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.

Students hold campaign to encourage blood donation

Some 50 people turned up for the Blood Donation Campaign organised by a group of part-time open distance learning (ODL) students with the support of the Penang Hospital in the main campus today.

A student showing support to the campaign.

A student showing support to the campaign.

The campaign themed ‘Be A Hero, Be A Donor’ was conducted by ten students from Years 2 and Year 3 who are pursuing the MPU3412/02 Co-Curriculum course in the July semester. The project leader was Lim Shu Fan, a Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Management student from Bukit Mertajam, Penang, currently in her fourth semester.

The majority who participated in the blood donation drive were part-time ODL students, while a few WOU staff also showed up to donate. Out of the total participants, about 20 managed to successfully donate blood and among them were Marcom & Regional Operations Director K H Chong.

The campaign ran smoothly although the targeted number of donors was not met as some did not qualify for various reasons.

A Penang Hospital team member looks on as Chong donates blood.

A Penang Hospital team member looks on as Chong donates blood.

According to Lim, the project leader, the purpose of the project was to contribute towards society and help save lives by fulfilling the hospital’s need for required blood groups due to increasing demand. She said that the Hospital has indicated that they require around 4,000 units of blood every month.

Lim declared that this campaign was a good platform for university students to contribute to society by helping to stock up the hospital’s blood bank. “We also want to create awareness on the importance of blood donation among students and society in general. We want to cultivate a culture of donating blood among the younger generation, of getting them to involve actively in saving other people’s lives by becoming regular blood donors,” she added.

The ODL students from the organising committee interact with donors.

The ODL students from the organising committee interact with donors.

About 10 staff from the Penang Hospital blood bank and two from the organ donation department conducted the campaign at WOU.

The tutor for the Co-Curriculum course is Ruzanna Abdul Shukor while the course coordinator is WOU Lecturer Cheah Seeh Lee from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

WOU seeks academic partnership with LUAS

WOU welcomed a four-member delegation from Lubeck University of Applied Sciences (LUAS), Germany to the main campus today. The aim was to explore potential collaboration in the offering of international online Master’s degree programmes.

The delegation was led by Prof Rolf Granow, Academic Director of the Institute for Digital Learning (IDL), LUAS.  The others were Prof Juergen Klein, Director of the Institute for Entrepreneurship and Business Development; Kristin Bleyder, Coordinator for international online degree programmes; and Linda Wulff, Coordinator for online study programmes for refugees and for international and continuing education online degree programmes.

The visitors (from right): Prof Granow, Prof Klein, Wulff and Bleyder.

The visitors (from right): Prof Granow, Prof Klein, Wulff and Bleyder.

The IDL is looking for a new academic partner in Malaysia to extend the global network of LUAS and to work jointly on curricula and modules to deliver the planned international online Master’s degree programme on ‘Production Engineering and Management’, stated Prof Granow.

The visitors held a meeting with WOU top management, including Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) Prof Madhulika Kaushik, Chief Operating Officer Yeong Sik Kheong, and Deans of the Schools.

Discussion between WOU top management and the German delegation.

Discussion between WOU top management and the German delegation.

In his briefing, Prof Ho highlighted the University’s open distance learning (ODL) delivery system – which the visitors were interested in – and that nearly 19,000 students so far have experienced learning in an ODL environment with WOU. He also described the course development process, adding that it is WOU’s policy that all new courses should have a good mix of open educational resources (OERs).

He also informed that WOU has been approached and is currently in discussion with some 10 overseas ODL institutions in Asia and Africa on the use of WOU’s courseware and/or training.

Prof Ho briefs the visitors about Wawasan Open University.

Prof Ho briefs the visitors about Wawasan Open University.

Prof Madhulika spoke on WOU’s postgraduate programmes, namely the Commonwealth Executive MBA (CeMBA), MBA in Construction Management, MBA in Manufacturing and Production Management (MBA-MPM), Master of Education, and Master of Psychology (under development).

She said that WOU is transitioning to online mode from blended learning for the postgraduate programmes, beginning with the offering of a fully online CeMBA in the January 2017 intake.

Prof Madhulika shares about the postgraduates

Prof Madhulika shares about the postgraduates

Prof Granow presented an overview of the online academic programmes of LUAS and their global strategy, along with their Moodle system and Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform.

Dean of WOU’s School of Science & Technology, Assoc Prof Dr Wendy Bong Chin Wei, talked about the structure of the MBA-MPM programme. Senior Multimedia Technologist Marnisya Rahim from the Educational Technology & Publishing Unit explained and demonstrated WOU’s learning management system, WawasanLearn, to the visitors from LUAS.

According to Prof Granow, LUAS, together with a consortium of 12 affiliated universities in Germany and Switzerland, currently offer 8 Bachelor and Master’s online programmes. He said they plan to develop 100% online programmes, having developed their first online programme in 2001, where everything is conducted online except for the proctored exams.

Prof Granow mentions the achievements of his University.

Prof Granow mentions the achievements of his University.

Prof Granow commented that he was deeply impressed by WOU’s practice in online-learning, which from his point of view is unique. WOU pursued its digital strategy from the beginning, quite similar to what LUAS did from the start. Because of this common ground he found the visit and detailed discussion with WOU to be a fruitful one. He is optimistic that there could be other fields as well for cooperation and collaboration between the two institutions in the future.

WOU holds inaugural Career Fair

(October 8-9, 2016)

The inaugural WOU Career Fair 2016 organised at the main campus over the weekend to provide career guidance got off to a good start. More than 50 full-time on-campus learning (OCL) and a few part-time open distance learning (ODL) students came to listen to invited industry speakers on the first day.

Students listen to Few's presentation on the Accounting profession.

Students listen to Few's presentation on the Accounting profession.

The talks on “Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) and the Profession” by Few Say Ling, Assistant Manager, Northern Regional Office, MIA, and on “Opportunities with CPA Australia” by Edwin Wong, Relationship Manager-Education from CPA Australia, Kuala Lumpur, were especially pertinent for WOU’s Accounting students. The OCL and ODL students pursuing Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Accounting were briefed on the career path they need to take to be fully certified accountants.

Few highlighted that the MIA was established under the Accountants Act 1967 and operates under the purview of the Ministry of Finance. She elaborated about what it means to be a professional accountant, as stipulated by law.

Wong talks about CPA Australia and the opportunities available.

Wong talks about CPA Australia and the opportunities available.

Wong presented a very interactive session in which he offered insights on what the students should be looking forward to once they complete their degree. He told them how they should groom and develop themselves while they are still in University, and also the opportunities available at CPA Australia for undergraduates. CPA Australia is one of the largest accounting bodies in the world.

Miguel Chong, Corporate Account Manager of JobStreet, Penang, shared the statistics gathered from JobStreet surveys on employees and employers, as well as industry and salary survey results. He talked at length on what students need to consider when preparing their resume and the kind of questions they may face in job interviews, while offering a few interview tips in the process.

Chong offers pointers on how to write resume and prepare for job interviews.

Chong offers pointers on how to write resume and prepare for job interviews.

Among those who attended were Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) Prof Madhulika Kaushik and Registrar Dr Andy Liew Teik Kooi. The event organising chairman Kevin Tan Pooi Soo was on hand to present tokens of appreciation to the three guest speakers.

The two-day career fair held from 9am t0 5.30pm saw the participation of eight exhibitors- ViTrox Corporation, Henry Butcher Malaysia, Plexus Manufacturing, Jabil Circuit, Sunflower Tutorial Services, SK iWealth, JobStreet and Agensi Pekerjaan Allstaff Outsourcing Sdn Bhd.

An exhibitor entertains queries from the students.

An exhibitor entertains queries from the students.

WOU promotes safety, security and health

Staff and students were reminded to adopt good eating habits and exercise regularly during the safety, security and health campaign organised by WOU’s Safety & Security Committee (SSC) in the main campus today.

The crowd at the talk.

The crowd at the talk.

In her talk on “Healthy Eating and Active Living”, Senior Clinical Dietitian from Loh Guan Lye Specialists Centre, Wendy Yeow Kim Sian, shared some staggering figures. “Worldwide obesity has more than doubled since 1980. In 2014, more than 1.9 billion adults, 18 years and older, were overweight. Over 600 million were obese. And 42 million children under age 5 were overweight or obese in 2013.”

She said a body mass index (BMI) - weight in kilograms over height in m2 - of less than 18.5 is underweight, with 18.5-24.9 normal, 25.0-29.9 overweight, and over 30.0 obese. She highlighted that almost 50% population in Malaysia are overweight or obese, and that the waist circumference for Malaysian males should be less than 90 cm/36 inches and females less than 80 cm/32 inches.

Yeow presents alarming statistics on the status of overweight and obese in Malaysia.

Yeow presents alarming statistics on the status of overweight and obese in Malaysia.

She showed the differences in calories from various types of rice and cooking methods. “Choose low fat, low sugar and high fibre options,” stressed Yeow. For a balanced diet, she encouraged a half plate portion of vegetables, quarter plate proteins and quarter plate grains.  She advised to read labels of cooking oils to know which cooking method it is suitable for and to know the composition of saturated fats.  

She remarked that exercise, in addition to diet control, is important for weight loss. “For normal weight loss, you need 200 minutes of exercise. I usually suggest 60 minutes exercise 3 times a week or 30 minutes 6 days a week. For healthy people, you need 30 minutes exercise, 2-3 times a week, for health maintenance. Also, have plain water after exercise.”

Advocating healthy eating and regular exercise.

Advocating healthy eating and regular exercise.

Muhamad Nor Hikshan Sam, Factories & Machinery Inspector, Department of Occupational Safety & Health (DOSH), spoke on ‘Ergonomic Safety’, which is about “designing the job to fit the worker” to prevent injury or illness, and make the job easier and more pleasant by reducing physical and mental stress.

He said musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) can result from the overuse and misuse of muscles, tendons and nerves, e.g. carpal tunnel syndrome. The ergonomic physical risk factors for office-related MSDs are repetition, awkward position or posture, and excessive pressure or forceful exertions, while the environmental risk factors are extreme temperature, noise and lighting, he added.

Muhamad Nor Hikshan elaborates on ergonomics.

Muhamad Nor Hikshan elaborates on ergonomics.

Bristol Technologies Sdn Bhd northern region head Chris Chew shared on “Workstation Usage & Safety”.

Earlier SSC Chairman Yeong Sik Kheong, in his welcoming speech to some 70 attendees, said that the annual campaign serves to draw focus on safety, security and health issues.

Yeong applauds the steps taken to keep the campus safe.

Yeong applauds the steps taken to keep the campus safe.

Eight exhibitors had set up booths at the foyer to offer free basic health screening (Loh Guan Lye), promote ‘recycle, reuse and reduce’ (WOU’s full-time students) and to create awareness on road safety, dengue/zika, smoking, cancer and natural farming.

Showing support for a smoke-free environment, as promoted by the State Health Department.

Showing support for a smoke-free environment, as promoted by the State Health Department.