Honorary Degree for renowned economist and 688 graduates at WOU's 8th convocation ceremony

PENANG: Wawasan Open University (WOU) is set to roll out 688 graduates at the eighth convocation ceremony to be held at the main campus from November 23rd to 25th.

The ceremony will also witness the conferment of the Honorary Doctor of Letters degree upon leading economist Dr Jomo Kwame Sundaram, or better known as K S Jomo, from Penang for his contributions to the academic community and to social development within and outside Malaysia.

At the press conference today, WOU Sdn Bhd chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap highlighted Jomo’s leadership positions and the academic recognitions received to date during his professional career spanning over 40 years.

Jomo now holds the Tun Hussein Onn Chair in International Studies at the Institute of Strategic and International Studies, and is a Visiting Senior Fellow at Khazanah Research Institute, Visiting Fellow at the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, Columbia University, and an Adjunct Professor at the International Islamic University in Malaysia. He was Assistant Director General and Coordinator for Economic and Social Development, Food and Agriculture Organisation, United Nations, Rome from 2012 to 2015, and Assistant Secretary General for Economic Development, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, New York, from 2005 to 2012.

“He has authored and edited over a hundred books and translated 12 volumes besides writing many academic papers and media articles,” said Dato’ Seri Stephen, adding that Jomo is on the editorial boards of several learned journals.

Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Ho Sinn Chye stated that two WOU programmes will produce their first batch of graduates this year. They are the full-time Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Banking & Finance (BBBF) programme with four graduating students, and the part-time Bachelor of Technology (Hons) in Information Systems (BTIS) programme with five graduating students.

He said that out of the total 688 graduates, 40 will come from the full time, on-campus learning (OCL) undergraduate programmes. The remaining 648 comprise graduates from the part-time, open distance learning (ODL) programmes, of which 202 are from the postgraduate-level and 446 from the undergraduate-level.  Their ages range between 23 and 76 years, and they hold diverse occupations, including lecturer, engineer, project manager, teacher, technician and clerk.

Prof Ho announced that WOU will award the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Memorial Prize for best graduate from the ODL postgraduate programmes to Ms Grace Yeo Tang Peng from Johor Bahru. She is graduating with a Master of Education (MEd) degree. She was a practising lawyer for 14 years, but has since moved on and is now the owner of an online business.

The recipient of the Chancellor’s Gold Medal for top ODL graduate from the undergraduate programmes is Cheong Swee Kim of Ipoh, Perak. He works as a QA and Compliance Director in a medical device manufacturing MNC in Ipoh, and is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) degree in Psychology.

The winner of the Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik Memorial Gold Prize for top OCL graduate is Melody Lim Chii Wen, 23, from Balik Pulau, Penang, who shall receive her Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Management degree. She is already gainfully employed as a Financial Analyst at an MNC in Bayan Lepas.

According to Prof Ho, “The University has so far produced 2,409 graduates since our first convocation in 2010 until 2016, comprising 1,748 graduates from the undergraduate programmes and 661 from the postgraduate programmes.” He declared that the 688 graduates from this year’s convocation will bring the total to 3,097 graduates.

WOU-KinderJoy agreement for Learning Laboratory

IPOH: Wawasan Open University (WOU) today signed a memorandum of understanding with Kinderjoy Education Group (KinderJoy) to appoint KinderJoy as a learning laboratory for the teaching of WOU’s Diploma in Early Childhood Education (DECE) programme.

The MoU was signed by Prof. Dato’ Dr. Ho Sinn Chye, Vice Chancellor of WOU, and Ms. Stephanie Liu, Executive Director of KinderJoy. The witnesses were Prof. Santhiram Raman, Dean of WOU’s School of Education, Languages and Communications (SELC), and Ms Looi Lee Ying, Academic Director and Principal of Tadika KinderJoy.

The guest of honour for the signing ceremony held at the main campus of KinderJoy was En. Aznan Alias, Head of Special and Private Education Sector, Perak State Education Department.

In his speech, Prof Ho shared that WOU introduced the DECE programme via part-time, open distance learning (ODL) in January 2017 to provide professional upgrading opportunities for existing and would-be teachers working in childcare and preschool centres who do not possess diploma qualifications.

“This is in line with the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) ruling for all preschool teachers, both in government and private agencies, to have at least a diploma by 2020,” he stated, declaring that the DECE programme grooms and enhances the professional knowledge and skills of the teachers.

Prof Ho said that WOU has appointed five institutions in all of WOU’s five Regional Centres nationwide in Penang, Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru and Kuching as Learning Laboratories to support the teaching of the programme. He thanked KinderJoy for opening up their premises to WOU to be used as a learning laboratory, complete with simulation facilities, to train students of DECE.

The DECE programme is accredited by the Malaysian Qualifications Agency and approved by the MOE. It is a 90-credit programme, consisting of 29 courses that may be completed in 6 semesters over 3 years.

Prof Ho said the programme was developed by external experts in the field of early childhood education. The courses cover pedagogy, psychology, management and administration, curriculum planning, law and social policies, as well as entrepreneurship development.

“Upon completion, graduates will have the knowledge, skills and competencies to be employed in childcare settings and preschools as teachers and administrators, while those teachers in preschool centres previously without formal qualifications will be suitably qualified to teach,” he stressed.

He also praised KinderJoy for its generous offer of scholarships to students pursuing the DECE at WOU. He encouraged more preschools to send or support their teachers in their study of the programme at WOU.

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  • Wawasan Open University (WOU), established in September 2006, is a foremost private institution of higher learning which offers over 50 postgraduate and undergraduate programmes via part-time study. Since September 2013, WOU has expanded into full-time study and currently offers six full-time degree programmes.
                                                                                          
  • Tadika KinderJoy, established in 1996, is wholly-owned by KinderJoy Educare Services Sdn. Bhd. Its three centres are: Tadika KinderJoy (Main Campus) at Jalan Raja Permaisuri Bainun (formerly Jalan Kampar), Sri Joy and Tadika KinderJoy (Botani Branch) at Bandar Seri Botani.

WOU appoints two new Deputy Vice-Chancellors to spearhead its development

PENANG: Wawasan Open University (WOU) has appointed two new Deputy Vice- Chancellors effective 1 November 2017 to spearhead the University’s transformation in the development and delivery of its academic programmes and in the areas of research, industry and community collaboration.

They are Prof Zoraini Wati Abas who is to assume the position of Deputy Vice- Chancellor for Academic Programmes and Educational Technology, and Prof David Ngo Chek Ling as Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Research and Outreach.

In making the announcement, WOU Board of Governors Chairman, Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, said the appointments reflect the commitment and focus of the University to the transformation of WOU as a higher learning institution to meet the challenges of Industry 4.0 and technological disruption.

“We want to ensure our online and on-campus programmes, learning support, student services and other facilities are in sync with the new emerging technologies, producing graduates with the right attitude, skill sets and learning capabilities for the new economy,” he stated.

Prof Zoraini brings with her over 30 years of experience in the education industry. She had worked in the Faculty of Education, Universiti Malaya, for 10 years as a lecturer and an Associate Professor. She also served at the International Medical University (IMU) as the Director of the Centre for Medical Education and Media.

She moved on to Open University Malaysia (OUM), Kuala Lumpur, where she held various positions, including Professor of the Faculty of Education and Languages, Director of the Centre for Instructional Design and Technology, and Director of the Institute of Quality, Research and Innovation.  She later served as Acting Vice-Rector (Academic and Student Affairs) at Sampoerna University, Jakarta and is also an Associate Visiting Research Fellow at the National Higher Education Research Institute (IPPTN), Universiti Sains Malaysia.

She holds a Doctor of Education and a Master of Science in Education in Instructional Technology, and a BSc in Biological Sciences, all from Northern Illinois University, USA.

In 2014, Prof Zoraini was recognised as 2nd among 14 most influential Higher Educational Technology Leaders in Southeast Asia and received the Education Leadership Award from the World Corporate Universities Congress in Mumbai, India.

Prof Ngo has worked in both public and private universities over a 25-year period. He started out as a lecturer in the School of Computer Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, before moving on to the Multimedia University where he attained Associate Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Information Science and Technology.

He later became Professor and Deputy CEO (Academic Development, R&D and Institutional Collaboration) at the City University College of Science and Technology, where he helped in its upgrade from a college to a university college, before he took up the position of Dean and Professor at the Faculty of Computer Science and Information Technology, Universiti Malaya.

He then proceeded to Sunway University where he served as Professor and Founding Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Higher Degrees), being responsible for the establishment of the Graduate School and the Research and Innovation Office, and as Research Professor in the Office of the Vice-Chancellor.

He holds a PhD in Computer Science, and a Master of Arts and BAI (Hons) in Microelectronic and Electrical Engineering, from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. He has earned five patents and co-founded start-up businesses that have secured international markets.

WOU-Tan Chong Group agreement for skills upgrading

PENANG: Wawasan Open University (WOU) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Tan Chong Group (TCG) to formally welcome the Group into its corporate education partnership programme (CPP), in which the Group employees, family and student graduates/alumni will enjoy special rebates when they enrol in the University.

The CPP partnership offers substantial rebates on tuition fees to Tan Chong Group and its subsidiary companies, in an effort to enhance the skills of the workforce for improved job performance and higher employee retention. This is part of the University’s continuing efforts to offer industry-relevant programmes to build up the talent pool of the nation.

The MoU at the main campus today was signed by Prof. Dato’ Dr. Ho Sinn Chye, Vice Chancellor of WOU, and Dato’ Dr. Lim Weng Khuan, Director and Head of Tan Chong Education Services Sdn Bhd (TCEdu), a subsidiary company of Tan Chong Group. The witnesses were Dr. Andy Liew Teik Looi, Registrar of the University, and Ms. Irene Seow Ai Ling, Regional Head of Tan Chong Technical Institute (TCTEH), Penang.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Prof. Ho congratulated Tan Chong Group on its 60th anniversary this year and its cumulative production that surpassed 1 million Nissan vehicles in the country in February. “It testifies to the quality of the Group’s products and services, public confidence, trustworthiness, and good customer satisfaction, all of which we in WOU also give high priority to when dealing with the delivery of higher education to all segments of society.”

On the CPP partnership, he informed, “In addition to the tuition fee rebates of up to RM1,000 for new students in the first semester, all employees of Tan Chong Group and family members enrolling for part-time study will receive 10% off on fees for the subsequent 2nd to 10th semesters for undergraduate programmes, and for the subsequent 2nd to 4th semesters for postgraduate programmes, subject to a minimum enrolment of two courses per semester.” The student graduates/alumni of institutions under the Group will also be able to enjoy rebates of up to RM1,000 in their first semester when they enrol for undergraduate or postgraduate studies in WOU.

Prof. Ho remarked that the MoU also paves the way for WOU to work with Tan Chong Group to explore the development of customised education programmes for their employees, similar to what was offered to Perodua. He stressed that WOU is “ever prepared to develop HR capacity building programmes and shorter-term professional training courses with more private sector companies”.

According to Dato’ Dr. Lim Weng Khuan of Tan Chong Education, they will promote WOU programmes via internal communication channels such as the company’s intranet or staff portal, emails, staff bulletin and notice boards. Additionally, the University will be able to conduct programme previews or roadshows and send e-news to the Group employees and students. This education partnership serves to strengthen their efforts in human capital development for the Group, he added.

Among the attendees were WOU Sdn. Bhd. Chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap Leong Huat and senior management of WOU.

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  • Wawasan Open University (WOU), established in September 2006, is a foremost private institution of higher learning dedicated to adult learners who seek tertiary education for professional development and self enrichment. It offers over 50 postgraduate and undergraduate programmes via part-time study in disciplines like construction, manufacturing, management, banking & finance, accounting, electronics, and education. Since September 2013, WOU has expanded into full-time study and currently offers six full-time degree programmes.
     
  • Tan Chong Group (TCG) began as a distributor of Nissan vehicles in the late 1950s.  Today, the Group has grown to be a respectable conglomerate in Malaysia, with presence in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, involved in a myriad of business activities, from the assembly and sales and distribution of motor vehicles to provision of after-sales services, sales and marketing of spare parts, auto parts manufacturing, property holding, financial services, and other segments including education.
     
  • Tan Chong Education Services Sdn Bhd (TCEdu), a subsidiary of TCG, is a trusted knowledge transfer partner between academic and industry for the future talent growth within the Group and the external public. It comprises of its TVET school, Tan Chong Technical Institute (TCTECH) with 4 Centres in Penang, Petaling Jaya, Kota Bharu and Sandakan, and Tan Chong School of Management (TCSM). TCTECH provides automotive courses at Certificate and Diploma levels while TCSM provides leadership and management courses/programmes for employees of Tan Chong Group at all levels.

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 Contact:      Rasidah Mion
                     
Corporate Communications Manager, Wawasan Open University
                     
04 2180 229|  0193142003|  rasidahbm@wou.edu.my

Over 600 graduates at WOU's 7th convocation ceremony

  • Inaugural graduates from WOU's full-time programmes
  • Honorary Degree to be conferred on two distinguished women

PENANG: Wawasan Open University (WOU) will confer degrees, graduate diplomas and graduate certificates on 623 graduates at the seventh convocation ceremony to be held at the main campus from November 24th to 26th.

This includes the first-ever batch of 45 graduates from WOU’s full-time on-campus learning (OCL) Bachelor degree programmes in Management and Accounting. The University has expanded to offer full-time study to STPM school leavers and diploma holders since September 2013.

At the press conference today, Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye said that of the total graduates, 154 shall come from the open distance learning (ODL) postgraduate programmes and 424 from the ODL undergraduate programmes. Among them are the inaugural batches of 7 graduates from the degree programmes in English Studies, Multimedia Design, and Networks & Data Communication.

WOU will award the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Memorial Prize for best ODL graduate at the postgraduate level to Irene Cheng Chiew Ping from Seberang Jaya, Penang. She is graduating from the MBA in Manufacturing and Production Management (MBA-MPM) programme.

The recipient of the Chancellor’s Gold Medal for top ODL graduate from the undergraduate programmes is Kalaiyalagan Karuppiah of Puchong, Selangor. He shall be graduating with a Bachelor of Business (Hons) degree in Accounting.

The winner of the inaugural Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik Memorial Gold Prize for top OCL graduate is Shirley Leong Yan Yan, 23, from Ayer Itam, Penang, who shall receive her Bachelor of Business (Hons) in Management degree.

According to Prof Ho, “The University has so far produced 1,787 graduates since our first convocation in 2010. WOU is expected to add another 623 graduates at this year’s convocation ceremony to bring the total to almost 2,500 graduates.”

WOU will also be conferring on two distinguished and internationally well-known women this year the Honorary Doctor of Letters degree.  The recipients are Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood, founding and former president of MERCY Malaysia, and Prof Asha Kanwar, the current President and CEO of the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), an intergovernmental organisation of the Commonwealth of Nations which is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada.

In making the announcement, WOU Sdn Bhd Chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap stated that the conferment of Dr Jemilah is in recognition of her “highest level of professional achievement, personal contributions and leadership in relation to humanitarian goals and actions”.

“Her outstanding efforts and sustained advocacy for volunteerism in medical rescue work to help those in need and affected by crises, irrespective of ethnicity and across borders have indeed captured and inspired the lives of all Malaysians and many other people across the globe,” he added.

He said the conferment of Prof Kanwar is to recognise her exceptional leadership and lifelong contributions in the field of higher education in general and in open and distance learning in the international arena specifically.

“She has promoted the development of national policies for open and distance learning (ODL) and Open Educational Resources (OER), and contributed significantly to enhancing the role of ODL not just for education and lifelong learning but as a means for achieving global development goals,” Dato’ Seri Stephen remarked.

He continued, “Through her leadership in COL, she actively promotes the role of education in empowering individuals so that they can be responsible for their own well-being and for the development of their nations.”

WOU launches Chancellor's Lecture Series to promote open, healthy discussion

PENANG: Wawasan Open University (WOU) is launching the Chancellor’s Lecture Series with a presentation by leading economist/development expert Prof Jomo Kwame Sundaram, on Saturday 14 May 2016, at the University at 4.00 pm. This is the first of the series presented by the university’s Centre for Dialogue [C4D].  Prof Jomo will share his thoughts on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) and its implications for Malaysia and Malaysians titled ‘TPPA: Future or Fraud’.

Speaking at the Press conference today, Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye said that the lecture series will “bring intellectuals who are helping to shape the world to the doorsteps of WOU.  It will help the University engage with the local community, alumni and students to share knowledge, exchange views and opinions.”

He added, “It will draw on speakers across a range of disciplines and will examine key questions that affect our communities and the world at large. Universities are ideal platforms to actively engage the younger generation on issues affecting the country and their future.”

Prof Ho hoped that open debates on issues that are of key and strategic importance to all Malaysians will foster harmony, preserve peace and strengthen the economic growth of the country. 

Meanwhile Tan Sri Emeritus Prof Gajaraj Dhanarajan, Chairman of the Board of Advisors for C4D, said that the Centre operates under the umbrella of the Institute for Research and Innovation. The aim, he added, is to engage the public community “and through frank and civil dialogue, create awareness and better understanding of current issues that are of interest or concern to all citizens, especially those residing in Penang”.

He paid tribute to the late Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik for mooting the idea of C4D during his tenure as WOU Council Chairman. He highlighted Tun Lim’s vision for WOU, as a generator of knowledge, to initiate open, free dialogues that can provide feedback to leaders on how to address issues confronting the people.

“This aligns well with the stated mission of the C4D, which is, to generate dialogue on contemporary economic, development and socio-political issues that affect our society, and to share these thoughts and ideas with the public.

“The desired goal is to build a higher level of understanding between the Government and corporate, intellectual and academic opinion makers,” said Prof Dhanarajan.

493 graduates at WOU's 6th convocation ceremony

WOU to confer Honorary Degrees on two community leaders - Unveiling of Auditorium Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik

12 November 2015, PENANG:  Wawasan Open University (WOU) is set to roll out 493 graduates during the 6th convocation ceremony to be held at the main campus on November 28 and 29.

There will also be a symbolic unveiling of the plaque during the convocation to signify the renaming of Auditorium 1, at Level 5, Albukhary Building of the main campus to Auditorium Tun Dr Lim Keng Yaik, in memory and recognition of the immense contributions of the late Chancellor.

Tun Lim is regarded as the founder of WOU who had the vision of setting up a virtual open university and through sheer determination brought in key people and the funds to translate that vision into reality. He was a former President of Parti Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia and second Chancellor of WOU from May 2011 until his passing on 22 December 2012.

WOU Chancellor Tun Mohamed Dzaiddin Abdullah will preside over the first session and confer the Honorary Doctor of Letters degree on Dato’ Seri Dr T Devaraj in recognition of his contribution to the medical profession and to palliative care in the country, especially Penang.

The other Honorary Graduand is Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood, the Founder and former President of MERCY Malaysia, and currently Chief of the World Humanitarian Summit Secretariat based in the United Nations headquarters in New York. She will be conferred at a separate occasion in the near future due to her busy overseas engagement.

Tun Dzaiddin will also award the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Memorial Prize for best graduate at the postgraduate level to Chan Kar Weng from Kuala Lumpur. Chan pursued his Master of Education degree at WOU.

The recipient of the Chancellor’s Gold Medal for emerging as top graduate from the undergraduate programmes is David Chin Toh Ming from Miri, Sarawak, who will be graduating in Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Liberal Studies.

The 6th convocation ceremony will witness the graduation of a total 493 students; out of which 116 are from the postgraduate programmes and 377 from the undergraduate programmes. They come from WOU’s Regional Centres in Penang (209), Kuala Lumpur (121), Johor Bahru (84), Ipoh (47), Kuching (26) and Kota Bharu (6). 

The graduands range in age from 23 to 67 years. They hold occupations like teachers, lecturers, engineers, accountants, account managers, finance managers, site supervisors, technicians and clerks.

Seven undergraduate programmes will be producing their first batch of graduates. They are the Graduate Diploma in Sales & Services Management (GDSM) programme specially customised for employees of Perodua, and the six Bachelor’s degree programmes in the field of corporate administration, management with psychology, entrepreneurship & small business management, database management, software engineering and telecommunications.

The convocation will be held over five sessions and two days. WOU Pro-Chancellor and Wawasan Education Foundation (WEF) Chairman Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon will preside over the second session, while Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye will preside over the remaining sessions.

Amongst those attending the first session are the late Tun Lim’s son Datuk Lim Si Pin and mother Toh Puan Wong Yoon Chuan, WOU Sdn Bhd (WOUSB) Board of Directors Chairman Dato’ Seri Stephen Yeap, Members of WOU’s Board of Governors, the heads and representatives from institutions of higher learning, and senior management of the University.

WOU sets up Learning Centres in northern region

4 June 2015, PENANG: Wawasan Open University (WOU) has set up Learning Centres at Stradford International College (SIC), Prai and Institut Profesional (IP), Alor Setar to cater to students enrolling for part-time study in its upcoming July intake and beyond.The establishment of WOU’s Learning Centres at SIC and IP was formally sealed with the signing of two Memoranda of Agreements (MoAs) in a simple ceremony held at the WOU main campus today. Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye signed on behalf of WOU witnessed by Dr Andy Liew Teik Kooi, Director of Quality Assurance and External Relations.The Chief Executive Officer of SIC, Mr Kumar Ghosh Vasudevan, and the Education Director of IP, Ms Loh Shy Tyug, signed on behalf of their respective institutions.

“Wawasan Open University shares a common vision with Stradford International College and Institut Professional to address the increasing needs and demand of knowledge workers in various segments of our K-economy for tertiary qualifications to enhance their career prospects. We want to provide wider access to higher education and in the process build up the professional human resource capacity so as to increase the productivity of the workforce,” said Prof Ho.

“WOU is working towards setting up a few more Learning Centres across Malaysia through smart collaboration with like-minded institutions of higher learning. The Learning Centres will serve to extend our market presence as a trusted provider of affordable and quality higher education to more Malaysians,” he added. Prof Ho shared that WOU had recently signed MoAs with the Penang Skills Development Centre (PSDC) and the East-West International College (EWIC), Seremban to establish Learning Centres there.

“We have informed the Ministry of Education on the University’s plans to dot the map of Malaysia with WOU Learning Centres,” he clarified.He stated that the newly established Learning Centres will further assist the University in supporting its students in areas where WOU currently has no physical presence, such as mainland Penang, Alor Setar and Seremban. “It will be a win-win situation for everyone. With this, more students in these areas will be delighted knowing that they can now attend the monthly face-to-face tutorials at Learning Centres that are closer to them than before.”

Among the attendees at the signing ceremony were Chief Administrative Officer Yeong Sik Kheong, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic-ODL) Prof Madhulika Kaushik, and senior management staff of WOU.

WOU-PSDC collaboration to set up Learning Centre

19 May 2015, PENANG: Wawasan Open University (WOU) has entered into a smart partnership with the Penang Skills Development Centre (PSDC) in offering the Bachelor of Technology (Hons) in Mechatronics (BTME) programme for the July intake.The formal signing of the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) between both parties was held at the PSDC premises today. The signatories were Vice Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer of WOU, Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye, and Mr Muhamed Ali Hajah Mydin, the CEO of PSDC.The two witnesses for the signing were Associate Prof Dr Wendy Bong Chin Wei, Dean, School of Science & Technology (SST), WOU, and Ms Lim Wei Chen, Chief Operating Officer of PSDC.

“WOU holds PSDC in high regard as a reputable high quality skills training centre,” said Prof Ho during the ceremony.“Essentially this smart partnership is built on the long standing relationship between WOU and PSDC both of which share a common mission and commitment to enhance the knowledge and skills of our young workforce in the local industry in Penang. Through this MoA, students enrolling for the Bachelor of Technology (Hons) in Mechatronics (BTME) degree at WOU will have access to excellent laboratory facilities of PSDC,” he elaborated.“Arising from this strategic partnership is a new study pathway whereby PSDC’s own diploma graduates can now benefit from a seamless upgrade into the mechatronics degree programme of WOU. They will study at WOU, use the laboratory facilities of PSDC, and ultimately earn a WOU degree,” stated Prof Ho. “This Learning Centre at PSDC is one of several additional centres to be established this year. As per good practice, we have already informed the Ministry of Education about this move,” he added.

WOU is rolling out the BTME programme in Penang via the open distance learning mode in the July 2015 intake. This programme can be completed in five years through part-time study. Certificate or diploma holders, technicians, manufacturing specialists and technical staff with relevant working experience in mechanical and electronic related areas will benefit from the programme. Graduates of BTME can work in such fields as electronics, automation, design, development, and research.

Meanwhile Muhamed Ali, in his remarks, said that the programme will greatly benefit the PSDC students as well as the existing workforce in the mechanical and electronics industry.“We believe that through this programme, students will stand to gain the necessary knowledge on mechatronic engineering principles and practical skills that will empower them to design systematic solutions for mechatronic engineering problems,” he said.

Among the attendees at the signing ceremony were WOU’s Board of Governors Chairman Tan Sri Emeritus Prof Emeritus Gajaraj Dhanarajan, PSDC’s Dean of School of Engineering, Mr Tham Kok Kee, and senior management staff of WOU and PSDC.

WOU to offer entirely Online Courses under PACE

PENANG: In support of the government’s initiative, through the Ministry of Education, to implement Massive Open Online Courses in all public universities in Malaysia, Wawasan Open University (WOU) as a private not-for-private university has also started to offer MOOC courses.

WOU will roll out two entirely online courses from 9 February 2015 under the wings of its Centre for Professional Development and Continuing Education (PACE). “This is a new milestone in the development of WOU and supports the Education Ministry’s efforts to promote the use of MOOCs to expand formal and non-formal learning in the education sector,” said Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic-OCL) and Acting Director of PACE, Prof Mohandas Menon, following the internal launch of MOOCs at the main campus recently.

The titles of the two MOOCs from WOU are ‘Action Research Course’ and ‘Open Educational Resources (OER) in e-Learning’. The development of these two courses is funded separately by Commonwealth of Learning (COL) and COL’s regional agency, the Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia (CEMCA) respectively. Both courses will take three months for completion, commencing on February 9th and running until May.

“The launch of the two MOOCs reflects the serious intention of the university to provide short courses entirely online for the benefit of interested learners and professionals at large,” stated Prof Menon.

He remarked that it is an achievement for a relatively young open university like WOU to develop and offer MOOCs. “The university has developed a strong in-house technical capacity to provide fully digitised learning materials as well as quality learning support services. The learners of WOU-MOOCs will be supported by online interactive virtual discussion forums, online tutor facilitation, online assignment submission and assessment, through a specially created learning management platform, Wawasan4PACE.”

WOU has the expertise and capability to run the MOOCs as at least 20 academics have to date undergone training conducted by experts from COL and CEMCA in the area of online moderation and facilitation of the courses.

According to Prof Menon, the targeted learners for both the MOOCs offered by WOU are educators from the schools, teacher training institutions and universities in Malaysia and overseas. Those who formally register as students for either of the courses will be charged a fee which entitles them to receive online tutor support and upon full completion be issued a Certificate of Achievement from WOU.

Others who just choose to register and follow the courses on a self-learning mode, can access the materials and learner support on the Wawasan4PACE platform for free. They would then receive a Badge upon full completion.