ARE YOU INTERESTED IN BROADENING YOUR KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS BASE BY OBTAINING A UNIVERSITY DIPLOMA, BUT LACK THE TIME OR PHYSICAL CIRCUMSTANCES TO SIT CLASSES? If so you should consider one of the many distance education options which have mushroomed in Malaysia in recent years, as technological development and the rollout of the Internet bring higher learning into potentially every village and house in the nation. Actually -- make that every village and house in the entire developing world, because Malaysia is positioning itself as a global power in the burgeoning field of virtual education. Malaysia is doing this out of necessity -- a virtual university is much cheaper to run and cheaper to enrol in, than the typical bricks and mortar university of the West.
Way back in 1996, Manon Anne Ress wrote for Government Technology: "As the youngest capital in Southeast Asia, KL ranks as one of the most economically successful, just after its neighbor, Singapore. Hills and streets have disappeared and are quickly replaced with new glass buildings..
"But an economic transformation needs technology and above all, well-educated citizens. The shortage of educated personnel was a major concern for the government and the rapidly growing Malaysian private sector. In March 1996, for example, 65,000 applications were distributed for only 15,000 university openings, causing near riots at some locations.
"And, while many Malaysians are educated overseas, it is at an enormous expense to the country. Now, however, the Malaysian government is seeking to build a new kind of university -- a university with no walls, but an open door to educational opportunity. Constructed around the latest information technology, it's to be a virtual school called the Universiti Tun Abdul Razak (UTAR). "
It is true that the Universiti Tun Abdul Razek (UTAR) is the oldest virtual university in Malaysia -- however, to my mind it seems that the Open University Malaysia (OUM) is the most popular at the moment. Open University Malaysia or OUM is the seventh Malaysian private university opened in Malaysia, and is owned somewhat paradoxically by a consortium of 11 Malaysian public universities. As most Malaysians will know, the main campus is located on Jalan Tun Ismail, in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. In addition to this, there are more than 53 learning centres throughout Malaysia (one of the latest being Kuala Lumpur Learning Centre at Wisma Angkasa Raya next to the majestic Petronas Twin Towers.) Nonetheless, this being a virtual university, it doesn't matter where this university is physically located, in a "bricks and mortar" sense. This university is everywhere, radiating from the circuits of your computer, promising educational betterment at the touch of a few keystrokes, or the movement of a mouse...
o p e n + e d u c a t i o n
"EDUCATION FOR ALL" IS THE MOTTO OF THE OPEN UNIVERSITY MALAYSIA (UNIVERSITI TERBUKA MALAYSIA), WHICH EVER SINCE ITS OPENING IN THE YEAR 2000 HAS ESTABLISHED 53 LEARNING CENTERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY. In other words the Open University Malaysia (OUM) is open to all, and is open all day long, even to those souls in the far-flung corners of the nation and the greater world. This is reflected in the worldly nature of its student base. Since its establishment in 2000, the number of learners enrolled at the university has grown from 400 to almost 40,000. Almost 90 per cent of the students are working adults, a majority of which are school teachers and military personnel. There is a large number of foreign students -- at last count OUM foreign students come from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bahrain, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Yemen.
At the present moment, the main Open University OUM campus is located at Jalan Tun Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. One of the most recent members of the OUM fold is the Kuala Lumpur Learning Centre at Wisma Angkasa Raya near the Petronas Twin Towers.
So, how do students learn online at the Open University Malaysia, if they are so far from a lecture hall or tutor hall? The answer to this question is: myLMS, OUM's home-grown Learning Management System (LMS). According to Wikipedia, myLMS is a comprehensive and flexible e-Learning software platform that delivers a course management system, customisable institution-wide portals, online communities, and an advanced architecture that allows for Web-based integration with multiple administrative systems.
MyLMS consists of a number of components variously called myCourse, myUniversity, myCommunity, and myMail. The myUniversity module, for example, boasts features such as user directory, task, student online progress, calendar, personal address book, and polls. (Remember, you have access to all this information, from the comfort of your own home.) myUniversity serves as the first point of contact between the university and the student. Here announcements are posted, university-wide polls are taken and personal calendars updated. As for the myCourse module, it includes features such as course summary, announcement, course content, support materials, references, staff info, coursemate, forum, chat, quiz, digital drop-box, etc. Their course content comes mostly in the form of PDF files.
The myProfile feature records information such as credit transfer, courses undertaken, performance (course results), and payments (invoice/financial status).
Dead-tree libraries might be great places to flirt, but the Open University Malaysia's virtual myLibrary is not bad either. myLibrary includes digital collections such as OPAC, e-Library, 24 x 7, Infotrac, Proquest, EBSCO, Emerald, Engineering Village, Springer, IOP, NSTP e-Media, ACM, ERIC, InfoSecurity, IT Knowledge, and Tailor & Francis. The digital library has access to more than 36,000 titles from e-books and 50,000 titles from e-journal databases. The available databases cover all courses offered by OUM. If you really enjoy the sensuality of reading a paper based book, more than 7,500 volumes of books can be found at the OUM's central library and various learning centres.
a c c r e d i t e d + p r o g r a m s
THE FOLLOWING OUM PROGRAMS HAVE BEEN FULLY ACCREDITED BY MALAYSIAN LAN AND JPA:
Diploma in Information Technology
Diploma in Management
Bachelor in Information Technology with Honours
Bachelor in Information Technology & Management with Honours
Bachelor in Management with Honours
Bachelor in Business Administration with Honours
Open University Malaysia faculties are:
Faculty of Business & Management
Faculty of Education, Arts & Social Sciences
Faculty of Engineering and Technical Studies
Faculty of Information Technology & Multimedia Communication
Faculty of Science
Centre for Graduate Studies
Institute of Professional Development
s t u d y + n u r s i n g
ADD TO THIS LIST NURSING, WHICH RECENTLY BECAME AVAILABLE AT OUM. According to an online report: "Open University of Malaysia (OUM) is now eyeing to produce more specialist nurses for Malaysia. OUM is now offering the Bachelor of Nursing Sciences (Honours) programme to meet the country's acute need for more specialist nurses. This two-year programme enables those with the Diploma In Nursing to pursue further studies in the health and medical fields.
"OUM university has held discussions with Health Ministry and Malaysian Nursing Board on its plan to offer this degree programme. The programme is offered to holders of a basic diploma in nursing who are registered with the national nursing board, OUM receives overwhelming response from all parties as the programme is unique based on its flexibility. The programme focuses on clinical expertise and direct involvement implemented via clinical training at participating hospitals.
"Health Ministry and several teaching hospitals offer clinical training for those taking the programme. The ministry has allowed OUM to use clinical facilities at 21 government hospitals nationwide. OUM has also received the nod from Universiti Malaya Medical Centre (UMMC) and Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (HUKM) for the same purpose.
S t a m f o r d + O n l i n e
OUM HAS SOME COMPETITION. Stamford Online practices an approach called blended learning, allowing students to complete coursework through electronic forums and video seminars as well as more traditional face-to-face tutorials. Courses available are Doctor of Business Administration, Executive Master of Business Administration, Bachelor of Business Management and Hospitality Management.
W a w a s a n + O p e n + U n i v e r s i t y
OUM HAS SOME COMPETITION. Wasawan Open University is Malaysia's first private, non-profit tertiary institution dedicated to working adults. It is also only the second Internet-driven open university in Malaysia. The Gerakan Education Foundation -- later renamed Wawasan Education Foundation (WEF) -- in August 2002 was established as a tax-exempt charitable foundation to promote lifelong education to the public. Eight experts in open and distance learning were commissioned to prepare a detailed proposal for the establishment of an Open and Virtual University of Malaysia (OVUM). The report was submitted to the foundation in 2003.
Wawasan Open University (WOU) opened its door on 22nd January 2007 with an initial offering of 11 undergraduate degree programmes under three faculties - the science and technology, business administration and foundation studies. Courses include degrees in information systems, computing science & artificial intelligence, business information systems, accounting and sales & marketing. The cost of an undergraduate programme is about RM16,000.
680 students had already enrolled with the university, which has four study centers located in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Ipoh and Johor Baru.
Wasawan Open University is now up and online and offers programmes in three Schools (Science and Technology, Business and Administration, and Foundation Studies.) Some of the courses covered are Bachelor of Technology in Electronic Commerce, Bachelor of Business in Logistics and Supply Chain Management, and Bachelor of Business in Sales and Marketing.
H a m d a n + B i n + M o h a m m e d + e + U n i v e r s i t y (dubai)
NOT REALLY MALAYSIAN NEWS, MORE GULF RELATED, BUT ANYWAY, I THOUGHT IT WAS WORTH A MENTION... Al Bawaba News reported on September 21 2010: "Hamdan bin Mohammed e-University (HBMeU) has announced that it has recently received a high-profile delegation from the Open University of China (OUC) at its headquarters in Dubai International Academic City. HBMeU has been establishing strategic ties with leading academic institutions around the world as part of efforts to facilitate the transfer and exchange of knowledge and information and to strengthen the university's reputation as a global leader in the field of e-Learning..."
C o u r s e + E r a
RECENT YEARS HAVE SEEN THE INTRODUCTION OF NEW SERVICES SUCH AS COURSERA, FUTURELEARN AND SO ON, ALLOWING STUDENTS TO OBTAIN CERTIFICATES FROM GLOBALLY PRESTIGIOUS INSTITUTIONS. Some of the partners of Coursera include Tomsk State University from Siberia, the University of Melbourne, Copenhagen Business School, Yonsei University, IBM, and so on.
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