WOU assists visually-impaired students in Malaysia

WOU has entered into a formal collaboration with St Nicholas Home (SNH) Penang to help the blind and visually-impaired (BVI) school students throughout Malaysia to have access to learning resources and to pursue higher academic qualifications.

 Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon (standing, centre) witnesses the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement.

Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon (standing, centre) witnesses the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement.

In line with its corporate social responsibility (CSR), the University inked a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with the Home during a simple ceremony held at the main campus today. The document was signed by WOU Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas and St Nicholas Home Chairman Rt Rev Dato’ Dr Charles Samuel with witnesses, WOU’s Educational Technology & Publishing (ETP) Director Grace Lau and the Home’s Executive Director, Daniel Soon Aik Bin.

WOU’s Board of Governors Chairman Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon was the special guest on hand to witness the proceedings. Others present included Dato’ Dr Sharom Ahmat and fellow members of the Board of Directors as well as instructors from the Home and WOU management staff.

 

 Prof Zoraini and Rt Rev Dr Charles exchange documents as Grace Lau (right) and Daniel Soon (left) look on.

Prof Zoraini and Rt Rev Dr Charles exchange documents as Grace Lau (right) and Daniel Soon (left) look on.

The MoA seeks to formalise the development and deployment of a Moodle-based learning management system (LMS) for the Home by the University. Under the agreement, WOU will provide LMS hosting services and technology support at minimal fees.  With the technology support, the Home will be able to use the LMS effectively and efficiently to enhance the students’ learning.

In her speech, Prof Zoraini elaborated, “This will enable the teachers of the Home to share their learning resources with the visually-impaired primary and secondary school students throughout Malaysia. This will also give an opportunity for the visually-impaired learners to enhance their knowledge and skills in attaining higher academic qualifications.”

 Prof Zoraini delivers her speech.

Prof Zoraini delivers her speech.

She stated that the LMS backbone uses an open source platform called Moodle that assists learners to “participate in online threaded discussions with their peers, tutors and course coordinators.  The LMS also facilitates administration of courses, documentation, as well as tracking and reporting of learner behaviours.”

Meanwhile Rt Rev Charles recorded his appreciation in collaborating with WOU and acquiring its support to make educational resources available for the blind and visually impaired people of Malaysia that would otherwise be inaccessible to them. “For nearly 100 years, it has been the mission of St Nicholas Home to provide education, training and employment opportunities to the visually impaired people so that they may be empowered to fully participate and contribute to society,” he stressed.

 Rt Rev Dr Charles Samuel thankful for the collaboration with WOU to support the learning of the blind and visually-impaired.

Rt Rev Dr Charles Samuel thankful for the collaboration with WOU to support the learning of the blind and visually-impaired.

He continued, “Web accessible e-learning allows blind and visually-impaired students efficient and timely access to educational materials that would help them cope with their studies. Web accessible e-learning would be available to everyone no matter their degree of disability as long as they have Internet connection and computer equipped with the necessary accessibility tools.”

“With WOU coming on board as our project technical partner, we are confident that we would be able to achieve the goals we have set to make accessible and equitable education a reality for the blind and visually impaired students so that they can compete on a level playing field with their sighted peers, “ Rt Rev Charles declared.

 

 St Nicholas Home instructor Gomathi Subramaniam demonstrates how the visually-impaired learners can access the learning management system.

St Nicholas Home instructor Gomathi Subramaniam demonstrates how the visually-impaired learners can access the learning management system.

WOU extends faithful support to Relay for Life Penang

WOU offered support as a silver sponsor for Relay for Life Penang 2018 and also participated in the customary walkabout in a show of solidarity and to raise awareness to the plight on cancer.

 Corporate Communications Manager Rasidah Mion receives the Certificate of Appreciation for the University’s sponsorship from the Penang Chief Minister.

Corporate Communications Manager Rasidah Mion receives the Certificate of Appreciation for the University’s sponsorship from the Penang Chief Minister.

A team of 30, comprising staff and family members along with the students holding the University banner, braved the rain while a few held umbrellas as they walked the track at the Athletics Stadium, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), today.

 The University’s students, staff along with family members brave the rain for the walkabout.

The University’s students, staff along with family members brave the rain for the walkabout.

The University has been a longtime, faithful supporter since 2007 of the Relay for Life which is organised by the National Cancer Society of Malaysia (NCSM) Penang branch and Penang Hospice Society. This year marks the 14th edition of the event.

The statistics on cancer paints a grim picture of the scourge but there was some light shed at the end of tunnel that cancer need not be a “death penalty” during the official opening of the Relay.

 Dr Devaraj welcomes the participants to Relay for Life Penang.

Dr Devaraj welcomes the participants to Relay for Life Penang.

In his speech, NCSM Penang chairman Dato’ Seri Dr T Devaraj welcomed the survivors, a few of whom had come from as far away as Japan and Singapore. He reiterated that this annual event is to celebrate those who have survived cancer and to remember those who lost their lives to the disease.

In his call to the state government, he said he looked forward to better investigation of cancer cases and having access to better treatment for those afflicted. He stressed on early detection and early treatment in the battle against cancer.

 Part of the crowd at the opening ceremony.

Part of the crowd at the opening ceremony.

Meanwhile USM Deputy Vice Chancellor (Student Development Affairs & Alumni) Prof Dato’ Dr Adnan Hussein quoted WHO global statistics that there were 14.1 million new cases in 2012 and this is expected to rise to 24 million new cases in 2035, but highlighted that cancer is not a death penalty.

 “The risk of getting cancer according to the Malaysian National Cancer Registry is 1 in 10 among males and slightly higher in females at 1 in 9,” he said, adding that the 5 most common cancers in females are breast, colorectal, cervix, ovary and lungs.

 Dr Adnan offers some grim statistics on new cancer cases.

Dr Adnan offers some grim statistics on new cancer cases.

“Cancer is on the rise, leading to the fear that it is a death sentence,” he remarked, clarifying that one-third of cancers is curable if detected early and treated.

Prof Adnan stated that 30-50% of cases are currently preventable through measures like practising healthy living, not smoking, a balanced diet, limiting red meat and food intake, and exercising regularly.

 The Penang Chief Minister cuts the ribbon to kick off the walkabout.

The Penang Chief Minister cuts the ribbon to kick off the walkabout.

The Relay was officially opened by Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow who then proceeded to walk with the cancer survivors, before they were joined around the track by the corporate sponsors.

Addressing Penang's future water supply needs

The Ulu Muda Forest Reserve should be gazetted as a Northern Region Water Catchment Area to stop logging activities and sustain water supply to Penang, Kedah and Perlis.

 Registering for the talk on water supply sustainability.

Registering for the talk on water supply sustainability.

This was expressed by the Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) and PBA Holdings Bhd Chief Executive Officer Dato’ Jaseni Maidinsa in his public lecture on “Water Supply Sustainability for Penang” at the WOU main campus on October 2nd.  In a captivating two-hour lecture, Jaseni traced the historical, geographical, political and economic factors that contributed towards continuous, efficient, affordable and well-treated water supply to homes and industries in Penang.

 Jaseni shares on PBAPP’s accomplishments and the challenges ahead.

Jaseni shares on PBAPP’s accomplishments and the challenges ahead.

Ulu Muda covers 163, 103 hectares of rainforests and is the key water catchment for three northern states, providing 96% of the water supply in Kedah, 70% in Perlis, and more than 80% of the water supply in Penang. Hence, Jaseni called on the Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister to ban logging in Ulu Muda by gazetting the area as 100% water catchment and not 75% timber production as presently. “Logging in Ulu Muda threatens the lives and livelihoods of the 4.09 million people from Perlis, Kedah and Penang who generate an estimated RM115 billion in GDP contributions to the states.”

 Jaseni calls on the people in Penang not to waste but to appreciate and value the water they get.

Jaseni calls on the people in Penang not to waste but to appreciate and value the water they get.

He explained that Penang is the only state that experiences “no water rationing” and its guarantee of the cheapest, 24/7, 365 days of water supply has attracted frustrated industry players from other states and Singapore to move to Penang. “We have the highest water treatment reserve margin of 34.8%, as compared to the national average of 13.2%, to take care of peak demands, dry weather demand and non-reserve water (NRW) lost through leakage or theft.”

On the oft-repeated requests of Kedah to be compensated, Jaseni pointed out that it is the federal government that must compensate the Kedah state government for the water resource. “Penang is one of the most industrialised states and contributes a high GDP and income tax to the federal government, since the more economically-well states pay more to the federal coffers,” Jaseni reasoned.

 Dr Kam Suan Pheng (front row, seated left) of Penang Forum poses a question.

Dr Kam Suan Pheng (front row, seated left) of Penang Forum poses a question.

He also mentioned the challenge of high per capita domestic consumption in Penang which has increased by 8.2% from 1999 to 2017. “The projected water consumption for Penang is going to double from 826 million litres per day (MLD) in 2017 to 1884 million litres per day in 2050,” he warned. Among the steps taken by PBAPP are the water demand management surcharge to encourage people to use less water and the mandatory installation of water saving devices (WSDs) in all new buildings from 2017.

He said another challenge to Penang’s water supply is relying on only one primary raw water resource, Sungai Muda, with its quality and quantity threatened by logging in Ulu Muda. “Our problem is we are too reliant on Sungai Muda. If anything happens to Kedah, we are in trouble,” Jaseni remarked.

 Jaseni stresses on the need to make the water from Sungai Muda safe.

Jaseni stresses on the need to make the water from Sungai Muda safe.

He said one of PBAPP’s strategies is to identify an additional source of raw water, namely Sungai Perak.  He stated that Singapore’s strategy meanwhile is to spend on water recycling, rainfall harvesting and desalination which cost millions. “Penang’s water demand is projected to reach 1884 MLD by 2050.  More than 80% of Penang’s raw water is abstracted from Sungai Muda daily.”

He said projections indicate that Sungai Muda may reliably meet Kedah and Penang’s combined raw water needs only up to 2025, or earlier if threatened by logging and dry weather. He said the Sungai Perak Raw Water Transfer Scheme, if implemented by the federal government, can supply the raw water needs of North Perak and Penang until year 2050 since it can provide 1,300 million litres per day.

 Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas presents a token of appreciation to the speaker.

Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas presents a token of appreciation to the speaker.

More than 120 people attended, including representatives from local authorities, PBAPP, government agencies and NGOs. The talk was organised by the School of Humanities & Social Sciences and sponsored by WOU’s Institute for Research and Innovation (IRI).

 Prof David Ngo Chek Ling, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research & Outreach) and Chairman of IRI, introducing the speaker at the start of the event.

Prof David Ngo Chek Ling, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research & Outreach) and Chairman of IRI, introducing the speaker at the start of the event.

Thinking safety and health at WOU

Free basic health screening, free book giveaways and free herb plants were among the highlights at the half-day exhibition held at the main campus today in conjunction with WOU’s safety, security and health campaign.

 Checking out the free books being given away.

Checking out the free books being given away.

Nine exhibitors participated in this annual event. They were Loh Guan Lye Specialists Centre, General Services & Administration (GSA) Department, WOU Library, Essential Atlas, Road Safety Department, State Health Department, Northeast District Health Office, National Cancer Society of Malaysia Penang branch, and the Consumers Association of Penang.

 Safety helmets and vests for road safety.

Safety helmets and vests for road safety.

GSA staff gave out 100 bags of Oregano (Mountain Mint) and Misai Kucing (Cats Whiskers) on a first-come-first-serve basis while the Specialists Centre offered free basic health screening, including blood pressure measurement.  Many people signed up at the Essential Atlas booth to take up their offer of free kayaking sessions during the weekends.

 Herb plants courtesy of the General Services and Administration Department.

Herb plants courtesy of the General Services and Administration Department.

Hundreds of books, both fiction and non-fiction, disappeared quickly as staff and students grabbed books on various topics for their studies and for recreational reading.

This exhibition was the culmination of the safety, security and health campaign which had kicked off on September 19th with a briefing session for WOU’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) members. It served to refresh their knowledge and skills on proper ERT measures.

 Ooi Ching Hong of ITS gets his blood pressure measured as other University staff wait their turn.

Ooi Ching Hong of ITS gets his blood pressure measured as other University staff wait their turn.

WOU Safety and Security Committee chairman Andrew Joseph briefed them on the safety measures, namely the emergency escape plans for the Albukhary Building and Homestead, emergency assembly area and the various types of emergency. There was also a site familiarisation visit on the fire-fighting equipment system and the emergency exits.

The fire fighting system in place at WOU encompasses the fire extinguisher, hose reel, sprinkler system, fire break glass, fire alarm, smoke detector, fire rated door, fire intercom system and the fire hydrant.

 Signing up for free kayaking sessions.

Signing up for free kayaking sessions.

The Safety and Security Committee also conducted a university-wide fire drill on September 20th to test its evacuation plan, with the ERT members called upon to perform their role of escorting staff, students and tenants out, and doing the roll call.

Welcoming new full-time students in September

The introduction of three more full-time degree programmes and lowering barriers to admission with offer of grants and scholarships saw 82 students registering for full-time study at WOU during the September 2018 intake.

 Students attend orientation at the main campus.

Students attend orientation at the main campus.

The three new programmes are Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Psychology (BAPS), Bachelor of Management (Hons) with Psychology (BMPS), and Bachelor of Software Engineering (Hons) (BSEG), to make it a total of 9 programmes offered for September.

Four new students were awarded the 5th anniversary grant of 100% tuition fee waiver for their studies, while the rest received 50% rebate on their total tuition fees, all funded by the Wawasan Education Foundation (WEF).

The recipients of the WEF scholarship were Previnan Ravindran, who enrolled in Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Management, Haida Baharuddin and Siti Khadijah Azizan in BMPS, and Hariharan Daventhern in Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Logistics and Supply Chain Management (BBLC).

 Prof Zoraini Wati Abas delivers her opening speech.

Prof Zoraini Wati Abas delivers her opening speech.

The orientation for the new students was held at the WOU main campus today, during which they were welcomed by Penang Regional Centre director Ching Huey Ling and Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas.

 Yim leads the new students in oath-taking.

Yim leads the new students in oath-taking.

The oath-taking was led by Yim Zhen Xian, 20, who is pursuing his Bachelor of Technology (Hons) in Computer Systems and Networks (BTSN).

Among those present were Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research & Outreach) Prof David Ngo Chek Ling, Chief Operating Officer Yeong Sik Kheong, Registrar Dr Andy Liew Teik Kooi, and Deans/Deputy Deans of the four Schools.



Four students share their testimony

*Previnan Ravindran, 20, from Gelugor, Penang, enrolled in Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Management (BBMG), after having completed his STPM at Kolej Tingkatan Enam Haji Zainul Abidin.

“My counselling teacher told me about WOU when I went for advice and he mentioned a few institutions. When I did my own survey for comparison, going personally to a few of them, I found WOU to offer the most competitive cost, which I could afford.

“I chose BBMG because I love business and management.  I plan to pursue my MBA and this degree would serve as a good foundation for that. I want to become a manager of a big company, and if time allows, I want to develop my own business.  So I need some knowledge.”

oclorientsept18pix4.jpg


His father works as a security guard while his mother is a production operator in Bayan Lepas. He has a younger sister in Year Six.  

Previnan is thankful for the 100% scholarship given by WEF for his studies. “My family and I are really grateful. We thought, with WOU’s flexibility of paying by instalments, we could manage but we were not sure whether we could pay on time or throughout. So when I was told about the scholarship offer, I was very happy and will do my best to score a GPA of above 2.75 every semester to qualify.”

“With God’s grace, I want to thank everybody who helped me in getting this scholarship.  After my STPM, I had worked part-time for around 9 months at a medical appliance store, and saved enough for the first semester, and wasn’t too sure about  how I was going to manage my second semester. With this full scholarship, I can now just concentrate on my studies.”

*Siti Khadijah Azizan, 20, from Bukit Mertajam, enrolled in Bachelor of Management (Hons) with Psychology, after completing her STPM in Bukit Mertajam High School.

Her parents are traders selling nasi lemak at an evening market. She is the third of four children, with her elder sister married and an elder brother working at a factory in Prai, while a younger sibling is in Form Six.

oclorientsept18.pix5.jpg

“My school counsellor told me that WOU is offering full-time study. I checked and found it had a programme I am interested in, which is Management with Psychology. I love psychology, but I did not want to just take psychology since I also love management, so the BMPS suited me perfectly as it incorporates both fields. The University is also located not that far away.

“I was successful in my scholarship application, with the recommendation of my counsellor. I am really happy with the financial aid as I now don’t have to trouble my parents in paying my fees, especially since we are not that well off.

“My ambition is to become a counselling teacher in a school setting, or if not, in any management or private sector. I like to guide others in overcoming their problems and in other areas of their life. So I hope to learn psychology skills, including how to understand people and counsel them, how to listen, and so forth at WOU.”

*Solomon Lee Wei, 26, from Tanjung Tokong, enrolled in Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Psychology. He completed his A-levels in DISTED College, Penang.


oclorientsept18.pix6.jpg

 “My father told me about WOU, as he is a part-time MBA student here, with just his final year project left to complete.  He currently works as an electronics engineer, previously at Intel, and now at AMD in Texas.  My parents along with my two younger brothers moved to US last September.

“Through this programme, I hope to learn skills to enable me interact with people better so that I am able to gauge and understand their inner thoughts a bit more. It has been a criticism levelled at me from family members that I could be a bit blunt sometimes.

“I hope to become a psychologist or counsellor, as after completing my degree in WOU in three years, I plan to continue my studies in the US.

“I chose WOU since my father had said that the students not only can learn from the classes but also testified that the course mates are all very helpful. So I hope to gain as much knowledge as I can from the courses and my fellow students.”

*Ahmad Firdaus Abdullah, 23, from Ayer Itam, who has a slight hearing disability, enrolled in Bachelor of Management (Hons) with Psychology (BMPS). He completed his Diploma in Business at INTI International College, Penang


oclorientsept18.pix7.jpg

“I found out about WOU from my friends who are currently doing full-time study at WOU. I chose BMPS as I am interested in the subjects listed. I want to learn all about management.

“My ambition is to become a businessman. So that’s why I hope to learn a lot more about management and a bit of psychology at WOU.  Learning about psychology would help to make me more confident in speaking to people, and in my pronunciation.”

His father has his own business, a hair salon, while his mother is a homemaker.  He has an elder brother employed as an aircraft engineer and a younger brother studying hospitality management at a private college.

“I decided to register at WOU because of the 50% grant and also I like the soothing environment here. The sea along with the greenery relaxes me.”

As a toddler, Firdaus succumbed to a high fever which affected his hearing and pronunciation. “If I cannot hear or understand properly, I can check with the lecturer or ask my course mates. I can manage as I am able to hear more clearly when they speak to me face to face.”  

Exploring collaboration in English Language classes

The Thai delegation from Srithammaratsuksa School expressed interest in sending students and teachers for the Holiday English Camp in WOU, following a study visit to the main campus today..

 The delegation arriving at the main campus.

The delegation arriving at the main campus.

WOU hosted the visitors, comprising 39 teachers and four administrators, who wanted to learn about the Malaysian university system and curriculum.  The delegation was led by Saengjan Mitrakul, Director of the school, and Juthaporn Taokham, Assistant Director of Academic Affairs and Educational Quality Development of the school’s English Programme.

 The visitors pose with the University staff.

The visitors pose with the University staff.

They were briefed about WOU’s academic programmes, course delivery and learning support, particularly the University’s learning management system (LMS), WawasanLearn, by School of Education, Languages & Communications (SELC) lecturers Sean Ooi Li Hsien and Arathai Din Eak.

Ooi shared about the various programme disciplines, how tutorial classes are conducted, and the 24/7 digital access granted to students to the main library. He assured that all WOU programmes are recognised by the Malaysian Ministry of Education.

 Ooi shares about the University and its programmes.

Ooi shares about the University and its programmes.

Arathai meanwhile talked at length on the learning management system that keeps students connected to the University and their studies. She also highlighted the single course registration and the Holiday English Class, which piqued the interest of the delegation. She added that WOU, through the Centre for Professional Development & Continuing Education (PACE), had recently organised a 10-day English language workshop for Silpakorn University undergraduates.

She mentioned other training workshops conducted by SELC academics, namely English for Working Professionals, Innovative Pedagogy for Teachers, Research Methodology, and Effective Supervisor Training.

 Arathai explains about the University's learning management system.

Arathai explains about the University's learning management system.

Many questions were raised by the delegation, including on tutorials, assignment submissions and WOU’s graduation rate. To a query on students’ accessibility to the LMS, Ooi explained that this online platform is available throughout the semester until the final exam, and that they use data analytics to gauge which students had never logged in and consequently follow-up with calls.  

Juthaporn said the school would probably want to collaborate on the English classes and asked for details on the fees, duration, and such.  “How can we possibly work together as we need to improve the English of our teachers and our students? I can see you are flexible. We can plan together.” She aimed to tie up with WOU on the training of their students and Thai teachers in English next year.

 Juthaporn (2nd from right) expresses interest in the Holiday English classes.

Juthaporn (2nd from right) expresses interest in the Holiday English classes.

The delegation was further informed that WOU provides experiential learning field trips to destinations like the Batik Factory and heritage sites to expose them to the local culture, as part of the class.

In his closing remarks, Dean of SELC, Prof Santhiram Raman, said, “Our classes are very interactive. We can customise the courses according the needs of your institution, e.g. Teaching Pedagogies, ELT of Secondary School Teachers, etc.”

 Prof Santhiram delivers his closing remarks.

Prof Santhiram delivers his closing remarks.

Srithammaratsuksa School is a private Christian co-educational institution in Nakon Si Thammarat, Thailand, with 5,200 students from nursery to upper secondary (Grade 12).  

Promoting a love for Malaysia at Family Day

The WOU-DISTED Family Day 2018 saw over 200 staff, family members and guests along with the full-time students of both institutions lending support to make the event a lively and harmonious affair.

 Part of the crowd at the Family Day.

Part of the crowd at the Family Day.

The gathering at the WOU main campus today was aptly themed ‘Celebrating Diversity’ to reflect the multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural Malaysia. The theme was also in line with the national-level Merdeka Month launched recently by the Prime Minister and the call to fly the Jalur Gemilang. In fact, a few of the activities and performances at the event featured the Malaysian flag.

 (Seated from left)  Member of WOU Board of Governors (BoG), Tan Sri Dr Chin Fook Weng, former Vice Chancellor Dato' Dr Ho Sinn Chye, Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas, and BoG Chairman Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon.

(Seated from left)  Member of WOU Board of Governors (BoG), Tan Sri Dr Chin Fook Weng, former Vice Chancellor Dato' Dr Ho Sinn Chye, Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas, and BoG Chairman Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon.

The Family Day kicked off with a zumba session led by Penang Regional Centre (PGRC) marketing and admissions officer Robin Cheah Kai Yang. Among those spotted moving to the beat of the music was WOU’s Board of Governors Chairman Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon.

 The WOU staff belt out two patriotic songs.

The WOU staff belt out two patriotic songs.

A group of talented WOU staff then rendered two patriotic songs with much gusto as they waved the Jalur Gemilang. They sang ‘Setia’ and ‘Tanggal 31’, the latter a famous number by the late Sudirman Arshad.

 Robin Cheah (far right) and the full-time students give a thrilling diabolo performance.

Robin Cheah (far right) and the full-time students give a thrilling diabolo performance.

WOU’s full-time students were also actively involved. Five of them together with Robin Cheah (PGRC) entertained the crowd with their Chinese diabolo routine while Asswni Mariappan and Nerroshini Manoraj performed an Indian pop dance.

 Nerroshini (left) and Asswni strike an attractive pose as they dance.

Nerroshini (left) and Asswni strike an attractive pose as they dance.

Acting Vice Chancellor Prof Zoraini Wati Abas took to the stage to officially open the Family Day, after which the doubles kayak race commenced with a simple launch by Dr Koh.

 Dr Koh Tsu Koon launches the kayak race.

Dr Koh Tsu Koon launches the kayak race.

Eight teams participated in the kayak race stretching a total distance of about 150m. Team E’s dynamic duo of PGRC marketing and admissions officer Sasikanth Mariappan and library assistant Mohd Yusuf Hanafiah clocked 4 min 18 sec to emerge champions. Team B comprising senior administrative executive K Ranjini and lecturer Kevin Tan Pooi Soo from the School of Humanities & Social Sciences came in second at 4 min 33 sec. Third was Team C with Robin Cheah and WOU alumni Bobby Chan Yaou Hooi at a close 4 min 37 sec.

 Mohd Yusuf (left) and Sasikanth emerge as champions.

Mohd Yusuf (left) and Sasikanth emerge as champions.

The top 3 winners received shopping vouchers worth RM100, RM70 and RM50 respectively from former WOU Vice Chancellor Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye, while the other 5 remaining kayaking teams received a RM20 voucher consolation prize.

 Dato' Dr Ho (centre) with the participants of the kayak race.

Dato' Dr Ho (centre) with the participants of the kayak race.

Kids were meanwhile kept occupied throughout by a clown giving out balloons and a children’s colouring contest with over 20 of them participating. The first prize, a compendium of 15 games and crayons, was won by Shivani and the second, a 24-pieces oil pastel set and plastic box file, went to Nur Ayriss Myahana Amar. 

 Regional Operations and MARCOM Director K H Chong presents a lucky draw prize- an aluminium baseball stick torchlight - to his son.

Regional Operations and MARCOM Director K H Chong presents a lucky draw prize- an aluminium baseball stick torchlight - to his son.

The climax was the lucky draw prizes, with a total 135, including umbrellas, bath towels, torchlights, travel luggage organiser bags, foldable storage bags, vacuum flasks, car boot organisers, car vacuum cleaners, ice cooler boxes, hair dryers, photo frames and microwave plastic containers, up for grabs. The first prize, an air fryer, was won by School of Education, Languages & Communications lecturer Dr Por Fei Ping.

 Prof Zoraini presents the first prize, an air fryer, to Dr Por (right).

Prof Zoraini presents the first prize, an air fryer, to Dr Por (right).

Silpakorn undergrads learn English for communication

[16-27 July 2018]

Wawasan Open University (WOU), through the School of Education, Languages and Communications (SELC), conducted a 10-day English Language class at the main campus in Penang for 18 undergraduate students from Silpakorn University, Thailand, on request.

 The students holding up their certificates as they pose with the Silpakorn and WOU academics.

The students holding up their certificates as they pose with the Silpakorn and WOU academics.

The Thai educational technology students underwent a 50-hour hands-on workshop from July 16th to 27th to enhance their English language and communication skills for daily interaction and to improve their learning and presentations. The trainers were Dr Por Fei Ping, Dr Tan Saw Fen, Arathai Din Eak, Ong Cheng Teik and Ooi Li Hsien from SELC.

 The students watching the 'Jungle Book' movie for group assignment.

The students watching the 'Jungle Book' movie for group assignment.

The 10 interactive lessons covered the following topics: English for International Communication, English for Travelling, Practical English Usage, Common Errors in English Usage, Technologies for Practising English, English for Presentation, English for Effective Communication Skills, Getting Started with Academic Writing, Students’ Chosen Technologies for Practising English, and Business English. 

 Dr Tan offers pointers on writing up a job application.

Dr Tan offers pointers on writing up a job application.

The students worked individually as well as in groups and pairs and participated in class presentations and other collaborative activities. The purpose of the training was to greatly improve the participants’ ability and confidence in communicating in English in social situations and other settings.

When closing the training workshop, Dean of SELC, Prof Santhiram Raman, remarked, “You have come to the right place because technology is our main forte.  We are an open university and therefore we make use of technology to deliver our courses. You have come here to improve your English and to do so, ideally, you would need to spend 6 months with us. Because with languages, you can only improve if you practise what you have learnt; otherwise you will forget everything.”

 Prof Santhiram encourages the students to keep practising their English.

Prof Santhiram encourages the students to keep practising their English.

“Whatever you have learnt now, if you are shy to speak in English with others, attempt to speak in English among yourselves first. Make mistakes, laugh about it, and correct it! That is the best way to learn a language. Then you will build your confidence and your vocabulary,” Prof Santhiram suggested.

He also encouraged the students to take time to explore the food and culture of Penang, and take home happy memories of WOU. A Thai student representative, Budsababun Saengphloeng, spoke in English to thank WOU for the good learning experience and hospitality extended to them during the duration.

 Dr Anirut presents Prof Santhiram with a framed drawing of Lord Ganesha, the emblem of Silpakorn University.

Dr Anirut presents Prof Santhiram with a framed drawing of Lord Ganesha, the emblem of Silpakorn University.

All participants received a certificate at the end of the training from Prof Santhiram. Also present at the closing were Asst Prof Dr Anirut Satiman, Assistant to the President for Academic Affairs, and Asst Prof Dr Siwanit Autthawuttikul, from Silpakorn.

WOU shows support to wildlife conservation efforts

WOU recently co-hosted the ‘Wild Roads’ event in collaboration with Langur Project Penang (LPP), as part of its corporate social responsibility towards social and environmental causes.

The event held at the WOU main campus in Penang today commenced with an exhibition and a simple opening.

 Exhibition at the University to raise awareness and support to wildlife conservation.

Exhibition at the University to raise awareness and support to wildlife conservation.

In his remarks, WOU’s School of Business & Administration (SBA) Acting Dean Prakash V Arumugam lauded the collaboration since “LPP’s mission resonates well with the founding philosophy of this University”.

 “WOU was established to provide a second chance for those who did not get access to higher education. It is a chance at survival for human beings in the jungle out there. Human beings who have the senses to ask for help. Something voiceless creatures in the woods cannot do,” he said.

 Prakash highlights the need to protect the voiceless langurs.

Prakash highlights the need to protect the voiceless langurs.

“Human beings, sitting high up in the food chain, should act as protectors and not destroyers. The langurs are voiceless as their most important allies are also their greatest enemies; us humans. It is hoped that through the efforts of the LPP team, more people are aware of the plight of these ‘distant cousins’ of ours and more will come forward to help in their conservation,” Prakash continued.

LPP founder Joleen Yap meanwhile thanked WOU for sponsoring the venue for their third ‘Wild Roads’ event of the year. ‘Wild Roads’ is a nature education campaign under LPP with accompanying road shows, exhibitions and talks to highlight Penang’s dusky leaf monkeys/ dusky langurs and LPP’s efforts to promote primate conservation in Penang, including mitigating the impact of roads on wildlife crossing.

 Yap shares about Langur Project Penang and its work.

Yap shares about Langur Project Penang and its work.

She said LPP focuses on: highlighting the impact of habitat fragmentation and urban development on the ecology and behaviour of arboreal wildlife in Penang; utilising games, social media, videography and photography as educational tools to raise awareness; engaging local residents to be part of Wild Roads citizen science project; and stressing the importance of having canopy bridges to assist with arboreal wildlife crossing.

A talk by LPP field assistant Syuhada ensued where she shared on how to volunteer to be part of their road ecology citizen science programme.

 Students and staff watch the documentary at the University.

Students and staff watch the documentary at the University.

The climax was the screening of the 2017 short documentary titled ‘The Hills & The Sea’ and subsequent sharing by film maker Andrew Ng to raise environmental awareness. The documentary looks at the impact of large scale land reclamation for development projects upon the habitat, particularly the wildlife and the fishing community.

 Andrew Ng, the director of the documentary.

Andrew Ng, the director of the documentary.

LPP is an outreach research project initiated in 2016 on dusky langurs - which can be found in Penang Botanic Gardens and the Penang Hill - under the umbrella of Universiti Sains Malaysia, where Yap is a PhD (Zoology) student, and the Malaysian Primatological Society. LPP serves as a platform for environmental research and education for students and the local community.

 LPP project on habitat fragmentation and proper crossing for the langurs.

LPP project on habitat fragmentation and proper crossing for the langurs.

Retired teacher donates book collections to WOU Library

WOU added to its collection of printed reading materials in late July 2018 with the donation of 127 books and periodicals to the library by a well-wisher.

 Part of the book collections donated to WOU Library.

Part of the book collections donated to WOU Library.

The donor was retired teacher Leong Kok Hing, a graduate of Maktab Perguruan Temenggong Ibrahim and Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), and a close pal of WOU’s Board of Governors Chairman Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon. Leong boasts a career spanning some 25 years as a secondary school teacher in Malaysia and another 10 years as an education officer with the Ministry of Education, Brunei Darussalam.

Leong made the generous offer when Dr Koh went for the wake of Leong’s elder brother, Kok Kee, in mid-May.

 Dr Koh (2nd from left) and Dr S. Nagarajan looking through the books.

Dr Koh (2nd from left) and Dr S. Nagarajan looking through the books.

“I got to know Kok Hing in USM in the late 70s. then Kok Kee. Both brothers later became very active leaders of the Young Buddhists Association of Malaysia (YBAM), of which I have been one of the advisors for the past four decades. We have been keeping in touch since then,” he elaborated.

Dr Koh was on hand to witness the simple handing-over of the books and periodicals to the WOU library today, in the presence of School of Humanities & Social Sciences (SHSS) Dean Dr S Nagarajan and Learning & Library Services head Chew Bee Leng.

 Fascinated by a book on politics.

Fascinated by a book on politics.

“It seems to me that these books are quite relevant for our Mata Pelajaran Umum (MPU) and related courses offered by SHSS. They can also be good reference materials for research,” Dr Koh added.

The collections, comprising 93 book titles and 34 magazines, are mainly on nutrition and health as well as on Malaysian politics. There is, however, the memoirs of Lee Kuan Yew in relation to the Singapore story.

 Leong (left) hands over the books to Dr Nagarajan and Chew (right) witnessed by Dr Koh.

Leong (left) hands over the books to Dr Nagarajan and Chew (right) witnessed by Dr Koh.

Among the book titles are: ‘Lost in transition: Malaysia under Abdullah’ (Ooi Kee Beng, 2008); Old vs new politics in Malaysia: State and society in transition’ (Francis Loh Kok Wah, 2009); ‘Mad about Malaysia’ (Dean Johns, 2007); ‘May 13: Declassified documents on the Malaysian Riots of 1969’ (Kua Kia Soong, 2007); and ‘Mahathir vs Abdullah’ (Nathaniel Tan, 2007).

 Books and magazines on politics.

Books and magazines on politics.

Dr Nagarajan said the donated collection of books and journals “will be valuable reference materials for our students researching on Malaysian history and politics”.