WOU 'strikes gold' at international conference

(October 28 - 31, 2014)

Wawasan Open University won a top prize at the 28th Annual Conference of the Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU) hosted by The Open University of Hong Kong (OUHK).

Karen receiving her gold medal at the AAOU conference.

Karen receiving her gold medal at the AAOU conference.

WOU’s School of Science and Technology (SST) senior lecturer Karen Khor Ean Teng received the gold medal under the Young Innovator Award category for her paper on ‘Virtual Collaborative Learning Using Wiki for Adult ODL Learners: The case of Wawasan Open University’. Her paper was for the sub-theme of ‘Research and Innovative ODL Practices in Student Learning Support’. Out of more than 300 submissions, the Conference accepted only 107 full papers for presentation.

The aim of her research paper was to evaluate the effectiveness of Moodle-Wikis for virtual collaborative learning, in which students’ perceptions and their performance was measured. According to Karen, “The findings of this research indicated that Wiki can be used as an additional learning tool to support adult ODL learners for effective learning.”

Karen had won silver in the same award category at the AAOU Annual Conference last year for her research paper on “Student Perceptions of using SCORM-Compliant Learning Object (SCLO) for Learning in ODL Environment’.

On her recent win, she said, “This triumph not only recognises my work but it also enhances the image of the university. The international recognition enhances the university's leadership positions in the global arena and reaffirms the quality of WOU's ODL programmes. I hope to keep the WOU flag flying high.” Quoting Dan Gable, a retired American Olympic wrestler, she added, "Gold medals aren't really made of gold. They're made of sweat, determination, and a hard-to-find alloy called guts."

Prof Ho & Dr Andy attend the AAOU Executive Committee meeting at OUHK.

Prof Ho & Dr Andy attend the AAOU Executive Committee meeting at OUHK.

The six-member WOU delegation, including Karen, to the OUHK were led by Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye. The others were QA & External Relations Director Dr Andy Liew along with academics Dr Loo Choo Hong and Prakash Arumugam from the School of Business & Administration, and Dr Teoh Ping Chow and Vincent Chung Sheng Hung from SST. Prof Ho and Dr Andy Liew represented WOU as one of the committee members in the Executive Committee of AAOU.

Meanwhile Vincent’s paper titled “WOU mLearning: Widening the access to teaching and learning in ODL environment” was picked as one of the six Best Paper Award finalists at the conference.

More than 250 participants from some 15 countries across Asia attended the four-day AAOU Annual Conference themed ‘Advancing Open and Distance Learning: Research and Practices’ in OUHK. Among the countries represented were Vietnam, Pakistan, Iran, Japan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, China, Korea, Philippines, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, Taiwan and Malaysia. The event was officially opened by Acting Financial Secretary of Hong Kong SAR, Prof K C Chan.

WOU Board of Governors Chairman Tan Sri Emeritus Prof Gajaraj Dhanarajan was invited by the host institution to deliver the valedictorian speech.