OBJECTIVES: By the end of this unit, you should be able To:-
Explain the background and set-up of WOU.
Explain the objectives of setting up WOU.
Describe the characteristic of traditional learners.
Describe the characteristic of open distance learners.
Explain the benefits of ODL.
Make a comparison between distance and traditional learning.
Explain the mental attitudes which an ODL student should have.
Apply the various modes of learning for ODLers.
Most WOU students are working adults.
So equip yourself with the necessary skills to be successful in your studies.
In this section, we provide you with the background, set-up and organisational structure of WOU.
This is to familiarise you with the University.
2.1 Introduction to WOU
By the end of this section, you should be able to:
Describe the background and set-up of WOU
Explain the set-up of WOU.
Illustrate using a chart the organisation structure of WOU.
Introduction You will be introduced to the background and set-up of WOU. Pay attention to the academic services and support you get as a student at WOU.
The background and set-up of WOU
Proposal was first announced by YB Dato Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik- national president of PGRM in 1999.
An education foundation was formed in 2000 – WEF.
In 2002, WEF commissioned a group of ODL experts.
The 8 member expert group was headed by VC of WOU,
Dato’ Prof. Emeritus G. Dhanarajan.
5. In 2005, WEF was issued a letter of invitation by Ministry of Higher Education to establish an open U college. 6. Pioneer staff began operations in Menara BHL, Pg. 7. Gound breaking in Jan 2006 at Homestead,Pg. 8. WEF set up a Board of Directors, the authority-in-charge of charting the direction and monitoring the WOU, appointment of VC,chairman and members of the Council. 9. The board endorses the appointment of VC nominated by the Council.
The Council consists of :
Public sector: YB Dato Seri Dr. Lim Keng Yaik-MEWC,M’sia and President of PGRM.
Academic community: Dato’Prof. Emeritus Gajaraj Dhanarajan- VC,CEO(designate) of WEF, Former President and CEO of The Commonwealth of Learning and former CEO.
Dato’ Dr. Sharom Ahmat – CEO WEF, former Deputy VC of USM and Permanent Academic Advisor of University of Brunei Darulsalam.
3.1 Dato’ Prof. Emeritus Sham Sani – former VC of UKM.
4. Dr. Wong Poh Kam – Director of the Entrepreneurship Centre and Associate Prof. at the Business School of the NUS.
5. Civic and Community Organsations
Datuk Dr. M. Jegathesan Deputy President of the Olympic Council of Malaysia and Adjunct Prof. at UM and UPM.
6. Commercial and industrial sectors Dato’ Chet Singh- Director of IOI Industries Bhd and former GM of thePDC 7. Dato’ Dr. Freezailah bin Che Yom – former Ex. Director of the International Tropical Timber Organisation and Chairman of the MTCC. 8. Dato’ Dr. Tan Tat Wai- Group MD of Southern Steel BHD and VP of the Harvard Club of Malaysia. 9. Dr. R. Thillainathan – Ex. Director and CEO of ASLI
The other authorities in the U are the Senate, Management Board, Schools, Institutes and Academics.
The Senate is the academic body of the U-responsible for:-
WOU also has an International Advisory Board. Its founding members are:-
Prof. Dr. Abdul W. Khan – Asst. Director General of UNESCO
Ms. Shona Butterfield – Member of the Tertiary Education Commission of NZ.
Dr. Paul Cappon – President and CEO of the Canadian Council of learning
Prof. Brenda Gourley – VC of the Open U of UK
Dr. David Woodhouse – Ex. Director of the Australian Universities Quality Agency.
Mr. John Yip – former Director General of Education in Singapore
Activity 2.1 Now to check if you have understood what we have discussed so far, can you outline the role of WEF. _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ You have just read about the pioneering people involved in the WOU project. Amongst them is a Prof. Emeritus. What do you understand by the term Prof. Emeritus and what does the title confer upon the person ? ________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________
Draw a chart of the organisational structure of WOU. Your chart should include all the authorities that make up the U. To help you to start, the highest authority has been drawn for you. ________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________ Wawasan Education Foundation (Board of Directors Figure 2.1 WOU organisational structure Note: You do not have to memorise this chart.
The objective of setting up WOU
provides a second chance to pursue a post secondary and tertiary education qualification without leaving your job.
help you to succeed by being competitive in the job market.
become a productive member of the community
preparing you for lifelong learning.
providing at reasonable cost a tertiary education for working adults.
Printed Course Materials
Designed course materials for all units- 5 units and within each unit, several sections.
There are 2 types of course materials:-
Course materials are based on the syllabus approved by LAN (Lembaga Akreditasi Negara)
Academic services provided by WOU
a comprehensive package of learning support
the main source of info is still the printed material
b. Course Guide –
to assist students in understanding the textbook.
provides additional explanation,exercises and self-assessment questions
WOU course materials are quite informal in style, interactive and students are involved via exercises,questions and self tests.
Other form of course materials – tapes and videos
Activity 2.2 Do you still remember the learning materials that you used in school? How different are they from the materials in WOU ? _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________
Learner support services
learning resources at RO
face to face tutorials
telephone counselling services
a. Regional learning offices
4 ROs throughout Malaysia
located strategically in offices or buildings
provide administrative and academic support
get advice and guidance- choice of course
get info – financial assistance
collect face-to-face tutorial timetable
get reference materials-internet, printed/video/
may conduct tests, exams and online continuous
a good venue to organise discussions/get
together with course mates and also 1 st point
of contact with WOU.
b. Tutor support
tutor is main contact with WOU
tutor facilitate your learning process.
make learning process smoother and less lonely.
give you advice and guidance on study problems
help you build-up your study skills.
help you increase your self-confidence.
Eventually you become an efficient independent learner.
Academic structure of WOU
courses are credit based.
one credit = 40 hours ( studying, tutorial,TMAs and self-test)
WOU – 21-week semester (there are 2 semesters with a 5 wk break)
42 weeks of study (52 – 42 = 10 weeks free time)
can push you to work harder
a good motivation tool
is another learning occasion
provides feedback to both the student and the institution
used to determine the achievement of intended learning outcomes
serve as a quality assurance mechanism
Final grades = continuous assessment + final examination
Continuous Assessment = coursework = 3 TMAs( short tests, quizzes, projects, lab sessions or assignments)
Final exam = end of every semester
Activity 2.3 1. Take out your calendar and your Student Handbook. Mark on your calendar the first day of your first semester. Mark also the last day of this semester. Indicate when the mid semester break is. If you do not have the calendar for the following year, just mark for this year. You can continue marking when you get your calendar next year.
2. Refer to the Student Handbook. Mark all the dates for the tutorial sessions. Check to see if these dates clash with any of your important activities. All the tutorials will be held on weekends only. The tutorials should be given priority over other activities. This is because you only have a limited number of tutorials.
3. For each course that you are taking this semester, check the weightage or percentage contributed by the continuous assessment by the continuous assessment and the final examination to the overall grade. Is it the same for each course?
Summary Now, you should have a better understanding of WOU in relation to your role and responsibilities as a student here. Its background, objectives, as well as the academic organisation and structure were Explained in this section and we also looked at the support services that you will receive as a student here.
2.2 Traditional Learning and ODL
By the end of this section, you should be able to:
Describe the characteristics of traditional learning.
Explain the characteristics of open and distance learning.
Differentiate between traditional and distance learning.
Identify the attitudinal changes essential for successful distance learning.
Think : “How did you learn when you were a student in school?
go to school
cycled to school
walked to school
took a bus to school
a place where learning occurs.
has a physical presence
several buildings in a compound
studied in classroom that has tables, chairs and blackboard.
Characteristics of traditional learning
Teacher standing in front of class.
Teaches by talking and explaining.
Uses board to write.
Reads from the board or textbooks.
Instruct you to do exercises.
Sets the time.
Warns you to complete your work.
Gives you homework
Reprimands you and caution you not to make noise.
Tells you to pay attention.
Apart from teacher you meet your classmates – 5 hrs
200 days in a year.
Have plenty of time to do school work and homework
Meet your schoolmates to compare notes and discuss
You sometimes help your friends in school work.
Traditional learning is teacher centred.
Depend on teacher to instruct.
Teaching and learning process occurs in school.
We have to be physically present there.
Teaching and learning happens at the same time.
We learn as the teacher teaches in real time.
Weaknesses of the traditional learning system
expensive – building = brick and mortar system, students at school-double sessions
teacher oriented & teacher dependent
students not proactive – busy listening & taking notes
teacher sets the pace or learning – to complete syllabus
an elitist education system – favours better social economic families- poor children do not go to school & some schools faraway
schooling is designed only for children –start at age 7
The traditional learning system has a few weaknesses:
Expensive to build school
Fixed years of instruction
Elitist education system
For children only
Activity 2.4 In your opinion, do you think the traditional school system still discriminates against those from the lower social economic status ? Give reasons to support your view. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
What is Open distance learning?
Open = available to anyone irrespective of age, qualification,ethnic group.
2. Distance = you study away from academic institution.
3. Time = the teaching & learning activities are separated.
4. Teaching activites = preparation of course materials
5. Learning activities = studying the materials at home 7 completing assignments.
6. In both the geographical and spatial sense, ODL = ‘distanced’
Other institution offering OD education
The British Open University (England)
The University of South Africa (South Africa)
Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University (Thailand)
Athabasca University (Canada)
Indira Gandhi National Open University (India)
Open University Malaysia (Malaysia)
WHAT IS ODL?
the system of learning accessible to all
learning not necessarily in the presence of teacher
learning not necessarily take place at the same time as teaching.
WOU thru’ ODL provides an opportunity to all working and wish to further education.
approach to learning is flexible-how,when,where,when etc
the students are in command
human touch still maintained via F2F tutorial
2 main types of separation – spatial & time dimensions.
some use synchronous mode of instruction.
requires all students and instructors present simultaneously/together at the same time.
Via technology – classroom learning, internet chats, teleconferencing & web conferencing.
The interaction is done in “real time” & immediately
when working adults are not free at the same time
does not require simultaneous participation of students & instructors e.g. email
students do not meet at the same time.
students choose own time frame & interact with the learning
materials, other students & instructors on own schedules.
more flexible than synchronous instruction.
self-paced & self-managed learning.
allows multiple learning levels & schedules.
Other examples are email, listserves, audiocassette courses, videotaped courses, correspondence courses & WWW-based courses.
Characteristics of ODL
separation of teacher & learner – time, place or both
self-managed learning – independent
synchronous & asynchronous learning- T & L take place at the same time or different times.
unlimited access to course – 24/7/52
“ just in time” and on-demand learning- digital learning deliver knowledge when and where a student needs it
institutional accreditation- certified by some institution or agency
use of mixed –media courseware – print, radio, TV broadcasts, video and audio cassettes,computer-based learning and telecommunications.
two-way communication – allows
Activity 2.5 Based on what we have discussed so far, can you fill in the table below with at least 6 differnces between ODL and traditional students at a tertiary institution (e.g. a university). The first one has been done for you. Traditional Student ODL Student Attends lectures at the time set by the institution/lecture. Studies the course materials at a time of his/her choice.
Why are ODLing graduates in demand?
Responsible – studying thru’ ODL comes with great responsibility and employers recognise this
Possess multitasking skills- ODLers are full-time or part-time working adults who juggle job, coursework and family responsibilities
Motivated – ODLers = motivated self-starters and thrive on challenge
Forward thinkers – ODLers are innovative & creative.
Things expected of ODLer
Good time management
Tutor to guide and advise you.
Students learnt independently or work in a team.
Be more resourceful in finding solutions or initiate calls to tutor for help.
Become more selective and focused in learning to master new info.
Activity 2.6 The following is part of a speech of a speech by the Minister of Human Resources at a function organised by the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF). Several problems pertaining to graduates especially local graduates are highlighted in the speech. As an ODLer and an employee, what do you think your edge will be over the other local graduates? Write down your responses in the space provided. “ The private sector requirements on skills competency as highlighted earlier on is further supported by Bank Negara Malaysia survey on Employability of Graduates conducted in July 2002 which disclosed that a major problem is the mismatch of skills as most of the respondents considered that a significant proportions of graduates did not meet the skill needs of industries and the problem was more acute for local graduates. Thus, the private sector gave more preference to employ foreign graduates rather than local graduates. As Malaysia needs to enhance its competitiveness in globalised market, employees are required to acquire knowledge and skills needed for their present jobs and to develop different skills in order to multitasking duties. MEF proposed that the curriculum of courses taught by educational institutions either in private or public sector should prepare the local graduates to acquire knowledge and skills required by the private sector thus making them more employable.” _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________
Activity 2.7 Are you ready to become a distance learner? Two simple tests are provided here to judge your readiness to become a distance learner.
Below are statements that described some of the important characteristics of self-directed learners. Such learners have a certain degree of autonomy that predisposes them to be successful in a variety of learning contexts, including distance learning or distance education. DEARS is a non-scientific instrument that is intended to provide general guideline for those considering courses or even a degree via education means any form of instructional delivery that does not involve continuous teacher student interaction in a F2F classroom setting. By assessing yourself on the DEARS statements, you will get an idea of your predisposition and temperament for a successul distance education experience. Rate each statement according to the scale below. And please be as honest as possible!
- Very frequently
_______ 1. I take responsibilty for my own learning. ________2. I am regarded by my peers as a self-starter. ________3. I can stay on task without constant feedback about my performance. ________4. I am a person who is curious about many things. ________5. I often figure out novel ways to solve problems. ________6. I enjoy helping others who have learning needs. ________7. Once I have goals or a set of objectives, I can determine what I need to do to reach them. ________8. I recognise and know how to use feedback about progress on a learning task that I have undertaken. ________9. I am good at visualising how things would be when they are the way I want them to be. ________10. I am good at logistics. I can determine what is needed and devise a plan for getting it .
________11. I believe that knowledge is largely constructed by the learner, and that teachers are more facilitators of learning than dispensers of information. ________12. I understand how I learn best and often think of ways I can improve. ________13. I know what I believe but I am open to other opinions that may be contrary to my beliefs. ________14. I enjoy learning that is both interesting and challenging, and I am motivated in such situations to go beyond the minimum requirements. ________15. I am able to translate learning objectives that reflect my own personal style of learning. ________Total
Assessing the results: The total scores are explained below. The maximum score you can get is 75. Obviously, the higher the number, the higher your potential to benefit from your WOU experience. 55-57 You should have no difficulty with distance education courses. You have a pronounced sense of autonomy and self-direction. These are important qualities that will make it easier for you to cope with WOU courses. 45-54 You will probably do well in a distance education course. However, you need to remind yourself that you have to be focused and to stay on task. 30-34 Well, if your score falls within this range, studying through distance education will be a challenge. You are more inclined to the traditional learning environment. You will miss the classroom interaction context a great deal. However, you can still make it by being aware of the ODL system and quickly et yourself into this new mode of learning. 29 and below I hope your score does not fall within this range. Distance education is probably not a good idea for you! Don’t give up!! I would like encourage you to take the challenge and make sincere and real hard efforts to succeed.
SUMMARY In this section , you learnt about the characteristics of traditional and distance learning. By understanding the differences between traditional and distance learning, you will be more aware of the attitudinal and mental changes that you need make in order to become a successful open distance learner.
2.3 Modes of ODL
By the end of this section, you should be able to:
Understand constructivism and oDL.
Identify the four learning modes of ODL.
Apply the four learning modes in your studies.
You are an independent learner now.
WOU is a dedicated distance education institution.
WOU successfully design and implement ways to make
your learning easier and smoother.
You need to know about constructivist learning philosophy and how it relates to you as ODLer.
Constructivist philosophy is based on the concept of human beings being seekers and builders of knowledge.
ODL offers the widest chance to practise the ideas behind
Constructivism and ODLing
Constructivism-widely accepted learning philosophy in ODLing.
By reflecting on our experiences we build our own understanding of the
world we live in.
We generate our own “metaphors”, “rules” and “mental models”
Learning is thus making adjustments to our mental models to include all
these new “experiences”.
Learning is an active process which cannot be imposed on a person.
Learning is active mental work, not passive reception of teaching.
Use of technologies in ODL provide an ideal environment for infusing
the constructivism principles.
Use of computer mediated communication and computer-supported work,
offer the field of ODL alternative ways of learning.
Constructivism encourages active, collaborative, and responsible learners.
WOU LMS – WawasanLearn is an example of constructivists practices
The search engines like Google, Yahoo!, where you search and construct your
your own personal view about a concept or a specific topic of study.
It is a student-centred approach where students take charge of their learning
Teachers are knowledge experts.
Students are challenged to produce reality based products such as oral
presentations or projects papers.
Students have opportunity to discuss and question each other’s understanding
and explain their own perspectives.
It encourages collaboration between teachers and students where learning and
instruction are shared.
Activity 2.8 Constructivist checklist This checklist serves as a simple measure of some of the ways in which the constructivist characteristics are present in your assignments, projects, activities and ultimately in your learning environment. The observation should provide insights into the ways in which constructivist philosophy translate into practice in oDL settings. The checklist should only be applied to assignments, projects, activities which are presented to you online. It may not always be possible to observe all of the characteristics. Certain projects may emphasise fewer characteristics depending on the content and the group of students. So, do not worry if not all the characteristics are present in the assignments, projects, activities. Refer to page 31
Modes of ODL at WOU
There are 4 major modes:
Spending time reading course materials on your own.
Make decisions on when, what, how and where to study.
3. Wrong decision = problems and not accomplishing anything at the end of semester.
4. Course materials = print-based, video and audio materials,CD-ROM and streaming video systems.
5. Also other materials from RO or public library and WOU DL.
Look through all the course materials which you have received. Make a list of all of them. Write down briefly what each course material is about.
No. Title of Course Materials What is it about
2. Did you receive any other form of course materials other than the printed one? What are the non printed course materials you received? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
In ODL you study independently at own time and place.
The tutor is not a content provider.
Tutor has a facilitative role.
Tutors are the key interface between WOU and your
understanding of the course materials.
5. Tutor provides personal touch and academic support via tutorials, assignment marking and feedback, telephone tutoring and online support at LMS.
8. All students are encouraged to attend tutorials. 9. The tutorial sessions are for you to:- a. Interact with the tutor. b. Hand in your assignments. c. Sit for short tests or lab classes. d. Interact with other students of the course. 10. Participate actively in tutorial class. 11. Share your knowledge and understanding with others. 12. Major activities at tutorial = completion of TMAs.(3) 13. TMAs can be essay, short test, short project, research proposals or presentations. 14. TMA 1 is normally due on the 2 nd tutorial
15. Tutor will return TMA 1 on 3 rd tutorial with grade and comments. 16. Work of tutors:- i. facilitate your learning process ii. Highlight the most important points via explanation examples and personal experiences. iii. Provide alternative interpretations iv. Help solve individual problems. 17. In a nutshell tutors provide a personalised learning experience. 18. TMAs = effective personalised learning tools.
19. Via TMAs tutors can:- a. Comment on your understanding of the course content. b. Point out weaknesses, highlight areas or topics you should pay more attention or need further clarification. c. Refer you back to specific sections of the study units and/or make any further suggestions. Above is summary of the schedule for tutorials. Tutorials No. 1 2 3 4 5 Meeting by week number at the latest: 1st 5th 9th 13th 17 th Submission of student TMAs at the latest: TMA1 TMA2 TMA3 Return of marked TMAs by tutor TMA1 TMA2 TMA3
Activity 2.10 Refer to your Student Handbook. Write down all the dates for your tutorials sessions in the table below. Tutorial time table Note: Exact dates of tutorial may vary. Please check with ROs. No Tutorial Sessions schedule Dates 1. Tutorial 1 1 st Week 2. Tutorial 2 2 nd Week 3. Tutorial 3 3 rd Week 4. Tutorial 4 4 th Week 5. Tutorial 5 5 th Week
How to prepare for tutorials
Read thru’ the course materials provided.
Mark important points in materials.
Find out more about topics you are reading.
Make a note on those parts of the topic you do not
Write down questions you want to ask tutor.
Jot in notebook.
Take part in discussions
Clarify aspects you do not understand with
Ask tutor questions jotted down earlier.
Take note work you need to do.
Spend time looking thru’ your course materials after tutorials.
think broadly, integrate ideas and concepts, see connections between these.
Read further on area you do not understand.
Make notes on your course materials.
Try above suggestions for your coming tutorials.
Online learning One of the main sources of online learning at WOU = LMS
Learning management system (LMS)
complements and supports the students’ course materials
specially created to facilitate learning.
a web-based learning platform.
allows you to interact, communicate and learn from tutor and
Functions of LMS
A place where tutor can hold online discussion/conference with
a group of students on delayed time (asynchronous conference)
iii. A place where tutor and students discuss a topic in real time via
web-based chat and other forums (synchronous conferencing)
iv. 3 major tools provided:
a. Communicate and collaborate your learning.
b. Share resources and info
c. Access course materials and references
Tools in the LMS system
Communicate and collaborate your learning:
You do not:-
a. go to school
b. see you course mates
c. see tutor everyday
Who do you turn to when you have problems? LMS provides 3 channels to communicate with coursemates and tutors.
3 channels of communication
Electronic mails (email)
Very popular nowadays
Useful for communications and learning
Fast and convenience
Can exchange notes and reading materials
Big problem???? = VIRUS!!!!
Update anti-virus software
With WawasanLearn you are given a free email account
2 most common free web emails are – i. Hotmail ii. Yahoo mail
Check you email account regularly
3 channels of communication
b. Online discussions
LMS is an asynchronous type of delivery system
You do not need to be online at the same time as your friend or tutor.
Usually tutor give you a topic for discussion
Or you may post a question
May do it after work or before bed or lunch break
You should have acquired some knowledge of the LMS now.
How do you think it can help you with your learning?
Share info you find related to courses and you will be loaded with info.
sharing of info is an important aspect of learning.
This is so because you are busy.
It is easy to share via WawasanLearn
Common method = use email by LMS
If materials lengthy attach.
inform coursemates via online forums.
Form informal study groups
Take telephone nos. of those interested to form group.
Exchange telephone nos. and email
Many advantages ;- 1. motivate to study better
2. brainstorm new ideas or materials
3. emotional and academic support
4. share problems
5. discuss assignments or tutorial tasks
6. won’t be lonely
As an ODL student you need to change your modes of learning
4 modes of learning are:-
ii. F2F learning
iii. Online learning
iv. Group learning
3. Constructivist learning philosophy
SUMMARY OF UNIT 2
Unit 2 is very important
explains everything you need to know about WOU
background and organisational structure-academic structure
types of assessments
people who provide the necessary support
Difference between traditional and DL systems
Different modes of learning
Self-test 2.1 The open distance learning system is different from traditional learning. Describe the change in the learning modes you have to adopt as an open and distance learner. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
QUESTION 1 Open distance learning is a relatively new concept in Malaysia. However this education system is a gaining more popularity as its unique characteristics are appealing and suitable for many people. What are the distinct features of the ODL system? Discuss six (6) of these features to illustrate why more people are turning to the ODL system to pursue their education. (30 marks)
QUESTION 2 You have studied about the major modes of learning under the ODL system. Based on your experience as an open distance learner, choose one(1) mode of learning which you have found to be important. Provide five (5) reasons why this mode of learning is important and effective. Support your answer with personal and relevant examples. (40 marks)
QUESTION 3 One of your coursemates, Jeffri, thinks that assessments and examinations are a waste of time. However, you believe that examinations are essential especially in a formal education system. Justify your stand by explaining the importance of assessments to Jeffri. (30 marks)
BEST OF LUCK IN YOUR TMA 2 HAVE A PLEASANT WEEKEND TAKE CARE