There is something about Sir Isaac Newton many people may not know: the man who introduced the world to gravity was working from home when he discovered calculus and the laws of motion. This was because in 1665, Cambridge University, where he worked, had to close following the bubonic plague outbreak.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has been an enormous challenge for organisations, employees, consumers, businesses and families, Newton proved there are silver linings even in such difficult situations. For higher education today, the silver lining is online learning.
Over the past few years, there has been a considerable shift in which the proportion of people opting for online education has grown significantly, proving that learners of different age groups and backgrounds have increased and have better experience with online learning nowadays.
While the current pandemic has forced many conventional institutions to consider technology-led solutions, Open University Malaysia (OUM) has been delivering quality programmes online since its establishment as Malaysia’s first open and distance learning institution almost 20 years ago.
We have placed OUM ahead of the education technology curve with our own learning management system called myINSPIRE. Through a comprehensive e-learning approach, learners can access learning materials such as e-modules and video lectures, resources from the digital library, quizzes and more via their computers, tablets and smartphones.
They can set their own pace so their personal responsibilities or work duties are not neglected. They can connect with lecturers and peers via online discussion forums, which are monitored by e-tutors and readily accessible round the clock for them to post questions and responses as well as share information.
OUM activated the fully online mode for all programmes on 27 March and final examinations for the January semester were also conducted online.
Learners in postgraduate programmes such as Master of Business Administration, Master of Management, Master of Human Resource Management, Doctor of Business Administration and PhD (Arts) can now submit their theses as soft-copies. This May, we will also introduce online viva voce sessions as well. This truly makes it possible for anyone, anywhere to learn with us.
Meanwhile, face-to-face interaction is currently suspended, but learners still get to interact virtually with their peers and tutors through video conferencing.
We see this global health crisis as an opportunity for more online programmes to take root in the near future. OUM is ready to take on the challenge as we introduced two fully online programmes last year. This March, we forged ahead with micro-credential courses, which allows anyone to try out a small portion of OUM courses for free through an online platform.
Hence, while you are at home, take the time to browse our website and learn about the 50 programmes currently on offer.
Famed American football coach George Allen was right when he said, “The future is now”. For us, now is the time to embrace online learning and make the most of our opportunities, even in these tough times.