(18-19 March 2007)
Three key members of the Athabasca Open University (AU), Canade, paid a visit to Wawasan Open University (WOU) to look into developing research and academic collaborations.
The AU group consisted of its President Dr Frits Pannekoek, Associate Vice President in Research Dr Rory McGeal, and School of Business Prof Dr Fathi Elloumi.
The visit was part of AU’s operation of reviewing its strategic external relationships, which included visits to several notable open universities in the Asia Pacific. It afforded a platform for WOU and AU to discuss possible collaborations in the near future.
During their two-day stay in Penang, the group was given a site tour of WOU’s main campus (currently under construction) at the Yeap Chor Ee Homestead mansion along Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, by WOU Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof Wong Tat Meng.
Dr Pannekoek, who has a deep interest in the restoration works of heritage buildings, wasimpressed with the restoration taking place at the Homestead.
On the second day, the AU team met up formally with WOU’s Vice Chancellor and CEO, Dato’ Emeritus Prof Gajaraj Dhanarajan, Prof Wong, and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Operations), Dr Seah Soo Aun. It was then followed by a discussion with the university deans and senior academicians.
Both parties exchanged ideas on the models of delivery in an open distance learning environment and the technology used. They also talked on the possibility of bringing in course materials developed by AU and having collaborations in the delivery of postgraduate programmes and conducting of joint research projects.
AU is Canada’s largest University specialising in online and distance learning. It is a publicly-funded institution based in Alberta, with its main centre situated in Athabasca, 150km north of Edmonton. AU has served more than 260,000 students since it was created by the Alberta government in 1970.