Academic Assoc Prof Dr Nantha Kumar Subramaniam made OUM proud when his paper on the use of adaptive learning and artificial intelligence to transform learning won the Gold Medal for Best Practice Award at the 34th Annual Conference of the Asian Association of Open Universities.
The Conference was hosted virtually by Open University of Sri Lanka from 1 to 3 June 2021.
Dr Nantha’s research paper entitled, “Explorelets: Context-Aware Intelligent Adaptive Learning System for Online Learning” discussed his work in developing a coursework which he terms as “Explorelets” that helps learners improve their object-oriented programming skills.
“The Explorelets also provides learners with instant feedback to correct erroneous understanding of the lesson. They are useful as they create a dynamic learning path. For instructors, they are a good way to keep track of the learners’ progress,” explains Dr Nantha.
He says that adaptive learning stands out as one of the more promising e-learning trends that OUM is exploring as part of its continuous effort to enhance teaching and learning.
“I felt very happy as my work, which took almost two years, finally paid off. The award will reinforce OUM’s position as an undisputed leader in online learning, with innovation and creativity as the main pillars of the University’s academic culture. It is also a testament to OUM’s excellence in online teaching and learning,” he says.
Dr Nantha’s efforts have also been recognised by other organisations and academic circles. Another Explorelets-related project won him a special award under the Outstanding e-Learning Project/Product category at the 2021 International University Carnival on E-Learning, which was hosted online on 15 and 16 June by University Utara Malaysia, and co-organised by Majlis E-Pembelajaran IPTA Malaysia and Jabatan Pendidikan Tinggi.
In early April, he received a certificate of recognition from the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) as a shortlist in the SEAMEO Pre-Congress Lecture Series 2021 for his innovative teaching method using instructional videos.
In line with the theme of the lecture series, “Stories of Success – Transformation and Innovation in the Post Covid-19 Pandemic”, Dr Nantha’s instructional videos focused on adopting an active learning approach to boost learner engagement and interaction with the videos. For each instructional video, learners must complete a set of activities in each video segment, which are aligned to the learning outcomes of the programming course taught by Dr Nantha.
He adds, “From the survey that we did, we found that learners who took the course appreciated the active learning approach and managed to have a good understanding of the concepts covered. The instructional videos are relatively simple to develop and the approach can be easily replicated for any course.”
Dr Nantha began his career at OUM in February 2002. He has almost twenty years of experience as an academic, starting as a lecturer before becoming the Dean of the Faculty of Information Technology and Multimedia Communication. He has served in various capacities within the University, including as Learning Centre Director, Head of Group Information and Communication Technology Services (GICTS) and is currently the Head of the Centre for Learning Technology (CLT).
In his current position, Dr Nantha manages the development of various learning technologies to support online learning delivery at OUM. He also teaches several courses under the Faculty of Technology and Applied Sciences, and conducts training for academics.