Online Courses Offered By OUM Help Working Students
"We have to ensure the quality of the graduates; for that, we have measures like on that which improves the skills of OUM's tutors," OUM's Vice Chancellor, Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Anuwar Ali fotoBERNAMABy Sakini Mohd Said
KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- Years ago, people who already had jobs found it difficult to obtain further education to enhance their career prospects.
Then, working people who wanted to pursue university education had to be very committed as the course schedule was rather 'tight'.
The options they had at that time were either to attend part-time courses after their working hours or to resign from their respective jobs in order to be full-time students as the courses required them to attend lectures as well as tutorials.
At that time, part-time courses offered by universities were limited and most programmes were 'classroom-oriented'.
But that was before the information and communication technology (ICT) 'explosion' occurred over the past decade.
Hence, 'virtual' education erases the stumbling block that had previously affected all the working students who wished to pursue further education.
In order to pursue university education via 'e-Learning', all that the working students need are a computer and an Internet link.
These days, there are many higher learning institutions - both public and private universities/colleges - that offer online courses, not to mention the various programmes held by local and foreign universities.
But how do students of these virtual university courses discipline themselves?
Open University Malaysia (OUM), which is synonymous with virtual education, has the answer.
"We have to ensure the quality of the graduates; for that, we have measures like on that which improves the skills of OUM's tutors," OUM's Vice Chancellor, Professor Emeritus Tan Sri Anuwar Ali, told Bernama.
As the e-Learning concept is different from that of the conventional method, the university provides training for its tutors on the required technique of virtual education, he said.
Prof Anuwar added that as an open university created by a consortium of 11 public universities, the education at OUM is based on the ICT medium, apart from the use of printed modules and face-to-face interaction with tutors.
OUM, which took shape in the year 2000, utilises the experience of local public universities in its curriculum to produce graduates with quality.
To this date, 47,335 graduates have graduated from OUM, and the figure is expected to increase steadily with time.
OUM started with 753 students, and now, the university's student population is more than 100,000.
"However, the awareness in life-long learning is yet to reach the desired level among the society, unlike that in developed nations," said Prof Anuwar, who is also the President of OUM.
He added that the nation needs more than 1.4 million skilled workers by the year 2020, and OUM is taking aggressive steps to help the nation achieve this objective.
Towards this end, OUM has initiated measures to inculcate the awareness on the need of life-long learning among Malaysians.
This includes the creation of more OUM learning centres, in addition to those already in existence in several states such as Pulau Pinang and Selangor.
Among the new OUM centres is that at Jalan Langgar in Alor Star (Kedah), which is equipped with Wi-Fi, a computer laboratory, LCD projectors and other facilities.
Prof Anuwar said OUM plans to expand its academic programmes to cover students nationwide, including those in towns.