Flex­i­ble fur­ther stud­ies

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Post Graduate - For more in­for­ma­tion, call 03-2773 2121/2002, e-mail en­quiries@oum.edu.my or visit www.oum.edu.my

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.

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