Enhancing Teaching and Learning: Development of a New e-Learning Model at Open University Malaysia
Open University Malaysia (OUM) which was established in 2000 was the first open and distance learning (ODL) university in Malaysia. It has the unique status of a private university yet indirectly owned by the government through it shareholders, the first eleven Malaysian public universities. Having been in operation for more than 9 years, OUM has cumulatively enrolled about 95,000 learners, and has produced over 26,000 graduates. The growth of OUM is quite phenomenal, as indicated by the increase, not just in terms of student numbers but also in the number of programmes and learning centers. Nationwide, it has made its presence felt through 61 learning centres that are located at all major towns and cities across the country. // At the international level, OUM has been working with various foreign partners offering both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Thus far, OUM has collaborated with institutions from Yemen, Bahrain, the Maldives, Sri Lanka and Ghana. To date, the total number of international learners has reached almost 2,000. // OUM, like any other universities, engages in a rapid process of change, particularly in areas that concern the quality of its graduates and their professional competencies. Quantity and quality are both important considerations as it seeks to continuously improve its services to its increasing number of learners. Learners have become increasingly diverse, bringing with them a variety of backgrounds and experiences. In its efforts to meet the challenges posed by this diversity, OUM has adopted a “flexible mode of delivery” through a “blended learning” approach. // The blended learning in OUM encompasses the face-to-face tutorials, online/e-learning learning and self-managed learning. The face-to-face tutorial allows learners to interact directly with their tutors in physical classrooms made available at the learning centres. The online/e-learning requires learners to learn through Internet, and it is supposed to augment the face-to-face interactions. Despite of the tremendous efforts directed at encouraging the use of e-learning, the usage, thus far is perhaps best described as not concerted, and its use rather superficial.
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