Twenty-four staff of Wawasan Open University received their Certificate of Achievement for completing the in-house Open Distance Learning (ODL) Core Competency Training Programme.
The successful staff came from the Educational Technology & Publishing Unit (4) and the four Schools – School of Business and Administration (12), School of Science and Technology (6); and one each from the School of Foundation and Liberal Studies and School of Education, Languages and Communications.
WOU Vice Chancellor Prof Dato’ Dr Ho Sinn Chye presented the certificates during a simple ceremony at the main campus today. He said the training is an important component for developing good ODL course materials in the University. He also issued an open invitation for staff to approach the Human Resources Department if they want to undergo any training that will benefit them and WOU.
Meanwhile Assistant Vice Chancellor (Academic Support) Prof Mohandas Menon said the ODL certificate recipients represented two batches – those who had completed their training in 2011, and the remaining in 2012 and 2013.
Prof Menon mentioned that the training programme was initiated in 2011 and is conducted using the seven training modules developed by the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) – with a project work incorporated for the 2012-13 batches. The seven modules are: An Overview of ODL; Designing ODL Materials; ODL Instructional Design; Use and Integration of Media; Learner Support in ODL; ODL Tutoring; and Quality Assurance in ODL.
The in-house training was facilitated by internal and external experts. It included workshops conducted by Dr David Murphy, a veteran distance educator from Australia, and exchanges via Skype with Prof Jim Taylor from Australia, Prof Terry Anderson from Canada, Prof Martin Waller from the United Kingdom, Prof Santhosh Panda and Dr Sanjaya Mishra from India, and Prof Abtar Kaur from Malaysia. Among the internal experts from WOU were Tan Sri Emeritus Prof Gajaraj Dhanarajan, Prof Ho, Prof Menon, Prof Phalachandra Bhandigadi, Prof N V Narasimham, Dr Andy Liew and Grace Lau.
Prof Menon noted that in light of ODL advancements with new emerging concepts and technologies, “it was important for us to use this training in the basic concepts related to ODL, and adapt it to include the new innovations, and new systems and new technologies that were coming into the field.” For this purpose, WOU added the project component into the ODL training course for the second batch of participants.
He informed that WOU is currently repackaging the whole training programme to integrate new developments, especially the Open Educational Resources that the University plans to adopt. “We are at the moment finalising the curriculum framework to five modules and a project.”
The ODL Core Competency Training Programme of WOU comprises a prescribed set of seven modules involving about 76 training hours and a project of about 20 hours. This training is open to staff from the Schools and ETP.