WOU is setting out an agenda to promote a research culture among the academics in order to address any shortcomings in the area of research and publications.
During a half-day workshop on the “WOU Research Agenda” at the main campus, Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Wong Tat Meng led in the discussion to propose activities that can help move the University forward in research.
A ‘brown bag’ session was suggested, with everyone in agreement to either have a 20 – 30 minute formal talk or informal discussions every Thursday fortnight during lunch break, where participants can eat while they listen.
The idea is to invite speakers from among the senior academic staff as well as experts from outside to provide a refresher course on research methodology, qualitative techniques and other useful tools.
Another proposal to be implemented is a ‘WOU staff student seminar’. Prof Wong said this can be arranged in the late afternoons on a voluntary basis for those in the final semester of their Master’s programme.
And effective January 2010, any academic staff who is supported by WOU to attend a conference should first give an internal presentation to the other academics.
“The advantage is that they can get input from the others while the university gets some assurance that certain quality standards are met,” remarked Prof Wong.
Other proposals for the WOU research agenda were a common discussion forum in the staff portal for academics to update each other on the research they are doing, and to incorporate seminar bookings and virtual posters as well.
Earlier in this talk, Prof Wong said that WOU’s research strength obviously lies in open distance learning (ODL), adding that the University will provide some funding for research in 2010.
“Get into the habit of getting into research and get them published in journals,” he told the academics, pointing out that they can generate collaboration and interest from others once their work is presented at conferences or published.
Meanwhile former Vice Chancellor Tan Sri Emeritus Prof Gajaraj Dhanarjan, now the honorary director of WOU’s Institute of Research and Innovation (IRI), shared about the ‘Centre for the Study of Innovations in Teaching and Learning” which aims to track application of learning technologies (LT) in Asia and provide training in LT applications.
Among the Centre’s activities for 2010 are to explore the use of open education resources in selected Southeast Asian countries, and a two-year study of OER applications in Asia.
About 30 academic staff attended the workshop which also saw the different academic unit heads outlining project areas in which they can offer coordination and leadership.