WOU triumphs at Annual AAOU Conference

(November 30-December 2, 2015)

WOU grabbed two silver medals at the three-day 29th Annual Conference of the Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU) held in Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre.

Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye led a 12-member team to the conference themed ‘New Frontiers in Open and Distance Learning (ODL)’.  The delegation included Deputy Vice Chancellors Prof Madhulika Kaushik and Prof Mohandas Menon, QA and External Relations Director Dr Andy Liew, and senior academics of the University

Prof Ho and the WOU delegation pose with OUM Vice Chancellor.

Prof Ho and the WOU delegation pose with OUM Vice Chancellor.

As one of the four invited guest panelists at the 2015 AAOU Conference Panel Discussion, Prof Ho shared his views on “The Way Forward in ODL”, focusing on the situation in Malaysia, highlighting the current trends, enabling environment and future challenges.

Over 200 participants from some 20 countries across Asia attended the conference. Among them were Brunei, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Nepal, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Iran, South Korea, Japan, China and Hong Kong.

School of Education, Languages and Communications Senior Lecturer Dr S Vighnarajah received the silver medal under the Best Paper Award category from OUM Chancellor Tun Jeanne Abdullah for his presentation titled ‘Profiling Information Seeking Behaviour of Distance Learning Students in WOU’.

Dr Vighnarajah receiving his silver medal from Tun Jeanne Abdullah.

Dr Vighnarajah receiving his silver medal from Tun Jeanne Abdullah.

The study examined how WOU students engaged in information seeking for learning and research, with the findings helping to shed light on improving students’ information search behaviour and the effective utilisation of information. It was a joint effort by Dr Vighnarajah and colleagues Farzanah Ali Hassan, Norhasni Abdul Aziz and Ooi Siew Lee from the Learning and Library Services Department.

Dr Vighnarajah declared, “The Library has the potential to facilitate an effective learning experience, especially in distance learning institutions. I am privileged to have had the opportunity to do my part to amplify the important role the Library plays in WOU.”

Meanwhile Library Manager Chew Bee Leng won silver for the Best Practice Award for her paper on “Open Access Repositories on Open Educational Resources: Feasibility of Adopting the Japanese Model for Academic Libraries".

Chew receives silver for Best Practice Award.

Chew receives silver for Best Practice Award.

The research project looked into using an Asian built open source software outside Japan, called WEKO, to build two web-based repositories on open educational resources and this has proven to be equally good as other commonly used repository software. Chew undertook the research with Director of Learning & Library Services Kamsiah Mohd Ali and ITS Manager (Application) Ch’ng Eng Hoo.

“Our success in using WEKO has spurred us on to greater efforts in the future. We intend to share our knowledge with other information providers interested in developing their own institutional repositories using WEKO,” said Chew.

The next 30th AAOU Conference will be hosted by University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) in Metro Manila on 26-29 October 2016.