(21-25 June 2010)
About 25 participants from higher educational institutions in Commonwealth countries across Asia attended a training workshop at the main campus on the use of EasyNow in open distance learning.
The workshop was a joint collaboration between the Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia (CEMCA) and Wawasan Open University. The participants comprised academics as well as IT and educational technology practitioners from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Malaysia.
An e-Learning professional and CEMCA consultant V. Krishna Moorthy carried out the training on EasyNow - an integrated suite of educational multimedia tools put together by CEMCA.
EasyNow is basically a select set of easily available open source software and ICT tools which can be readily learned and used by educators and content developers to produce quality, multimedia-rich open distance learning (ODL) learning materials for delivery over the Internet to students, including those from countries facing ICT bandwidth limitation problems.
During the five-day workshop, participants learnt how to optimise audio, video and textual content files for faster uploading even under conditions of slow internet connection and without much loss of quality. They also shared their experiences on the use of free, open source applications like Moodle, Wikieducator, Crazy Talk and Hot Potatoes. Crazy Talk for example allows a user to create animated talking heads to deliver audible contents. The user can snap and upload a digital photo of a person’s face, or use a cartoon face, to deliver a lecture online.
WOU coordinator for the workshop, Assistant Vice Chancellor (Academic Support) Prof Dato’ Ho Sinn Chye, said that the university is partnering with CEMCA for the first time in hosting such a workshop. He hopes that more of such joint multimedia-based workshops with CEMCA could be organised for the benefit of educators in the region from time to time.
She said the problem of lack of infrastructure, quality teachers or lack of funds in remote areas can be overcome through open and distance learning. She however urged WOU to help develop the ODL sector and build up the credibility of ODL universities in Asia so as to be on par with or superior to conventional education, similar to OUUK.
CEMCA is a regional agency of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), headquartered in Canada, and implements the COL’s mandate in the eight countries of Commonwealth Asia.