birthday cake.

Dr Koh (centre) cuts his birthday cake as Dato' Seri Stephen Yeap (2nd from left) and others share in his joy.

Dr Koh (centre) cuts his birthday cake as Dato' Seri Stephen Yeap (2nd from left) and others share in his joy.

Dr Koh and Dato’ Seri Stephen officially launched the Family Day by releasing confetti, further adding to the air of festivity.  They mingled with staff, taking the opportunity to get acquainted with families, including little babies. Everyone helped themselves to a hearty breakfast of nasi lemak, tosai, roti canai, karipap, mee goreng mamak and an assortment of kuih.

Releasing confetti to mark the launch of the event.

Releasing confetti to mark the launch of the event.

The Family Day this year was themed ‘ala ala kampung’; however many preferred to come in casual attire rather than don traditional outfits, except for a few spotted  with the sarong slung as a sash for a touch of tradition.

The various group games would have taken many of the older folks down memory lane as they were reminiscent of the good old days when play was more oriented to nature and the outdoors. For example, there was the gunny sack run, teng-teng jump (hopscotch), and the knockdown can tower in which contestants knocked down aluminium cans with a rolled-up ball.

Doing the hopscotch.

Doing the hopscotch.

They also played ‘tuju’ marbles in which they had to hit the marbles out from a drawn circle on the gravel, while ‘sepak raga’ required them to form a circle and pass around the rattan ball. Another game involved competitors walking on coconut shells cut in half while holding on to a threaded string. Dr Koh was on hand to present hampers to the three top groups.

The marbles game.

The marbles game.

The children’s colouring contest saw 10-year-old Leandra Anne beating about 20 others to win first prize. For her triumph, she received an educational stationery set from WOU Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye.

Lunch was another feast, with nasi kandar served with dishes of fried chicken, boiled egg, and cucumber-pineapple salad, laksa, cendol and ais kacang. The thundering rain just before noon did not dampen the people’s excitement as they mingled and waited for the announcement of the top lucky draw prizes.

Adorable...Dr Koh cuddles 8-month-old Carl Lim, the son of Angelynne Soh of Wawasan Open University.

Adorable...Dr Koh cuddles 8-month-old Carl Lim, the son of Angelynne Soh of Wawasan Open University.

Over 150 people attended the Family Day, including members of WOU Board of Governors, Tan Sri Dr Chin Fook Weng and Ooi Teng Chew, and DISTED President Dr Seah Soo Aun.

Preparing for Future Education

WOU must become more open and innovative if it wants to cater to future education needs and confront the impact of technology on future careers

This was expressed by Registrar cum Director of Quality Assurance and External Relations, Dr Andy Liew Teik Kooi, in his talk on ‘Making Education more Open and Innovative’ at the in-house seminar themed ‘The Future of Learning: Learning from Others’ at the main campus today. He based his presentation on the practices and feedback of participants of a recent international conference. 

Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon (right), the University's Pro-Chancellor and Board of Governors Chairman, chats with the speakers before the start of the seminar.

Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon (right), the University's Pro-Chancellor and Board of Governors Chairman, chats with the speakers before the start of the seminar.

Dr Liew elaborated on careers of the future, innovative approaches to make higher education more enticing, and capacity building. Among the 72 future careers were early childhood educator, teacher, accountant, personal web manager, big data analyst, and police officer. The careers of the future shed light on the type of courses and programmes to offer, he added, while data analytics will enable WOU to understand and customise the delivery of the learning support services based on the needs of individual students. 

“Future education will be student centred, a hybrid of online and in-person classes, be it through physical or virtual mode, and will allow people to accumulate credits at their own pace and time. WOU must keep these three pillars in mind for its learning activities,” he remarked.

Dr Liew talks about learning design.

Dr Liew talks about learning design.

He stressed the importance of having a proper learning design to create an excellent learning environment. “Learning design covers content design and development, implementation and delivery, and assessment,” he clarified, calling for improved learning support at WOU as learning design significantly affects student satisfaction, retention and success.

In highlighting the use of technology to innovate learning designs to make education more appealing, he mentioned digital uplift like mobile learning and social media, and creating a multimedia-rich learning environment like enhanced PowerPoint slides, podcasts, augmented reality, virtual reality, gamification (using game principles in education) and online assessment.

Dr Liew shares a video clip to explain virtual reality.

Dr Liew shares a video clip to explain virtual reality.

Dr Liew underscored the need for WOU to have continuous capacity building of academic and operations staff, and to enhance its learning design, learning analytics, social networked learning and assessment. “The vision of becoming open and innovative can only be realised if we are supported by adequate resources and funding,” he concluded.

WOU consultant Wong Hun Heng meanwhile shared lessons from the example of Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), located in the USA, which initially delivered only on-campus learning (OCL) but expanded into open distance learning (ODL). In the last 8 years, its ODL programme has grown very rapidly to about 90,000 students.

“They transformed the university by recognising that the primary competition is not so much the other online universities but non-consumption or untapped potential,” he said, posing the question of what WOU could do to attract the untapped potential.

Wong offers lessons from the success of Southern New Hampshire University in open distance learning.

Wong offers lessons from the success of Southern New Hampshire University in open distance learning.

Wong attributed SNHU’s success to “customer focus” and “technology and data analytics”. Research conducted by SNHU showed that adult learners want convenience, customer service, credentials, and speedy completion times. A key way they addressed ODL student needs was by employing personal student advisors who can respond fast to enquiries and proactively call students every week if needed. They also utilised data analytics techniques to identify and diagnose students’ problems faster. And they revamp their systems and processes regularly to ensure students are effectively and reliably served.

Dr Koh (standing) moderates the Q&A session. At the front (facing camera) are the speakers, Dr Liew (right) and Wong (left).

Dr Koh (standing) moderates the Q&A session. At the front (facing camera) are the speakers, Dr Liew (right) and Wong (left).

Some 50 people attended the seminar, including WOU Board of Governors Chairman Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon who acted as moderator, academics and the heads of departments.

Library and ETP grab top spots in inter department kayaking

Fifteen staff from WOU and DISTED College participated in the inaugural inter-department kayak competition organised by WOU’s General Services & Administration Department (GSA) at the campus seafront today.

Information Technology Services Manager (Application) Ch'ng Eng Hoo rows towards the starting point to join Indros T Roslan in the first round of the race.

Information Technology Services Manager (Application) Ch'ng Eng Hoo rows towards the starting point to join Indros T Roslan in the first round of the race.

All the participants deserve praise and congratulations for their steely effort and for braving the waters to paddle to the finish in this 100m race. A total of seven teams participated in the singles and five teams in the doubles kayak race.

Following a simple balloting to determine the sequence of rounds for the teams to compete, the race commenced with each team required to circle a flag at the mid-point and head back to the starting line.

Choy Paik Lin (Library) gets ready to do battle in the waters.

Choy Paik Lin (Library) gets ready to do battle in the waters.

Library Officer Choy Paik Lin beat the other paddlers to the clock, registering 2 min 21 sec, while second was Educational Technologist Assoc Prof Dr Ramesh Chander Sharma at 2 min 31 sec, and third Welson Ng from DISTED at 2 min 36 sec in the singles kayak race.

Assistant GSA Manager for Facilities and Maintenance, Indros T Roslan, had initially tied with Welson at 2 min 36 sec, and so both of them went neck to neck once more in the sea, with Welson just edging Indros out at the finish line.

Welson (in the red kayak) beats Indros at the finish line to emerge second runner-up in the singles race.

Welson (in the red kayak) beats Indros at the finish line to emerge second runner-up in the singles race.

The other placings for the singles kayak race were ITS Manager (Application) Ch’ng Eng Hoo (2min 40 sec) at fifth, Regional Operations/Marcom Director K H Chong (2 min 48 sec) sixth and School of Humanities & Social Sciences Administrative Executive K Ranjini (2 min 52 sec) taking the final spot.

As for the doubles race, Dr Ramesh’s pairing with Educational Technology & Publishing (ETP) Executive Ch’ng Lay Kee proved to be a winning combination. They emerged champions with 2 min 6 sec, the overall fastest time.

doubles pair from the Educational Technology & Publishing Unit (left) clocked 2 min 6 secs to emerge champion. The GSA team (right) came in third.

doubles pair from the Educational Technology & Publishing Unit (left) clocked 2 min 6 secs to emerge champion. The GSA team (right) came in third.

A close second with 2 min 9 sec was the team comprising of Library Assistants Ahmad Sharidwan Ahmad Nashruddin and Mohd Yusuf Hanafiah, while second runner-up was the GSA team of Indros and Assistant Officer Jegatheswary Tamilmany with 2 min 47 sec.

The participants of the kayak race pose with the supporters who cheered them on.

The participants of the kayak race pose with the supporters who cheered them on.

In the doubles kayak race, Marketing & Admissions Officer Sasikanth Mariappan (PGRC) teamed up with Customer Service Officer Sofia Atikah Baharuddin to come in fourth with 3 min 11 sec while last was the DISTED team with 3 min 52 sec.

Paik Lin credits regular exercise and fitness training for her triumph. She often goes for kayaking at the Penang Swimming Club, and also builds up stamina and strength through regular running, swimming, and gym exercise.

Singles kayak champion Choy Paik Lin rejoices with WOU's Human Resource Director Surrayya Shuib.

Singles kayak champion Choy Paik Lin rejoices with WOU's Human Resource Director Surrayya Shuib.

Dr Ramesh, who only started kayaking in March this year, attends the practice sessions on most Saturdays at WOU. Thrilled with his first runner-up in singles and champions trophy in doubles, he quipped, “We practised only twice for the doubles. Since I do not know swimming, kayaking is a good way for me to get into the water.”

Doubles Champion - Ch'ng Lay Kee (left) and Assoc Prof Dr Ramesh with their trophies.

Doubles Champion - Ch'ng Lay Kee (left) and Assoc Prof Dr Ramesh with their trophies.

The inter department kayak race was part of the monthly sports and recreational activities initiated by WOU’s Human Resource Department to promote exercise and active lifestyle among the staff.

Relay around the Penang main campus grounds

What better way for students and staff of WOU to release the stress of study and a long day of work than participating in a run around the main campus grounds, in the spirit of friendly competition.

The 4 x 400m relay in the main campus grounds.

The 4 x 400m relay in the main campus grounds.

Kudos to the On-Campus Learning (OCL) Student Council and their Advisor, Lecturer Kevin Tan Pooi Soo from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, for organising this 4 x 400m relay against the backdrop of the scenic campus today. Six teams participated, with four comprising the full-time students, mostly in their 20s, and the remaining two teams had the staff of WOU.  

The runners await the loud sound blast to start the race.

The runners await the loud sound blast to start the race.

Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye kicked off the race with the loud sound blast from a hailer. The runners started from the road just to the front of the Yeap Chor Ee statue that stands majestically outside the Homestead mansion. They had to circle the field, running past the fountain, Homestead, car park building and cafeteria, before heading back to the start to hand over the baton.

Assoc Prof Dr Balakrishnan from the School of Business & Administration seems to be floating on air.

Assoc Prof Dr Balakrishnan from the School of Business & Administration seems to be floating on air.

The staff participating, from the first to final runners, were Mohd Yusuf Hanafiah (Library), Xuenna Loh Sau Lai (PGRC), Assoc Prof Dr Balakrishnan Muniapan (SBA) and Assoc Prof Dr Ramesh Chander Sharma (ETP) in the team that came in fifth, while Kevin Tan, Ch’ng Lay Kee (ETP), Lim Peng Keat (SBA) and Choy Paik Lin (Library) took the last spot.

The winning teams (from right to left) for the gold, silver and bronze medals.

The winning teams (from right to left) for the gold, silver and bronze medals.

Youth and vitality seemed to have won over age and wisdom in this sporting and stamina challenge. The champions were the team represented by OCL Student Council president Pan Bo Zhong, 24, Grace Gan, 19, Mohd Sanim Mohd Saad, 20, and Tan Rong Kang, 21.

Prof Ho presents the bronze medals to the four students for 3rd placing.

Prof Ho presents the bronze medals to the four students for 3rd placing.

Prof Ho was on hand to present the gold, silver and bronze medals to the respective winning teams, and then posed for photos with all the runners. Kevin Tan thanked staff and students for their participation in this first run, and informed that the student body aims to make it an annual event.

Prof Ho and the runners pose in front of the Yeap Chor Ee statue at the main campus in Penang

Prof Ho and the runners pose in front of the Yeap Chor Ee statue at the main campus in Penang

WOU: Capitalising on seafront campus for kayaking

The kayaking activity at the WOU campus seafront, now restricted to staff and students of the University and DISTED College, may be open to the public in the future for wider usage.

This was expressed by WOU Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye when speaking at the official launch of the kayaking activity at the seafront today.

Prof Ho encourages the crowd to try kayaking.

Prof Ho encourages the crowd to try kayaking.

He said the University has created a subsidiary company, Essential Atlas, to take charge of the kayaking activity and make this activity safe for users. “Once a proper operating system is in place, then everyone can come anytime to enjoy the sporting facility.” He said they have to exercise caution as it involves public safety and insurance coverage, which comes with a cost.

He also gave the backdrop to how the idea of a kayak club and kayaking activities took root in the thinking of the WOU management. “We are one of the very few campuses in the country that is located so close to the sea. Our campus-by-the-sea is a selling factor as many students join WOU because they appreciate the ambience and environment. They feel very at home and relaxed studying here.”

A section of the crowd listening to Prof Ho expound on the benefits of kayaking.

A section of the crowd listening to Prof Ho expound on the benefits of kayaking.

Prof Ho added that the sport contributes to the co-curriculum activities of the University’s programme, and so encouraged the full-time students to take it up actively.

He also pointed out the many sporting advantages of kayaking, like building body muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness through regular paddling. He said paddlers however must always be mindful of their safety when kayaking out there in the sea.

He urged the crowd who had gathered for the launching ceremony, many of whom have not done kayaking, to start today and join the free kayaking sessions being offered after the launch, declaring, “Hopefully that will convert you into a long-term kayak user.”

Students of DISTED College signing up for free kayaking session.

Students of DISTED College signing up for free kayaking session.

Prof Ho also thanked the Yeap family, Yeap Leong Soon, who is a Director of the Wawasan Education Foundation, and Yeap Leong Gwan, for donating the eight kayaks and hoped to see greater usage of these facilities.

Accompanied by the iconic Hawaii Five-0 music soundtrack, Prof Ho and Ahmad Taiff Isahak, Director of Academic Support and Continuing Professional Development, DISTED College, performed the ribbon-cutting to officially launch the kayaking activity at WOU.

Prof Ho and Ahmad Taiff happily launch the kayaking event at WOU.

Prof Ho and Ahmad Taiff happily launch the kayaking event at WOU.

The launch was attended by staff and students of WOU and DISTED, plus students and teachers of the Methodist Boys School who were visiting WOU and hence took the opportunity to go kayaking that morning.

Ch'ng Lay Kee, a staff of Wawasan Open University, and guest venture out to sea in a kayak.

Ch'ng Lay Kee, a staff of Wawasan Open University, and guest venture out to sea in a kayak.

WOU hosts benchmarking visit from MEDIU

WOU provided a glimpse of its rigorous standard processes covering quality assurance, timetabling management, development of MOOCs and implementation of APEL (C) for credit transfer/course exemptions to the seven-member delegation from Al-Madinah International University (MEDIU) recently.

Prof Ho welcomes the delegation from Al-Madinah International University.

Prof Ho welcomes the delegation from Al-Madinah International University.

The visit to the WOU main campus today was led by Deputy CEO for Research and Development, Assoc Prof Dr Abdul Rahim Ismail, and comprised Assistant Prof Dr Bakare Kazeem Kayode, Dean of University Development and Quality; Assoc Prof Norhayati Ahmad, Head of Quality Assurance Unit (QAU) and two QAU staff; Jafar Batiha from Academic Administrative Department; and Syazwan Khalis from Examination and Record Department.

Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye,  Registrar cum Director of QA & External Relations Dr Andy Liew Teik Kooi and a few senior management staff met with the delegation to talk on specified areas of interest.

Prof Ho talks about the University's open distance learning model for its part-time students.

Prof Ho talks about the University's open distance learning model for its part-time students.

Prof Ho briefed them about the QA protocols in WOU’s new programme and course development, delivery, assessment as well as learning support services, adding that QA is infused into all its planning and operations.

He spoke about the QA roles of the internal and external stakeholders involved in programme development, and also of the course development team in the development of every single course of the university. He stated that beside the statutory external auditors, WOU also appoints another team of external professional auditors to audit its internal operations and financial transactions on a regular basis.

On a different front, Prof Ho also informed the delegation that WOU is a leading advocate of OERs in Southeast Asia, and that all new courses are developed with OER in mind to enhance quality of the course materials, besides saving cost and time.

Dr Liew (facing camera, 2nd from right) elaborates on APEL (C).

Dr Liew (facing camera, 2nd from right) elaborates on APEL (C).

Dr Liew shared on the implementation of APEL (C) for credit transfer at WOU and mentioned the training provided by MQA on the submission of relevant documents and evidence. Senior Assistant Registrar Lim Swee Choo elaborated on issues related to teaching timetabling management.

The ensuing discussion further talked about WOU’s learner support services, tutorials and tutors, and digital bandwidth availability and stability for online delivery.

(From right) Dr Bakare, Norhayati and her two QAU staff, along with Jafar and Syazwan.

(From right) Dr Bakare, Norhayati and her two QAU staff, along with Jafar and Syazwan.

The delegation highlighted challenges confronting MEDIU, which has become a dual-mode institution this year to facilitate both full-time, on-campus learning and part-time, online learning. It has 500-600 online students, mostly international from 90 nationalities across Middle-East, Africa and Europe, and some 1,000 on-campus students, half of them locals. It has to manage different time zones for its proctored, computer-based exams at the selected examination centres while making sure the correct person takes the exam.

MEDIU has invested in facilities as it prepares to move from Shah Alam to Desa Petaling. Despite enjoying a dual-mode status, the PTPTN loan is only allowed for the online learning students. However one advantage seems to be that they can design new face-to-face programmes and courses, even though the new subjects have not been offered online.

Prof Ho (right) presents the University's coffee table book, depicting the Homestead building and the main campus, to Dr Abdul Rahim,

Prof Ho (right) presents the University's coffee table book, depicting the Homestead building and the main campus, to Dr Abdul Rahim,

The meeting concluded with a suggestion of signing a MoU to facilitate areas of collaboration between both institutions.