Flexible further studies
WORKING adults are busy with their jobs and taking care of their families. Despite this, many still need to further their education for career progression.
With 33 learning centres throughout Malaysia, Open University Malaysia (OUM) has had more than 160,000 students since its inception, including around 8,000 international students in 11 countries.
“Most of our students are working adults. At OUM, students can study anytime, any way without forgoing their work commitment,” says Prof Loo Sin Chun, cluster chair of business and management courses at OUM.
“Our students come from many different backgrounds and with varying degrees of experience. This allows for diverse exchanges of ideas, views and opinions in classes.”
Students use myINSPIRE, an online learning platform that allows learners to interact with peers, tutors and facilitators. Students’ course materials academic records, financial statements and timetables are also hosted on the learning management system.
“Our strength lies in our unique blended learning approach,” says cluster chair for education and social sciences courses Prof Dr Widad Othman.
The approach comprises three complementary delivery modes – self-managed learning, face-to-face interactions and e-learning.
Furthermore, each OUM learning centre is equipped with computer laboratories, tutorial rooms and wireless Internet. Students can access OUM’s digital library with more than 100,000 e-books and an extensive collection of academic journals.
The university’s academic programmes are managed in three clusters – business and management, education and social sciences, and applied sciences.
Learning the ropes
OUM’s business and management cluster was established to develop potential entrepreneurs, managers and business leaders. The course structures allow working adults to organise their studying around their work schedule.
According to Prof Loo, in a globally competitive, fastchanging market, professionals in the business and management industry need to be flexible, innovative and responsive to succeed. Students need to use every opportunity to equip themselves for various challenges in the global economy.
As for education, Prof Widad Othman says, “There are several early childhood education and Islamic studies programmes that are popular among working adults, especially those in the preschool scene.”
Those who wish to pursue academic careers in education can opt for the Master of Education or Doctor of Education programmes.
The university offers applied sciences courses in the areas of technology, manufacturing, occupational health and safety, project management, facilities management, nursing science and information technology.
“Our graduates can improve their professional knowledge through problem-based learning, experimentation and exploration,” says Prof Dr Siti Hashim Ali, cluster chair for the cluster of applied sciences.
According to her, hands-on experience is crucial to receive professional recognition and certification.
The programmes are designed to enhance students’ capabilities in communication, analytical thinking and problem-solving.
“The courses also provide a supportive and enriching environment for all students and let them fulfil their potential while pursuing their careers,” she says.
The university has been providing learning opportunities to working adults since 2001.
Individuals with extensive work experience who want to further their studies but lack formal academic qualifications can enrol via the Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning scheme.
Prof Dr Siti Hashim Ali.
Prof Dr Widad Othman.
Prof Loo Sin Chun.