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New Straits Times - - Excellence In Education -

TUDENTS and ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tions are fac­ing com­mon chal­lenges, in­clud­ing in­creased tu­ition fees, am­pli­fied ed­u­ca­tion ex­penses, bud­get cuts, limited study loans, scarce fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance and course short­ages.

Uni­razak Grad­u­ate School of Busi­ness dean As­sis­tant Pro­fes­sor Dr Jo­hari Mat said for th­ese rea­sons, the trends in the lo­cal and global market had in­di­cated that stu­dents were search­ing for al­ter­na­tives, such as on­line ed­u­ca­tion.

“This is par­tic­u­larly for the ‘mil­len­nial’ gen­er­a­tion who learn bet­ter with mo­bile learn­ing plat­forms.”

He said dis­tant learn­ing through on­line de­liv­ery was the next “in” thing in higher ed­u­ca­tion trends, as many Ivy League uni­ver­si­ties were also into of­fer­ing free on­line cour­ses to at­tract po­ten­tial stu­dents to their in­sti­tu­tions.

“Ac­cord­ing to the 2010 Sloan Sur­vey of In­ter­net Ed­u­ca­tion, 66 per cent of aca­demic lead­ers con­sider on­line ed­u­ca­tion as good as or bet­ter than tra­di­tional ed­u­ca­tion.”

Jo­hari said a re­cent re­port by Ox­ford Univer­sity on In­ter­na­tional Trends in Higher Ed­u­ca­tion 2015 said Mas­sive Open On­line Cour­ses (MOOCs) had be­come one of the most widely used on­line learn­ing plat­forms by uni­ver­si­ties in Malaysia and around the globe.

“Vir­tual and mo­bile learn­ing have re­vamped the way con­ven­tional teach­ing and learn­ing takes place.”

He said, for ex­am­ple, the face-to-face mode could be done through live stream­ing in real time, or asyn­chronously, where recorded tele­cast of the lec­tures could be watched at stu­dents’ con­ve­nience, to keep up with the class dis­cus­sion us­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion plat­form on the as­signed learn­ing page or via on­line.

The best place to ex­pe­ri­ence this is by en­rolling your­self in Master of Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion (MBA) On­line of­fered by the Grad­u­ate School of Busi­ness of Uni­razak.

“Our MBA On­line pro­gramme is de­signed to cater to the needs of this niche seg­ment of stu­dents,” he said.

There are many ben­e­fits of tak­ing up univer­sity cour­ses us­ing the In­ter­net as medium for learn­ing.

One of the many ben­e­fits, Jo­hari said, was that on­line pro­grammes were more af­ford­able.

“Stu­dents can learn with­out bur­den­ing them­selves with ex­tra ex­penses, such as trans­porta­tion costs. Some­times the re­quired course ma­te­ri­als, such as text­books, are not an is­sue as the com­pul­sory read­ing ma­te­ri­als are avail­able in e-print, which may be free or costs less than phys­i­cal text­books."

Course ma­te­ri­als, he said, were also ac­ces­si­ble on­line.

He said fur­ther­more, stu­dents could sub­ject them­selves to a more con­ducive and com­fort­able learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment any­time and any­where.

Be­sides that, the MBA On­line Pro­gramme is con­ve­nient and flex­i­ble. MBA On­line gives the stu­dents the op­por­tu­nity to man­age and sched­ule their own study time to fit their daily ac­tiv­i­ties.

Jo­hari said the pro­gramme en­ables ex­pe­ri­enced pro­fes­sion­als to con­tinue work­ing for their ca­reer while at­tain­ing their post­grad­u­ate qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

This aca­demic work will fill in any dis­con­ti­nu­ity or gaps in their re­sume as well.

He said with con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment, de­spite skep­ti­cism and crit­i­cism, on­line learn­ing had proven to be as ef­fec­tive as con­ven­tional, face-to-face ed­u­ca­tion.

On­line study of­fers shy or more ret­i­cent stu­dents the op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in class dis­cus­sions or chats with more ease than face-to-face class ses­sions.

Some stu­dents even re­ported that it was eas­ier to con­cen­trate dur­ing on­line cour­ses as there were fewer dis­trac­tions.

Most in­sti­tu­tions also of­fer a form of elec­tronic men­tor­ing, which makes it easy to com­mu­ni­cate with lec­tur­ers and ad­min­is­tra­tion staff.

Lastly, stu­dents who en­rol in the MBA On­line pro­gramme are able to im­prove their over­all tech­ni­cal skills.

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