Flexible Route to Masters

Adult learners are a different lot from school-leavers. They choose to study again so that they could net a promotion or make a career change. Some just want to try something new. But because they are usually already working full time, they require flexibility in their studies.

Mohd Ismail Sulaiman, 42, is one such adult learner. Already possessing a diploma in teaching and a bachelor’s degree in human resource development, he was eyeing a masters. “I wasn’t satisfied with the knowledge I already had. I wanted to continue studying for self-satisfaction, to quench my curiosity, and to challenge myself.”

As he is a busy working adult, he opted for Open University Malaysia (OUM), where he took up the Master of Islamic Studies. One day, he found out just how flexible the university was.

“I was driving to a work commitment but I also had to attend an online class. I joined through my phone. The class was for my coursemates and I to make our final presentations. When my turn came, I parked my car by the roadside and made my presentation, with the aid of some slides I had prepared earlier. Alhamdulillah, it was very well received by my lecturer and coursemates. I will never ever forget that experience.”

Originally, Ismail had enrolled in a public university for his master’s degree. But the campus was located far away from his home in Simpang Renggam in Kluang, Johor.  “I spent my first semester driving 70km each way for classes. It not only swallowed up a lot of time and money but also left me exhausted.”

Then, he chanced upon OUM’s learning centre in Simpang Renggam. “It was located just 6km away from my home. So, I found a similar programme at OUM and changed universities. No more driving long distance to attend classes. Instead, I studied online and went to the learning centre only if necessary.”

This suited him well as besides being a secondary school teacher, Ismail is also active in the religious lecture circuit. “I regularly give talks at mosques and suraus in Simpang Renggam. I’m a mutawwif as well, which means that I guide groups of pilgrims in performing the umrah.”

Studying at OUM was astonishingly easy and convenient for Ismail. He could attend classes online and discuss lessons in online forums with his tutors and coursemates. The university’s online learning management system allowed him to take charge of his studies and manage his progress. This arrangement is perfect for those who can’t afford to be tied down to a rigid class schedule.

“If I needed any info or help, I got it pronto from the friendly and helpful Learning Centre staff. OUM even has a phone app through which we could access vital information.”

Ismail looks forward to graduating soon, as he has already completed his studies. “In my opinion, OUM is at par with other well-known universities in terms of its classes, technology, and student portal. I had a great learning experience with no stress and acquired a lot of new knowledge.”

For information on OUM programmes, call the speed line at 03-7801 2000, e-mail enquiries@oum.edu.my or visit www.oum.edu.my.