WOU Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye shared his thoughts on the latest trends and best practices in open distance learning (ODL) during the two-day 17th Malaysian Education Summit in Bandar Sunway, Selangor.
Prof Ho was one of the panelists for the session on “ODL – Expanding the Classroom” on the second day of the education summit themed “Moving Towards A World-Class Education System”.
He shared his observations on discerning trends in higher education in a world that is undergoing rapid globalisation. He drew reference to the iron triangle of higher education and the salient differences between ODL and conventional modes of teaching and learning.
Prof Ho mentioned that literacy in the 21st century holds a different meaning as a result of rapid IT advancement, proliferation of computers and ubiquitous access to the Internet by people of all ages. In fact Web 2.0 offers instructors and learners with rich opportunities for learning and re-learning. It has often been said that in our digital world today, knowledge exists in the world rather than in the head of an individual. The challenge for instructors is how to stay ahead of their students and engage them constantly in their studies.
He stressed that ”our education system must focus on grooming students to the extent that they are able to find and validate information, able to synthesise info and leverage on it, able to communicate and collaborate, and also able to solve problems.”
“Educators are now talking about a ‘flipped’ classroom approach to teaching in which instructions are delivered online outside of class and ‘homework’ is brought into the classroom instead. The role of the teacher is not to be the ‘sage in a box’ but rather a ‘guide on the side’. Schools as we know them traditionally may become a thing of the past one day,” he added.
The other two panelists for the session on ODL were Prof Dr Latifah Abdol Latif, Dean, Faculty of Science & Technology and Director, Open University Malaysia, Shah Alam Learning Centre; and Assoc Prof Dr Shukri Sulaiman, Deputy Dean, Production & Support System, School of Distance Education, Universiti Sains Malaysia.
The education summit held at the Sunway Pyramid Convention Centre was organised by the Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute (ASLI). The event was declared open by the Second Minister of Education and Higher Learning, Dato’ Seri Idris Jusoh.
The Summit was attended by some 200 participants, including representatives from the overseas universities operating in Malaysia and international schools.