Open University Malaysia (OUM) launched its fully online programmes at a special event on 14 August.

The Master of Islamic Studies (MIST) and Master of Early Childhood Education (MECHE) are part of the University’s new “beyond blended” delivery method, which brings the present face-to-face delivery mode into an engaging online environment where learners can interact with facilitators and peers in real time.

Instead of the face-to-face tutorials in the blended mode, this innovative mode requires learners to attend live forums every semester, which are similar to webinars. Learners also gain access to the e-forum, which supports asynchronous interaction.

“Because all learning activities are conducted online, it is very convenient for learners in terms of time and money spent as they don’t have to commute or buy expensive textbooks. The lower cost translates into lower education expenditure and more savings,” says MECHE programme director, Dr Aliza Ali.

“Every semester, MECHE learners will attend 10 live forums or e-classrooms and 10 interactive activities plus one lesson activity based on a video provided,” adds Dr Aliza.

While online learners do not physically attend classes or lectures, they have everything they need to learn independently. These multimedia-rich resources include e-modules, video lectures, digital library resources and discussion forums. As they study, learners can test their knowledge through self-assessments.

Learners will be guided via lesson plans that will ensure coursework and assignments are submitted on time. Most importantly, this will ensure that by the time learners sit for their examinations, they have thoroughly engaged with the course content.

Pre-selected from a pool of academic and industry experts, the e-tutors assigned to learners will ensure they do not encounter drawbacks in their studies and guide learners into achieving the learning outcomes. Ultimately this will help learners to remain motivated and committed in their studies.

“The fully online approach offers customisable learning and e-learning options,” says MIST programme director, Dr Hamidah Mat. “Learners also have direct access to their tutors, which means they can discuss various topics and ask questions at any time.”

OUM’s e-learning platform, myINSPIRE, is instrumental as it provides round-the-clock access to resources and support services. The system is continuously enhanced to ensure a learner-friendly and content-rich learning environment. Through myINSPIRE, learners can be assured of a truly engaging learning experience that will allow them to study without compromising their professional or personal responsibilities.

“As a working adult and mother of three young children, this online mode is helping me achieve my dream of obtaining a master’s degree,” says Lee Chee Seen, one of the first learners enrolled in the fully online mode of MECHE. “I never thought online learning could be so easy and convenient. Everything from learning materials to video lectures and tutors can be reached just through the click of a mouse.”

The “beyond blended” method offers learners a chance to learn at their own pace while still receiving the necessary guidance. The method also provides enriched content that incorporates interactive discussions with peers and online facilitators, while activities and tasks are built around that content. Learners can also easily track their own progress through self-tests as everything they need is available on myINSPIRE.

MIST and MECHE programmes are now open for registration. Those who choose the online mode will be entitled to a 10% discount of the existing fees, meaning they will pay lower fees than those opting for the blended mode.

For more information on these and other programmes, call the speed line at +603-7801 2000, e-mail enquiries@oum.edu.my or visit www.oum.edu.my/oum.